Doctoral thesis

Transfer of Human Resource Management Practices within US Multinational Companies : a 3 country case study


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Thèse de doctorat: Université de Fribourg, 2016

English This thesis addresses the topic of influencing factors on the transfer of Human Resource Management (HRM) practices in Multinational Corporations (MNCs), a topic embedded in International Business (IB) and more precise in International Human Resource Management (IHRM). It builds on the debate of international dominance, transfer motives, and the different viewpoints on the triggers, impacts, and processes related to the topic. Recently the institutional analysis of transfer of management practices that seeks the impact in the institutional surrounding of the sending and receiving entities has been criticized of not taking into account the actors on the micro-level. In this sense the (regional) headquarter or subsidiary level or the actors at those levels and their active role in the transfer process of practices need to be paid higher attention to. Especially the detection of actors’ different sources of power needs to be moved to the limelight. The analyitical perspective adopted in this dissertation therefor is a combined approach of macro-level (institutional) and micro-level (actor-related) factors in order to fully catch and understand the transfer flow and outcome. Exploring on this the study is based on a comprehensively developed framework enfolding multiple tested and evidenced models to gain further insight into recently set-off debates. The present study demonstrates that the actor-related approach shall not be neglected as it plays the major part in the transfer process in an MNC context. The study shows that depending on the set-up and involved actors institutional effects can be leveraged or dominated by political action in the majority of all cases. Therefore institutional impacts as such tend to be overrated as stand-alone effects in an HRM transfer process in existing literature. Micro-level impacts are the main driver in a process that had been seen as mainly institutionally impacted. Even though home-country and host-country effects constitute the origin of some differences the main transfer impacts are actor-related. Local mind-sets, preferences and resistances can lead to adoption, hybridization or adaptation of country-of-origin practices as show the transfer outcomes even in less state-coordinated and thus institutionally impacted environments.
Faculté des sciences économiques et sociales et du management
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  • Ressource en ligne consultée le 20.12.2016
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