Coordinated vs. liberal market HRM: The impact of institutionalization on multinational firms

Elaine Farndale, Chris Brewster, Erik Poutsma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


The impact of institutionalized contexts on the HRM activities of multinational firms has become a focus of increasing attention in recent literature. However, theories of how different types of business systems or market economies may influence HRM, and the impact of context on multinational corporations (MNCs) operating under these different conditions are still not fully tested. In this paper the influence of the extent of institutional embeddedness of different national contexts (based on varieties of capitalism theory) on the HRM activities of MNCs is explored through the use of extensive survey data from four countries: the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Evidence is found of differences in HRM practices between foreign- and domestic-owned MNCs, as well as between MNCs and domestic organizations. Although less than expected, the restricted amount of leeway within a coordinated economy also appears to have differential effects on the various HRM practices explored in these foreign and domestic organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2004-2023
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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