Uncovering competitive and institutional drivers of HRM practices in multinational corporations

Elaine Farndale, Jaap Paauwe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Citations (SciVal)


Current international human resource management (IHRM) literature focusing on multinational corporations (MNCs) presents evidence of both similarities and differences in the HR practices adopted in different global locations. However, the drivers behind this duality require more detailed investigation. This article focuses on exploring why MNCs position themselves within global markets as they do, exploring how extant theory can help explain the drivers behind both global and national HR practices. Based on a worldwide sample of in-depth interview-based case studies of well-known MNCs, we explore the ways in which different firms react to both institutional and competitive pressures in selecting their approach to HRM. The findings uncover a differentiation between external global competitive isomorphic pressures, external national institutional isomorphic pressures, and internal processes of strategic choice and competitive differentiation. It is suggested that MNCs face all three drivers of HRM simultaneously, leading to different patterns of practice adoption, adaptation and innovation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-375
Number of pages21
JournalHuman Resource Management Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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