Similarity, isomorphism or duality? Recent survey evidence on the human resource management policies of multinational corporations

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Brewster, Chris ; Brookes, Michael ; Wood, Geoffrey (2008)

There is considerable debate as to the determinants of the human resource policies of human resource management: do they reflect national institutional or cultural realities, emerging common global practices, parent country effects or the dual effects of transnational and national realities? We use an extensive international database to explore these differences, assessing variations in a range of human resource practices. We find new evidence of national differences in the manner in which indigenous firms manage their people, but also evidence of a similarity in practice amongst multinational corporations. In other words, multinational corporations tend to manage their human resources in ways that are distinct from those of their host country; at the same time, country of origin effects seem relatively weak. Whilst there is some evidence of common global practices, sufficient diversity in practice persists to suggest that duality theories may provide the most appropriate explanation.
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