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.

Chapter 5: Conclusions, Implications and Limitation

Ayse Saka

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


s This concluding chapter presents a review of the key findings that are fed back to the central research question. In addition, the implications of research findings for theory development and practice are discussed. Attention is also paid to the limitations of this study. Lastly, an agenda for future research is presented and closing remarks are made. 1. THE CENTRAL ROLE OF APPROPRIATION IN DIFFUSION The degree of implementation and internalization of knowledge-driven work systems in three Japanese affiliate firms in the UK automotive manufacturing sector are described, analysed and compared (see Chapter Four). In this context, work systems are taken as continuous improvement activities that are driven by people’s tacit knowledge as well as the explicit structural and technological systems (see Chapter One). The diffusion of work systems is seen as incorporating people management (or management intervention) as well as the internalization of these work systems by users (see Chapter One). This process is examined in relation to, first, the institutional embeddedness of work systems at the national level and, second, the embeddedness of tacit aspects of work systems at the firm level. The macrolevel embeddedness is understood as the shaping of work systems by structural and cultural understandings of a country, which constitute distinct business systems. Japanese and UK business systems represent ‘highly coordinated’ and ‘compartmentalized’ business environments respectively (see Chapter Two). The highly coordinated business systems and paternalist cultural legacies of firms tend to limit the diffusability of work systems. In other words, the...

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