Attempts are made to probe into the gaps between the human resource management policies as laid down in company publications and the actual practices, followed by companies in public and private sector and by multinationals in India. The human resources practices of eight firms – two large organisations in the public sector, two medium‐sized firms in the private sector and four multinationals – are examined. The objective was to delineate the similarities and differences among the above eight firms with regard to the actual practices followed by these companies in the Indian environment. An in‐depth case study of these eight firms was conducted. It was found that in India there is no coherent unified management study which can be called Indian management. Inconsistencies are apparent and real contradictions abound. There is a pressure on managers in all organisations in India to get things moving and to keep firms economically viable on a sustained basis. The management techniques and practices were selected which were likely to be congruent with the expectations of people being managed and were in tune with the management styles and value orientation of key managers.
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