Cross-National Appropriation of Work Systems

Cross-National Appropriation of Work Systems

Japanese Firms in the UK

Ayse Saka

The diffusion of work processes across countries through foreign direct investment and technological collaborations is an increasingly important practice in today’s global economy. Ayse Saka explores this process both by focusing on the role of actors in appropriating different ways of operating and by examining the effects of the institutional environment in the host country.

Introduction

Ayse Saka

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, international business, economics and finance, international economics

Extract

This book investigates the influence of national and local institutional variation on the internalization of work systems. It focuses on the degree to which strongly institutionalized organizational practices that are driven by people’s knowledge, ideas and suggestions can be diffused to a less densely institutionalized environment. The aim is to reflect the active process of internalizing that goes with implementing work systems, as well as to highlight the structural limits to accepting alternative work systems. 1. BACKGROUND There is a growing body of literature on work systems diffusion (for example Richter and Vettel, 1995; Mowery et al., 1996). Researchers have adopted a comparative research approach to work systems diffusion from a variety of angles such as the following: the labour process and lean production perspectives within the Japanization literature (for example Stewart, 1998; Womack et al., 1990 respectively), the user-oriented perspective in the innovation processes literature (for example Scarbrough et al., 1998) and the historical neo-institutional perspective within the neo-institutional literature (for example Whitley, 1999b). However, there are marked differences across these perspectives with regard to: (i) a processual or structural/technical focus; (ii) an intra-firm or inter-firm level of investigation; (iii) a reference to universal or embedded framework and (iv) the objective or contextdependent view of work systems diffusion. This book adopts the historical neo-institutional perspective to highlight the institutional limits to the diffusion of work systems across nations. Few attempts have been made to shed light upon the di...