Can Western-Style Hrm Practices Be Introduced to China

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Introduction

The working environment of many western companies is currently changing a lot. Due to the globalisation and opening of markets companies are confronted with new problems. As a consequence organisational structures and practices are altering. In addition, human resource management practices need to be adopted as well. This is nothing unusual and has constantly happened in the past. In the beginning of the 20th century the scientific management theory of Frederick Taylor was extremely popular. Later, theories of Henri Fayol or Max Webber gained influence. A major shift in HRM came than from the human relations theory of Elton Mayo. Today the main concern of modern HRM theories is selecting and developing the employee.

In
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Even though these companies adopt share options as a variable pay element, this is not seen as a reward for the individual. Because Chinese software companies focusing less on the individual, share options are used as a gesture of benevolence. Another typical element of Software companies is long working hours. While this is achieved in the USA by financial incentives, Chinese software firms will use social motivators. (Tsang, 2007)

The research in the service business of manufacturing companies in Switzerland and China shows other restriction. The results of several minicases indicates the Chinese service manager lose face by stressing added value of providing services. Chinese service managers in contrast to the one in Switzerland uses “free” services for establishing a guanxi network and “giving face” to their customers. (Gebauer and Zedtwitz, 2007)

Implementing western-style HRM practices is mainly constrained by the current pressure of low cost production and Taylorist work system. There is just no space for broad HRM practices. Because of the low level of law enforcements, the incentives to implement social security schemes or minimum wages are lacking. In addition, the Chinese culture differs in certain spheres strongly from a western one and limits therefore the ability to implement western-style HRM practices.

Arguments in favour of HRM practices transfer

Even though
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