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Personnel policies in the European firms: some evidence of the existing model(s) and the potential role of Corporate Universities

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  • Giulio Pedrini

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    (Department of Economics, University of Bologna; SDIC, School of Innovation Development and Change, Bologna)

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    Abstract

    This study deals with the attitude of European firms towards personnel policies analysed on a national basis. Provided the relevance of Human Resources (HR) practices in terms of the internal organisation of knowledge of the firm, we assess the main characteristic of personnel policies in 12 European countries both in terms of HR department position within the firm and in terms of human capital development practices. Not only is the issue significant in terms of Human Resource Management but also in terms of the debate on the role of the institutions in determining personnel policies, and notably in terms of the debate on the "varieties of capitalism”. For this purpose the paper develops a cluster analysis among 16 European countries showing the possible influence of institutional models on personnel policies. The same analysis is also developed for intertemporal comparative purposes. The second part of the paper analysis relates personnel policies to the phenomenon of Corporate Universities (CU), being they intended as a vehicle of firms’ capability to react to organisational and technological change. Within the complex relationship between firm’s organization and knowledge CU may in fact represent a consistent way to keep HR departments and firms’ strategies tightly connected, possibly assuming a systemic vision of the firm open to employees and in some cases to other stakeholders. The main features of European Corporate Universities will thus be acknowledged by looking at their main characteristics, with particular reference to their relation with HR departments and to the external factors that have contributed to their development. The paper uses theoretical tools provided by economic literature on training, human capital and knowledge management, combining them with a descriptive analysis of the empirical evidence coming from data on both Corporate Universities and firms’ personnel policy at European level. In particular data on firms’ personnel policy will come from the survey performed in 2005 by Cranet, the largest academic research network dedicated to a comparative analysis of developments in Human Resource Management in public and private organisations. Such data will be integrated by surveys on firms’ training practices at European level and by the (limited) empirical literature dealing with European Corporate Universities.

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    File URL: http://www2.almalaurea.it/universita/pubblicazioni/wp/pdf/wp22.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by AlmaLaurea Inter-University Consortium in its series Working Papers with number 22.

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    Length: 20
    Date of creation: Sep 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:laa:wpaper:22

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    Web page: http://www.almalaurea.it

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    References

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    1. Alan Barrett & Philip J. O'Connell, 2001. "Does training generally work? The returns to in-company training," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(3), pages 647-662, April.
    2. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Technology, Strategy, and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 511-28, June.
    3. Harry J. Holzer & Richard Block & Marcus Cheatham & Jack H. Knott, 1993. "Are training subsidies for firms effective? The Michigan experience," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(4), pages 625-636, July.
    4. Phillip M Rosenzweig & Nitin Nohria, 1994. "Influences on Human Resource Management Practices in Multinational Corporations," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 25(2), pages 229-251, June.
    5. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1995. "Complementarities and fit strategy, structure, and organizational change in manufacturing," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 179-208, April.
    6. Sandro Montresor, 2004. "Resources, capabilities, competences and the theory of the firm," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 31(5), pages 409-434, October.
    7. S Black & L Lynch, 1997. "Beyond the Incidence of Training," CEP Discussion Papers dp0362, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    8. Randall S. Schuler & Susan E. Jackson, 2005. "A Quarter-Century Review of Human Resource Management in the U.S.: The Growth in Importance of the International Perspective," management revue. Socio-economic Studies, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 16(1), pages 11-35.
    9. Keld Laursen & Nicolai J. Foss, 2003. "New human resource management practices, complementarities and the impact on innovation performance," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(2), pages 243-263, March.
    10. John Cantwell & John H Dunning & Sarianna M Lundan, 2010. "An evolutionary approach to understanding international business activity: The co-evolution of MNEs and the institutional environment," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 41(4), pages 567-586, May.
    11. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
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    Cited by:
    1. Antonelli, Gilberto & Cappiello, Giuseppe & Pedrini, Giulio, 2013. "The Corporate University in the European utility industries," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 33-41.

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