Research Seminars

HRM in overseas subsidiaries: Findings from China and ideas for future research

Speaker: Ingmar Björkman
Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland

27 March 2009 - From 14:00 to 16:30

In my talk, I will present key findings from a study on HRM in European-owned subsidiaries in China. I will focus on two sub-projects written up in two recently published papers.
The first (Björkman et al., IBR, 2008), examines changes taking place in HRM practices found in European-owned units in China between 1996 and 2006 in conjunction with the transformation of the context in which they are operating. The research presents evidence for the convergence of HRM found in local Chinese firms with those of European MNC units in China. The results also point to a convergence within European MNCs since the HRM practices in units located in China have become significantly more similar to those of their parent companies.
The second (Sumelius et al., IJHRM, 2008) examines the influence of subsidiary HR involvement in internal and external social networks on the capabilities of the HR function. We distinguish between technical and strategic HRM capabilities. The results indicate that contact with other MNCs in China regarding HRM issues is positively associated with both technical and strategic HRM capabilities whereas contact with local Chinese companies does not have any significant influence on either strategic or technical HRM capabilities. Contact with MNC headquarters is positively associated with strategic HRM capabilities.
In the final part of my talk I will reflect on the state of the art of IHRM research and present ideas for future research.

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