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Book cover: Advances in International Management

Advances in International Management

ISSN: 1571-5027
Series editor(s): Timothy Devinney, Torben Pedersen and Laszlo Tihanyi

Subject Area: International Business

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Multinationals and national systems of employment relations: Innovators or adapters?

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Title:Multinationals and national systems of employment relations: Innovators or adapters?
Author(s):Tony Edwards, Miao Zhang
Volume:21 Editor(s): John J. Lawler, Greg Hundley ISBN: 978-0-7623-1401-0 eISBN: 978-1-84950-526-0
Citation:Tony Edwards, Miao Zhang (2008), Multinationals and national systems of employment relations: Innovators or adapters?, in John J. Lawler, Greg Hundley (ed.) The Global Diffusion of Human Resource Practices: Institutional and Cultural Limits (Advances in International Management, Volume 21), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.33-58
DOI:10.1016/S1571-5027(08)00002-8 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article type:Chapter Item
Abstract:Do multinational companies (MNCs) transfer employment practices across their operations in different countries? In other words, are they innovators in national systems of employment relations or do they adapt to them? This question lies at the heart of much research in the field of international HRM, yet the debate is characterized by two quite different approaches to this question – the “global – local” perspective and the “segmentation” thesis – that have not engaged satisfactorily with one another. Drawing on data from a case study of an American multinational in China, we argue that analysis must be sensitive to the sector-specific conditions that create variation between MNCs in this respect. Specifically, the way that multinationals build international processes of production and service provision is a crucial factor in shaping whether they look to transfer practices and, therefore, whether they are innovators or adapters.

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