French multinationals and human resource management in Jordan

Baddar Al-Husan, Faten (2004) French multinationals and human resource management in Jordan. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

This study set out to contribute to the literature on international human resource management (IHRM) strategies of multinational corporations (MNCs) and the factors that influence them. In doing so it sought to address a number of weaknesses in the existing literature, notably a marked lack of research into the strategies adopted by MNCs in developing economies, particularly when they become involved under the auspices of privatisation programmes. More specifically, the study sought to investigate the human resource management (HRM) reforms introduced by three French MNCs in privatised Jordanian companies and the factors that influenced them. The research utilised a longitudinal multiple-case design to achieve the study's aim and objectives, and was conducted in three phases over three years. More specifically, the study was based upon a sample of three case studies of privatised Jordanian companies that had recently come under the control of French MNCs operating in different sectors. Primary data was gathered through 67 in-depth semi-structured interviews with company directors, senior line and finance managers, and HR staff, including senior personnel based at headquarters in France. In addition, 14 interviews were conducted with government officials in Jordan and a range of supplementary documentary evidence was examined. In general, the findings from the case study companies revealed that in each of the Jordanian subsidiaries a wide range of changes had been made to the previously existing HRM policies. These encompassed the making of reforms in each of the specific areas of HR activity investigated: the people management responsibilities of line managers; staffing, recruitment and selection; training and development; performance appraisal; rewards; and communication and consultation. Taken together, the case studies highlighted similarities in terms of the objectives and broad thrust of the structural, policy and cultural reforms that were introduced. However, they also showed the companies to differ in terms of the way in which the reforms were centrally authored, the extent to which they were implemented in a participative way, the types of control mechanisms that were used to support the reform process, and the pace with which the reforms were introduced. The above similarities and differences appeared to nave been influenced by a number of interrelated factors. Most important was the beliefs that senior management held of what constituted 'good and appropriate' human resource practice. Others related to the characteristics of the industries in which the MNCs operated and the implications these had for company business strategies and structures; the parent company's country of origin and experience in managing international operations; the strategic role of the subsidiaries and their mode of establishment; and a number of host country effects. Overall, it is argued, that the study's findings contribute to existing knowledge in a number of ways. First, the findings lend some further support to the validity of Perlmutter's typology of the IHRM strategies that are adopted by MNCs, while also raising doubts about its future usefulness. They also add weight to the view that a process of convergence is occurring in respect of the HRM policies utilised by MNCs, and that this convergence is centred around an Anglo-Saxon conceptualisation of HRM best practice. At the same time, they also lend weight to the argument that this process of Anglo-Saxonisation is occurring in the context of national specific frameworks. As a result, the study suggests that there remains some country of origin influence over the way MNCs mange their human resources. More generally, the study's findings tend to suggest, contrary to some arguments in the literature, that MNCs do not apply different IHRM strategies and practices to their subsidiaries in developing economies. They also suggest that more attention needs to be paid to the way in which government policies and wider political pressures, surrounding the privatisation programmes of such countries act to influence the way in which MNCs approach the process of reform in subsidiaries acquired as a result of privatisation. More generally, the study's findings tend to suggest, contrary to some arguments in the literature, that MNCs do not apply different IHRM strategies and practices to their subsidiaries in developing economies. They also suggest that more attention needs to be paid to the way in which government policies and wider political pressures, surrounding the privatisation programmes of such countries act to influence the way in which MNCs approach the process of reform in subsidiaries acquired as a result of privatisation. More generally, the study's findings tend to suggest, contrary to some arguments in the literature, that MNCs do not apply different IHRM strategies and practices to their subsidiaries in developing economies. They also suggest that more attention needs to be paid to the way in which government policies and wider political pressures, surrounding the privatisation programmes of such countries act to influence the way in which MNCs approach the process of reform in subsidiaries acquired as a result of privatisation. More generally, the study's findings tend to suggest, contrary to some arguments in the literature, that MNCs do not apply different IHRM strategies and practices to their subsidiaries in developing economies. They also suggest that more attention needs to be paid to the way in which government policies and wider political pressures, surrounding the privatisation programmes of such countries act to influence the way in which MNCs approach the process of reform in subsidiaries acquired as a result of privatisation.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:

A Thesis Submitted in Part Fulfiment of the Award of Doctor of Philosophy.

Research Areas:Middlesex University Schools and Centres > Business School > Leadership, Work and Organisations
Masters and Doctorates > Theses
ID Code:7634
Deposited On:12 Apr 2011 17:10
Last Modified:19 Jul 2014 03:49

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