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Conditional factors for training activities in Chinese, Indian and Mexican subsidiaries of German companies

Beke Vogelsang (Chair of Economics and Business Education, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany)
Matthias Pilz (Chair of Economics and Business Education, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany)

European Journal of Training and Development

ISSN: 2046-9012

Article publication date: 2 November 2020

Issue publication date: 13 July 2021

322

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the qualification measures of 12 German multi-national companies (MNCs), all of which are present in China, India and Mexico. In particular, the transfer of dual initial training practices and further training measures are investigated. It examines the impact consistent training strategies across national borders have emerged in German companies or local arrangements have developed despite identical internal influencing factors.

Design/methodology/approach

Because of its design, the focus is on the external factors that influence the companies’ training measures. However, an exploratory approach was followed. To pursue the research question face-to-face expert interviews were conducted with 46 training managers in 12 active companies in all 3 countries. The interviews were completely transcribed and evaluated using qualitative methods.

Findings

The analysis shows that it is not internal company factors but country-specific contextual factors that influence training measures and that companies cannot act in the same way worldwide.

Research limitations/implications

The study is based on 12 MNC and only analyses the blue-collar area. Therefore, it would have to be evaluated whether a similar analysis would result from a survey of other companies in different sectors or whether the differences in terms of training and further training measures would then be even greater.

Practical implications

The study supports the internationalization strategies of MNC by providing first-hand empirical results concerning recruitment and training of blue colour workers on an intermediate skill level. It gives evidence on the need of national adaptation in the process of transferring training cultures from countries of origin into the host countries. More attention must, therefore, be paid to external factors when developing and implementing training measures.

Social implications

The economic development in many countries includes an expansion of foreign investments. MNC provides employment and income for workers and their families. However, successful foreign investments also include sustainable recruitment and training strategies of the local workforce. The results of the study support policymakers to guide and support foreign companies to develop successful Human Resource Management strategies in the host countries.

Originality/value

This paper is original because due to the research design the internal factors are kept largely constant and the external influencing factors are singularly focused in detail. Therefore, this procedure makes it possible to investigate whether consistency training strategies across national borders have emerged in German companies or local arrangements have developed despite identical internal influencing factors.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The data presented here are embedded in a research project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) under the title “Global strategies and local forms of technical education and training in German multinational enterprises – a regional comparison in emerging economies” (PI 418/5-1). We thank our project partners Prof Dr Martina Fuchs, Judith Wiemann and Dr Kristina Wiemann (University of Cologne) for raw data collection and many valuable insights and suggestions.

Citation

Vogelsang, B. and Pilz, M. (2021), "Conditional factors for training activities in Chinese, Indian and Mexican subsidiaries of German companies", European Journal of Training and Development, Vol. 45 No. 4/5, pp. 419-435. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJTD-04-2020-0066

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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