Human Resource Management and Radical Innovation. A Fuzzy-Set QCA of US Multinationals in Germany, Switzerland, and the UK

University of Zurich, Institute of Business Administration, UZH Business Working Paper No. 361

26 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2016

See all articles by Uschi Backes-Gellner

Uschi Backes-Gellner

University of Zurich - Institute for Business Administration; Swiss Leading House

Marlies Kluike

University of Tübingen - School of Business and Economics

Kerstin Pull

University of Tuebingen - School of Business and Economics

Martin Schneider

University of Paderborn

Silvia Teuber

University of Zurich - Institute for Business Administration; Swiss Leading House "Economics of Education, Firm Behaviour and Training Policies"

Date Written: December 2015

Abstract

This paper explores, based on the varieties-of-capitalism approach, configurations of key human resource management practices that explain radical innovation in subsidiaries. A fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis is conducted with data for 69 subsidiaries of US-based MNEs in Germany, Switzerland, and the UK. Contrary to the implications of the varieties-of-capitalism literature, combining numerical flexibility and employing a high share of academics does not necessarily achieve radical innovation. Various paths to radical innovation exist, and most of them involve functional flexibility. Overall, the findings emphasize the strategic discretion MNEs have, and accentuate that functional flexibility is a key HR practice to achieve radical innovation across differing varieties of capitalism countries.

Keywords: functional flexibility, numerical flexibility, radical innovation, radical change, varieties of capitalism, qualitative comparative analysis

JEL Classification: M50, O32, M21

Suggested Citation

Backes-Gellner, Uschi and Kluike, Marlies and Pull, Kerstin and Schneider, Martin and Teuber, Silvia, Human Resource Management and Radical Innovation. A Fuzzy-Set QCA of US Multinationals in Germany, Switzerland, and the UK (December 2015). University of Zurich, Institute of Business Administration, UZH Business Working Paper No. 361. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2710718 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2710718

Uschi Backes-Gellner (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - Institute for Business Administration ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
8032 Zurich
Switzerland
+41 44 6344281 (Phone)
+41 44 6344370 (Fax)

Swiss Leading House ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
Zurich, 8032
Switzerland

Marlies Kluike

University of Tübingen - School of Business and Economics ( email )

Personal und Organisation
Nauklerstr. 47
Tübingen, 72074
Germany

Kerstin Pull

University of Tuebingen - School of Business and Economics ( email )

Nauklerstr. 47
Tuebingen, D-72074
Germany

Martin Schneider

University of Paderborn ( email )

Warburger Str. 100
Paderborn, D-33098
Germany

Silvia Teuber

University of Zurich - Institute for Business Administration ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland

Swiss Leading House "Economics of Education, Firm Behaviour and Training Policies" ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
Zurich, 8032
Switzerland

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