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Institutional theory and the cross-national transfer of employment policy: the case of ‘workforce diversity’ in US multinationals

Author

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  • Anthony Ferner

    (Department of Human Resource Management, Leicester Business School, De Montfort University, UK)

  • Phil Almond

    (Department of Human Resource Management, Leicester Business School, De Montfort University, UK)

  • Trevor Colling

    (Department of Human Resource Management, Leicester Business School, De Montfort University, UK)

Abstract

This paper uses a comparative institutionalist approach combined with a power/interests perspective to examine the processes whereby diversity policy is ‘internationalised’ by US multinational companies. It argues that the process of policy transfer to UK subsidiaries is complicated by incomplete and contested ‘institutionalisation’ of diversity within the US itself, and by differing conceptions of diversity between the US and the UK. The ability of actors within the UK subsidiaries to mobilise and deploy specific power resources allows them to resist the full implementation of corporate diversity policy, leading to a range of compromise accommodations. It is argued that the findings have more general implications for analysing the transfer of HR practices between national business systems. Journal of International Business Studies (2005) 36, 304–321. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8400134

Suggested Citation

  • Anthony Ferner & Phil Almond & Trevor Colling, 2005. "Institutional theory and the cross-national transfer of employment policy: the case of ‘workforce diversity’ in US multinationals," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 36(3), pages 304-321, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:36:y:2005:i:3:p:304-321
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Stavrou, Eleni & Spiliotis, Stelios & Charalambous, Chris, 2010. "Flexible working arrangements in context: An empirical investigation through self-organizing maps," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 202(3), pages 893-902, May.
    2. Hong, Jacky Fok Loi & Snell, Robin Stanley & Easterby-Smith, Mark, 2009. "Knowledge flow and boundary crossing at the periphery of a MNC," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 539-554, December.
    3. Giovanna Magnani & Antonella Zucchella & Dinorà Eliete Floriani, 2015. "Relativity and asymmetry in distance. The role of strategic distance in the internationalization decisions of Brazilian and Italian firms," DEM Working Papers Series 111, University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Management.
    4. repec:pal:jintbs:v:50:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1057_s41267-018-0201-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Lazarova, Mila & Peretz, Hilla & Fried, Yitzhak, 2017. "Locals know best? Subsidiary HR autonomy and subsidiary performance," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 83-96.
    6. Tsang, Eric W.K., 2013. "Case study methodology: causal explanation, contextualization, and theorizing," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 195-202.
    7. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:12:p:2336-:d:122936 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Kassinis, George I. & Stavrou, Eleni T., 2013. "Non-standard work arrangements and national context," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 464-477.
    9. Chul Chung & Masayuki Furusawa, 2015. "The HRM of Foreign MNCs Operating in Europe," John H Dunning Centre for International Business Discussion Papers jhd-dp2015-04, Henley Business School, Reading University.
    10. repec:pal:jintbs:v:49:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1057_s41267-017-0123-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:eee:accfor:v:37:y:2013:i:2:p:135-149 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Newenham-Kahindi, Aloysius, 2011. "Human resource strategies for managing back-office employees in subsidiary operations: The case of two investment multinational banks in Tanzania," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 13-21, January.
    13. Wang, Dan & Feng, Taiwen & Freeman, Susan & Fan, Di & Zhu, Cherrie Jiuhua, 2014. "Unpacking the “skill – cross-cultural competence” mechanisms: Empirical evidence from Chinese expatriate managers," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 530-541.
    14. repec:eee:iburev:v:27:y:2018:i:1:p:1-20 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Smale, Adam & Björkman, Ingmar & Sumelius, Jennie, 2013. "Examining the differential use of global integration mechanisms across HRM practices: Evidence from China," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 232-240.
    16. Thite, Mohan & Wilkinson, Adrian & Shah, Dhara, 2012. "Internationalization and HRM strategies across subsidiaries in multinational corporations from emerging economies—A conceptual framework," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 251-258.

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