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Journal cover: International Journal of Manpower

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Online from: 1980

Subject Area: Economics

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Work orientation as an element of national culture and its impact on HRM policy-practice design choices: Lessons from Sri Lanka


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Title:Work orientation as an element of national culture and its impact on HRM policy-practice design choices: Lessons from Sri Lanka
Author(s):Anil Chandrakumara, (Business Administration Department, Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Colombo, Sri Lanka), Paul Sparrow, (Professor of International HRM, Manchester Business School, Manchester, UK)
Citation:Anil Chandrakumara, Paul Sparrow, (2004) "Work orientation as an element of national culture and its impact on HRM policy-practice design choices: Lessons from Sri Lanka", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 25 Iss: 6, pp.564 - 589
Keywords:Developing countries, Human resource management, National cultures, Sri Lanka
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/01437720410560451 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract:This study extends the contention that national culture affects human resource management (HRM) policies and practices and explores meaning and values of work orientation (MVWO) as an element of national culture in predicting HRM policy-practice design choices. The data were obtained in a sample of 487 employees in domestic and foreign-invested firms (FIF) in Sri Lanka. Eight distinct MVWO patterns emerged from the sample. Twenty-six HRM design choices were clustered into four components: planned and open career and empowering system, qualifications and performance based reward system, generic functional perspective of job-person fit, and job-related competence and rewards. All the four HRM preference practices are influenced by MVWO. The evidence suggests MVWO relativity of HRM design choices in Sri Lankan context. The question of transferability of empowering and performance management to developing countries becomes evident. Moreover, MVWO relativity of HRM design choices is relatively high in FIF, reflecting that the “type of ownership” can have an impact not only on actual HRM practices but also on preferred HRM practices in FIF. The existence of business in the long-run and host government expectations also seem to be important factors in understanding HRM preferences in FIF. Theoretical and practical implications for international HR managers are discussed.



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