Cultural Differences Influencing German HR Policies in Asia

Wolfgang Stehle (Rehau AG, Germany)
Ronel Erwee (University of Southern Queensland, Australia)

Journal of Asia Business Studies

ISSN: 1558-7894

Publication date: 1 September 2007


Researchers still debate the relevance of using cultural frameworks and socio‐economic differences between countries versus focussing on institutional differences when analysing issues affecting the transfer of Human Resource policies between countries. This paper first compares four countries from Europe and Asia on a macroeconomic level as well as on cultural dimensions. It then investigates perceived cultural differences between managers on the transfer of human resource policies by contrasting the perceptions of German headquarters managers with those of their subsidiary managers in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. This exploratory study uses qualitative methodology to analyse twenty four in‐depth interviews with Human Resource directors and line managers in German electrical, mechanical and chemical companies. The study confirms the importance of perceived cultural differences between managers at headquarters and in the subsidiaries and highlights the presence of misperceptions based on overgeneralisations emanating from the German headquarters as well as local subsidiaries. Convergence is confirmed on a HR policy level with crossvergence taking place on a process level via regional platforms. The growing role of the subsidiary HR director as a cultural translator and regional team player is found to be a key element in the transfer process.



Stehle, W. and Erwee, R. (2007), "Cultural Differences Influencing German HR Policies in Asia", Journal of Asia Business Studies, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 34-47.

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Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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