Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Frank Horwitz and Pawan Budhwar
Chapter 3: Cross-cultural human resource issues in emerging markets
A cross-cultural management perspective draws our attention to the concept of human resource management being a cultural construct that has gained wide currency throughout the world yet remains rooted in its Western (mainly American) sociocultural origins. For example, in 1986 Laurent suggested that ‘human resource management practices are likely to be most sensitive to cultural diversity as they are designed by culture bearers in order to handle other culture bearers’ (Laurent, 1986: 91). In practice HRM has gone through a number of transformations and adaptations in various parts of the world, but its instrumental assumptions remain: that the value of people in organizations is as a ‘resource’, or an ‘asset’, or ‘human capital’. The dominance of Western management thought since the Second World War with the ascendancy of American economic, political and military power has been well documented by cross-cultural management scholars (Boyacigiller and Adler, 1991). Cross-cultural management, from its origins mainly with Hofstede’s (1980a) seminal work has largely addressed the issue of management knowledge transfer to other countries (Hofstede, 1980b). However, the world has moved on over the decades, and what were previously regarded as ‘developing’ countries have recently and rapidly gained ascendancy themselves, so much so that we can no longer assume a dominance of Western management concepts such as HRM.
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