IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Corporate values in local contexts: Work systems and workers' welfare in Western and Eastern Europe


  • Kahancová, Marta


Increased international competition poses challenges to companies' organizational practices, including human resource management. For multinational companies operating simultaneously in diverse local conditions this challenge implies a decision between either opting for universal best practices or adapting their employment strategy to differing local standards in host countries. What influences whether work practices are similar or differ when deployed in differing conditions? Why are some companies committed to their workers' welfare while others are not? This paper attempts to answer these questions by studying work practices, namely work systems and fringe benefits, in a Dutch multinational company (MNC) and its manufacturing subsidiaries in Western and Eastern Europe. Evidence suggests that the observed patterns are best explained by the interplay of three factors. Rational economic interest, company values, and local institutions yield subsidiary work practices that are embedded in, but not adapted to, local standards. The MNC's value system accounts for the fact that generous benefits are offered without a direct relation to the company's profit maximization and without external societal and institutional pressures to provide such benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • Kahancová, Marta, 2007. "Corporate values in local contexts: Work systems and workers' welfare in Western and Eastern Europe," MPIfG Working Paper 07/1, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgw:p0076

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Marsden, David, 1999. "A Theory of Employment Systems: Micro-Foundations of Societal Diversity," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198294221.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Editors : & David Marsden & Hugh Stephenson, 2001. "Labour Law and Social Insurance in the New Economy: A Debate on the Supiot Report," CEP Discussion Papers dp0500, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. Michael Storper & Lena Levinas & Alejandro Mercado-Celis, 2007. "Society, Community, and Development: A Tale of Two Regions," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/f0uohitsgqh, Sciences Po.
    3. David Marsden, 2004. "The ‘Network Economy’ and Models of the Employment Contract," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(4), pages 659-684, December.
    4. Marsden, David, 2004. "The 'network economy' and models of the employment contract: psychological, economic and legal," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4676, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Luc Behaghel & Julie Moschion, 2011. "Skilled labor supply, IT-based technical change and job instability," Working Papers halshs-00646595, HAL.
    6. Marsden, David & Cañibano, Almudena, 2009. "Participation in organisations: economic approaches," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25167, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Gatti, Donatella, 2000. "Competence, knowledge, and the labour market: the role of complementarities," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economic Change and Employment FS I 00-302, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    8. Wood, Geoffrey & Dibben, Pauline & Stride, Chris & Webster, Edward, 2011. "HRM in Mozambique: Homogenization, path dependence or segmented business system?," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 31-41, January.
    9. Jacques Bélanger, 2002. "From Human Capital to Organizational Learning," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 28(1), pages 143-148, March.
    10. van der Velden, Rolf & Bijlsma, Ineke, 2017. "Skill effort: A new theoretical perspective on the relation between skills, skill use, mismatches, and wages," ROA Research Memorandum 005, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    11. Streeck, Wolfgang, 2011. "Skills and politics. General and specific," MPIfG Discussion Paper 11/1, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    12. David Marsden, 2006. "Individual Employee Voice: Renegotiation and Performance Management in Public Services," CEP Discussion Papers dp0752, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    13. Mark Harcourt & Geoffrey Wood & Sondra Harcourt, 2004. "Do Unions Affect Employer Compliance with the Law? New Zealand Evidence for Age Discrimination," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(3), pages 527-541, September.
    14. Jill RUBERY & Damian GRIMSHAW, 2001. "ICTs and employment: The problem of job quality," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 140(2), pages 165-192, June.
    15. David Marsden, 2010. "The End of National Models in Employment Relations?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0998, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    16. Bruce E. Kaufman, 2014. "History of the British Industrial Relations Field Reconsidered: Getting from the Webbs to the New Employment Relations Paradigm," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 52(1), pages 1-31, March.
    17. Linda Clarke & Christine Wall, 2000. "Craft versus industry: the division of labour in European housing construction," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(6), pages 689-698, December.
    18. Rien Huiskamp & Frits Kluytmans, 2004. "Between Employment Relationships and Market Relationships: Dilemmas for HR Management," management revue - Socio-Economic Studies, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, vol. 15(3), pages 381-398.
    19. Smirnykh, Larisa, 2005. "Labor leasing: economic theory, EU and Russia experience," MPRA Paper 21568, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Stephan Kampelmann & François Rycx, 2011. "Does institutional diversity account for pay rules in Germany and Belgium?," Working Papers CEB 11-042, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgw:p0076. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.