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The Human Resource Management Role In Transition: Evidence From Industrial Enterprises In China

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journal contribution
posted on 06.06.2017, 02:21 by Zhu, Cherrie Jiuhua, Cooper, Brian, De Cieri, Helen, Dowling, Peter J.
The Chinese government has launched extensive reforms to encourage integration with the global economy. These reforms have brought significant contextual changes for the human resource (HR) function and human resource management (HRM) practices in Chinese enterprises. Our research investigates the implications for HRM practices of the changing business environment in China, ownership of organizations, organizational strategies, and strategic integration of the HR function. We conducted two surveys in major Chinese cities in 1994/5 and 2001/2, with managers of state-owned, privately-owned, collective-owned and foreign-invested enterprises. Our results suggest an emerging strategic role for the HR function in Chinese enterprises, with evidence of participation in strategic decision making and a continuing emphasis on the competencies (i.e., qualifications and work experience) of HR managers. Regression analyses showed that organizational strategy and organizational ownership, in contrast with earlier research, were not found to be strong predictors of HRM practices. The changing business environment in China and participation by the HR function in strategic decision making were the strongest predictors of HRM practices. Overall, a strategic role for the HR function and implementation of 'Western' HRM practices are becoming more prevalent in China, although the legacy of traditional practices endures and new challenges are emerging.


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Department of Management

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