Shades of green: the greenfield concept in HRM

Suzanne Richbell (University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)
H. Doug Watts (University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Publication date: 1 October 2001


Reviews the concept of a “greenfield site” within human resource management (HRM) and shows that the ways in which distance is conceptualised or measured in describing greenfield sites needs to be made explicit. This is particularly important when comparing different studies and in attempting generalisations about the introduction of new HRM practices on greenfield sites. The distance factors which may impose a constraint on the introduction of new HRM practices at a greenfield site are the site’s distance from a firm’s existing operations, its distance from geographical concentrations of similar economic activities and its distance from regions with traditional patterns of management‐employee relations. Concludes by arguing that it is inappropriate to treat the greenfield factor as a dichotomous variable and that there are various shades of green.



Richbell, S. and Doug Watts, H. (2001), "Shades of green: the greenfield concept in HRM", Employee Relations, Vol. 23 No. 5, pp. 498-511.

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Copyright © 2001, MCB UP Limited

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