The impact of institutional context on human resource management in three Chinese societies

Irene Hau‐siu Chow (Department of Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Publication date: 1 December 2004


The present study utilizes institutional theory as a framework to analyze human resource (HR) practices in the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. It looks at the influence that environmental factors such as social and political systems, legislation, the power of labor unions and trade associations have on the adoption of HR practices. The salient institutional characteristics of the three Chinese societies are described, and then the influence of unions and labor legislation at the firm level are highlighted. In addition, the HR function and current human resource management (HRM) practices are explored using four distinct dimensions of HRM practices (i.e. staffing, training, performance evaluation, and compensation) among the three Chinese societies. The configurations of HR systems are quite different across the three Chinese societies. This paper attempts to explain the similarities and differences in HRM practices from the perspective of institutional theory. Practical implications and future research directions are provided.



Hau‐siu Chow, I. (2004), "The impact of institutional context on human resource management in three Chinese societies", Employee Relations, Vol. 26 No. 6, pp. 626-642.

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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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