Negotiating, accepting and resisting HRM: a Chinese case study
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There is considerable scholarly and practitioner debate about the extent to which North American-styled human resource management (HRM) practices are transferable across international boundaries. The current trend is for scholars to use largely managerialist theoretical frameworks to explain the transference of putative ‘best practices’ from one context to another, or use culturalist/institutionalist explanations as to why practices cannot be transferred. While useful, these explanations are largely apolitical and uncritical, ignoring the theoretical and conceptual assumptions and origins of the respective practices. Drawing on a case-study approach to examine the adoption of and resistance towards North American HRM practices in a Chinese computer manufacturing firm, this paper suggests that whereas some HRM practices were accepted, others were resisted, largely because of their impact on end-users’ working lives. The paper investigates the case through the lenses of the system, society and dominance effects framework and shows the continuing relevance of the concept of control in interpreting how ideas about HRM are negotiated into practice, rather simply transferred or rejected.
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