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The effect of individual factors on the transfer of human resource management knowledge in Chinese subsidiaries: The perspective of Chinese HR managers

Cindy Wang‐Cowham (Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, UK)

Journal of Technology Management in China

ISSN: 1746-8779

Article publication date: 30 May 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of individual factors on the transfer of human resource management (HRM) knowledge in Chinese subsidiaries of multinational corporations, and to explore the relationships between individual factors and introduce the concept of joint effect‐integrated capability.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the notion that certain factors can affect knowledge transfer (KT), this paper examines the effect of four factors, i.e. cultural difference and adaptability, language and communication, working relationship, and motivation and willingness, on the transfer of HRM knowledge. The paper is based on an empirical study of 22 individual HR professionals from 21 Chinese subsidiaries. Data were collected through semi‐structured interviews conducted between January and April 2004 and an exploratory data analysis was carried out with the assistance of Nvivo software.

Findings

The study has found that Chinese HR managers have the ability of all four factors to facilitate the transfer of HRM knowledge. The findings further suggest that integrated capability‐joint effect could be generated from the four factors and affect the transfer process jointly. When the capability is positive, it facilitates the transfer. Conversely, when the capability is negative, it impedes the transfer.

Research limitations/implications

The findings not only extend the understanding of the effect of single factor on KT, but also the interrelationship between individual factors, their joint effect‐integrated capability and the transfer process.

Originality/value

Existing research has concentrated on studying the effect of single factor on KT, knowledge management by and large. There is little research investigating the correlations between individual factors. This paper addresses this gap and introduces the concept of joint effect, integrated capability.

Keywords

Citation

Wang‐Cowham, C. (2008), "The effect of individual factors on the transfer of human resource management knowledge in Chinese subsidiaries: The perspective of Chinese HR managers", Journal of Technology Management in China, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 224-241. https://doi.org/10.1108/17468770810881149

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited