HRM Best Practices and Transfers to the Asia-Pacific Region
Table 21.1 Selective Research on Best HRM Practices by Author
4 more images
Approaching the second decade of the 21st century provides a fresh opportunity to think about kinds of possible management. In this regard, the area of human resource management (HRM) has become even more important to business, policymaking, and nations, including in the economically dynamic Asia-Pacific region. Most of the Asian economies had rapid growth rates for the past two to three decades, although uneven from year to year, and were then hit by the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. Interestingly, now the very same HRM practices formerly seen as paragons (and taken as “best practices” by some), partly responsible for such success and emulated and exported around the world (e.g., via “Japanization”), have become seen by some as problematic. In such a milieu, some Asian companies began looking to other countries for exemplars of HRM to import. Such issues raise important questions: Are there any HRM best practices? Can they be transferred? The search for best practice in comparative management research relates to the debate on convergence toward common practices that apply to all countries versus continuing or even growing divergence practices.
Many Asian economies do share common features, for example, fast economic growth, social development, surge in foreign direct investment (FDI), multinational companies (MNCs), and so forth. These factors can provide a strong momentum to practice transference to Asia. Despite common features across the region, however, their specific institutional forms vary from one country to another (Hamilton, 1995) and act as serious constraints on transfer and, hence, convergence and promote continuing distinctiveness or even increasing divergence. Besides, since the transfer of practices occurs in a multifaceted context (between headquarters and overseas subsidiaries; Briscoe, 1995; Dowling, Schuler, & Welch, 1994) and at different stages (from preinstitutionalization to full implementation; Tolbert & Zucker 1996), the issue of transferability becomes more about “degree,” less about “all or nothing,” and more about “what” practices (Pudelko, 2005) and to what extent.
The aim of this chapter is to examine if there are best practices in HRM that can be transferable to Asia and whether this indicates convergence in HRM. Key HRM practices and policies of employment, rewards, and development will be used to examine these issues. The structure of the rest of the chapter follows. The next section introduces the theoretical debates associated with the possible reasons for transfer, what has been transferred, and how it has happened. The chapter then provides methods to examine the transfer issue and a basis for comparison across countries, along with some general applications and comparisons. Finally, the chapter draws together the propositions and outlines some possible future directions. THEORY
Classical management thought and more recent variants assume that a set of “best” management practices, as in HRM, can be valid in all circumstances and help organizations perform better and obtain sustainable competitive advantage (Becker & Gerhart, 1996; Huselid, 1995; Lado & Wilson, 1994). What Are “Best Practices”?
This idea can be traced back for some considerable time. For instance, Taylor’s (1911) earlier “scientific management” implied that there was “one best way” of managing. We can recall, as do Boxall and Purcell (2003), that studies of individual best practices within the major HR categories of selection, training, and appraisal have a very long tradition, such as when much effort was put into improving selection practices for officers and training for production workers during both World Wars. In the 1960s, best practice would have been taken as those associated with an American model (Kerr, Dunlop, Harbison, & Meyers, 1962) and in the 1980s, a...
References: Bae, J. and Rowley, C. The impact of globalization on HRM: The case of South Korea. Journal of World Business vol. 36 no. (4) (2001). pp. 402–428
Barney, J. Looking inside for competitive advantage. Academy of Management Executive vol. 9 no. (4) (1995). pp. 49–61
Benson, J. and Debroux, P. HRM in Japanese enterprises: Trends and challenges. Asia Pacific Business Review vol. 3 no. (4) (1997). pp. 62–81
Björkman, I. and Xiucheng, F. HRM and the performance of Western firms in China. International Journal of HRM vol. 13 no. (6) (2002). pp. 853–864
Briscoe, D. R. (1995). International HRM. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Caligiuri, P. M. and Stroh, L. K. Multinational corporation management strategies and international HR practices: Bring IHRM to the bottom line. International Journal of HRM vol. 6 no. (4) (1995). pp. 494–507
Cooke, F. L. Vocational and enterprise training in China: Policy, practice and prospect. Journal of the AP Economy vol. 10 no. (1) (2005). pp. 26–55
Dowling, P. J. Hot issues overseas. Personnel Administrator vol. 34 no. (1) (1989). pp. 66–72
Drost, E. A. , Frayne, A. , Lowe, B. , and Geringer, J. M. Benchmarking training and development practices: A multicountry comparative analysis. Human Resource Management vol. 41 no. (1) (2002). pp. 67–88
Edwards, T. and Ferner, A. The renewed “American challenge”: A review of employment practice in U.S. multinationals. Industrial Relations Journal vol. 33 no. (2) (2002). pp. 94–111
González, S. M. and Tacorate, D. V. A new approach to the best practices debate: Are best practices applied to all employees in the same way? International Journal of HRM vol. 15 no. (1) (2004). pp. 56–75
Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions and organizations around the globe. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Huselid, M. A. The impact of HRM practices on turnover, productivity, and corporate financial performance. Academy of Management Journal vol. 38 no. (3) (1995). pp. 635–670
International Monetary Fund
Jackson, S. E. , Schuler, R. S. , and Rivero, J. Organizational characteristics as predictors of personnel practices. Personnel Psychology vol. 42 no. (4) (1989). pp. 727–786
Japan Institute of Labor Policy and Training
Kerr, C. , Dunlop, J. T. , Harbison, F. H. , & Meyers, C. A. (1962). Industrialism and industrial man. London: Heinemann.
Kostova, T. Transnational transfer of strategic organizational practices: A contextual perspective. Academy of Management Review vol. 24 no. (2) (1999). pp. 403–428
Legge, K. (1989). HRM: A critical analysis. In J. Storey (Ed.), New perspectives on HRM. London: Routledge.
Marchington, M. , & Wilkinson, A. (2005). Human resource management at work. London: CIPD.
Martel, L. Finding and keeping high performers: Best practices from 25 best companies. Employment Relations Today vol. 30 no. (1) (2003). pp. 27–43
Michie, J. and Sheenhan, M. Business strategy, human resources, labour market flexibility and competitive advantage. International Journal of HRM vol. 16 no. (3) (2005). pp. 445–464
Pfeffer, J. (1994). Competitive advantage through people. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Pfeffer, J. (1998). The human equation: Building profits by putting people first. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Poon, H. F. and Rowley, C. Contemporary research on management and HR in China: A comparative content analysis of two leading journals. Asia Pacific Business Review vol. 13 no. (1) (2007). pp. 133–153
Rasiah, R. Exports and technological capabilities: A study of foreign and local firms in the electronic industry in Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. European Journal of Development Research vol. 16 no. (3) (2004). pp. 587–623
Rowley, C. (Ed.). (1998). HRM in the Asia Pacific region: Convergence questioned. London: Frank Cass.
Rowley, C. and Bae, J. HRM in South Korea after the Asian financial crisis. International Studies of Management & Organization vol. 34 no. (1) (2004). pp. 52–82
Rowley, C. , ed. , & Benson, J. (Eds.). (2004). The management of human resource in the Asia Pacific region: Convergence reconsidered. London: Frank Cass.
Rowley, C. , Benson, J. , and Warner, M. Towards an Asian model of HRM? A comparative analysis of China, Japan and South Korea. International Journal of HRM vol. 15 no. (4) (2004). pp. 917–933
Sinha, D. , & Kao, H. S. R. (1988). Introduction: Values-development congruence. In D. Sinha, ed. & H. S. R. Kao (Eds.), Social values and development: Asian perspectives (pp. 10–27). New Delhi: Sage.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document