Contemporary Issues on Human Resources

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The writer aims to bring debates in the convergence and divergence in search of truths in the Human Resources Management (HRM). In pursuing the attempt to find convergence and divergence the writer will discuss pertinent areas of interest in the different notion of convergence using the US and European model, globalization and some clear divergences nuances and specific themes in the areas of divergent HRM practices in performance management and hiring practices.

In a considering the convergence and divergence in managing international human resource it is best to consider the range of policies and practices which have strategic significance for the organization (Brewster and Tyson, 1991) and which are typically used to facilitate integration, employee commitment, flexibility and the quality of work life as well as meeting broader business goals such as changing organizational values, structure, productivity and delivery mechanisms (Sparrow, 2004).

There are key research questions in the study of convergence and divergence in HR like: Will globalization lead to the universal adoption of HR best practices? And if so, what are the implications for firm performance and ways of managing HR? These questions are guide in our quest for deeper understanding of convergence and divergence studies especially relevant to Asian countries because of the increasing globalization of firms in this area which means they are now competing globally with firms all over the world.

Divergence, Convergence and Globalization

It is best of for us to understand divergence and convergence as it is the key for further discussion of this paper. (Kerr, 1983) has a notion of convergence being the “the tendency of societies to grow more alike, to develop similarities in structures, processes and performances” and divergence as “the existence of variety in these elements”. And more recently in the past two (2) decades it has often been subsumed under the term of globalization as the life line of convergence. Thus, the increasing connections and interactions between nation states and the freer and quicker interchanges brought about by the technological advancement in communication and movements of capital transcend national borders. An implication of globalization for management is that there are “universal truths” or convergence, including in managing HRM, that can be applied everywhere (Rowley and Bae, 2002). Such universalistic and convergent tendencies in management can also be interpreted in historical perspective. Moreover, (Kerr, 1983) states that economic system of whatever kind have to require a considerable degree, common tasks and objectives. These include maximizing of people’s welfare today and establishing optimum rates of future growth, which are more or less the same in any nation’s development.

Moreover, in the course of this paper research on the related literature there may be reasons other than globalization or industrial development that may explain convergence. For example, Mckinley et al. (1995) argue that HR practices are adopted not because of “effectiveness”, but the acceptance of other specific social constraining forces. These social forces, which stem from the needs of legitimacy, avoiding uncertainty and professionalization, drive firms to adopt institutional rules, which may then create pressures for convergence (Rowley and Bae, 2002). The globalization leads us to the discussion of the notion of convergence in relations to HRM.

HRM and Globalization

A principal theme in management research today is the debate around the tendency to convergence, as against continuing diversity, of organizational forms and practices in varying national settings. The globalization dynamics promoting convergence and divergence in organizations and managerial practices worldwide have attracted attention from a broad range of social sciences disciplines (Guillen, 2001). Two lines of the debate are currently...
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