Contrasting Hr Approaches of Uk & Usa

Topics: Management, Culture, Europe Pages: 8 (2274 words) Published: November 9, 2008
Compare and contrast approaches to HRM within two diverse country contexts


Structures and peoples expectation differ a great deal from one country to another. (Harzing 2004). Managing people as the term implies is not an easy task. There are a number of problems that arises with regard to it. Each individual is different from the other in terms of conception of things and ways of doing the task allotted to him. Thus we can say that managing people in the same way in all the countries of the world is not possible. All the countries have different cultures, values, traditions, economic and political conditions and the management practices that are used in regard to managing people cannot be same. For example the policies formulated regarding economic, social, political conditions of country A cannot be the same for the country B or in fact it will not work out or be effective for country B because of the diverse population and the labour market. This essay will try to highlight HRM issues by considering two different countries: USA & The UK .

HRM in USA and UK/ European perspective:

Structures and peoples expectation differ a great deal from one country to another. (Harzing, 2004). HRM as a concept was first popularised in U.S. The U.S. culture is considered to be more individualistic and more achievement-oriented than most other culture.

Americans have the notion that theirs is a land of opportunity where any individual through their hard work and self-improvement can achieve success. These ideals of freedom and autonomy are reflected in private enterprises operating within the country. Many authors have recognised that US views of HRM may be culture bound particularly on the emphasis on organisational autonomy. There is organisational and managerial freedom and autonomy. In the European tradition private enterprise are more constrained not just by national cultures but also by legislation. Guest (1990) argued that view of freedom and autonomy in HRM is peculiar to the USA and epitomises the ‘private enterprise’ culture. These factors are uncharacteristic of most European countries with the exception of U.K.

Level of state involvement

In Europe the autonomy of the organisations to manage their affairs is constrained by legislation and state affairs. This may be in the area of education, life-long learning and tax incentives for organisations. There is also a high involvement in social security provision, provision of more personnel and industrial relation services and a more directly interventionist role. Pieper (1990) pointed out that the major difference between HRM in the US and in Western Europe is the degree to which HRM is influenced and determined by state regulation. There is greater regulation of recruitment and dismissal, formalisation of education certificates, quasi-legal characteristics of industrial relations framework. An example can be taken dealing with issues related to contracts. D’lribarne (1989) pointed out that US managers are free to reward or fire employees within the boundaries of a ‘fair contract’. Where as HR specialists in Europe have to deal with a much wider range of legislative requirement than their US counterparts. However there are arguments which suggest that this legal framework is seen not as a constraint but as a comparative advantage (Hall and Soskice ,2001).

Antagonism of US management to trade unionism:

Simmon (2006) stated that trade unions have a high social legitimacy in Europe compared to the USA. Nevertheless, due to different cultural and institutional perspectives of the individual European countries it is difficult to define a common HRM model within Europe. Europe is a land of diverse cultures, language, cuisine, and people. Nowhere else in the world have so many distinct and well-established cultures existed so closely together over such a long period of time. (Harzing, 2004). “U.K is pictured as closer to the American...
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