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Work orientation as an element of national culture and its impact on HRM policy‐practice design choices: Lessons from Sri Lanka

Anil Chandrakumara (Business Administration Department, Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Colombo, Sri Lanka)
Paul Sparrow (Professor of International HRM, Manchester Business School, Manchester, UK)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 1 September 2004

Abstract

This study extends the contention that national culture affects human resource management (HRM) policies and practices and explores meaning and values of work orientation (MVWO) as an element of national culture in predicting HRM policy‐practice design choices. The data were obtained in a sample of 487 employees in domestic and foreign‐invested firms (FIF) in Sri Lanka. Eight distinct MVWO patterns emerged from the sample. Twenty‐six HRM design choices were clustered into four components: planned and open career and empowering system, qualifications and performance based reward system, generic functional perspective of job‐person fit, and job‐related competence and rewards. All the four HRM preference practices are influenced by MVWO. The evidence suggests MVWO relativity of HRM design choices in Sri Lankan context. The question of transferability of empowering and performance management to developing countries becomes evident. Moreover, MVWO relativity of HRM design choices is relatively high in FIF, reflecting that the “type of ownership” can have an impact not only on actual HRM practices but also on preferred HRM practices in FIF. The existence of business in the long‐run and host government expectations also seem to be important factors in understanding HRM preferences in FIF. Theoretical and practical implications for international HR managers are discussed.

Keywords

Citation

Chandrakumara, A. and Sparrow, P. (2004), "Work orientation as an element of national culture and its impact on HRM policy‐practice design choices: Lessons from Sri Lanka", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 25 No. 6, pp. 564-589. https://doi.org/10.1108/01437720410560451

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited