Handbook of Human Resource Management in Emerging Markets
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Handbook of Human Resource Management in Emerging Markets

Edited by Frank Horwitz and Pawan Budhwar

Bringing together a diverse set of key HRM themes such as talent management, global careers and employee engagement, this remarkably wide ranging work on managing human resources in more than 20 emerging markets is written by world-leading experts in HRM in emerging markets and based on leading-edge research and practice.
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Chapter 20: Convergence, divergence and diffusion of HRM in emerging markets

Chris Brewster, Wolfgang Mayrhofer and Fang Lee Cooke


Is human resource management (HRM) in the emerging economies becoming more like that in the developed countries? Or do they continue to lag behind? Or might it be that they are not behind but simply different? Are they converging towards more ‘modern’ HRM practices or not? This chapter considers this key issue in HRM: the notion of convergence. It is widely accepted, indeed the title of this book assumes, that human resource management is conducted differently in different countries. If, however, that is simply because some of these countries are in some way ‘backward’ and, as they develop, they will become more like the developed countries, then those differences become much less important in our analyses. We can focus on determining the best practices in the developed countries and then see how well the emerging economies are doing in reaching those targets. Indeed, much extant research on the emerging economies applies ‘Western’ models and looks for evidence of these systems. However, if even the developed countries are maintaining differences between themselves and offering alternative models of HRM, or even ‘good’ HRM (Brewster and Mayrhofer, 2012), then it becomes crucial to our analyses of human resource management that due prominence is given to the context of HRM. In other words, simplistic notions of universalism (Brewster, 1999) and ‘best practice’ will have to be put aside in favour of context and ‘best fit’.

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