Convergence & Divergence in Asian Human Resource Management

 Synopsis The research paper “Convergence & Divergence in Asian Human Resource Management” talks about the convergence and contingency theory for Asian Human Resource Management (HRM). The convergence theory assumes the industrialization and advanced technology would move all the countries towards similar HRM practices. Whereas the contingency theory blames difference in culture and institutional approach for differences in HRM practices. The limitations such as different stages of economic development, geo-political situation, culture, institutional frameworks and variations in the take-up of technology are roadblocks for the convergence. Another view to look at the national HRM practices is through the “Bae and Rowley” framework which defines gaps in Asian HRM systems with the use of unit of analysis (organizational versus national) and focal point (systems/practice versus people/culture). The framework presents cultural distance as a critical factor in various areas and newly adopted HRM practices in organizations as key constraints on convergence of HRM systems. The research also compared the HRM in four countries namely Japan, China, Korea & Thailand based on Belief and assumptions, Strategic Qualities and Management Roles & Key Levers. Although this selection does not cover the entire Asian subcontinent but touches the sensitive topic of adoption of HRM at practice level rather than policy or basic architecture. This analysis shows the prospects for convergence due to gradual change at the enterprise is low. The paper concludes with need of more detailed analysis with addition of other countries and methodologies.  Relevance in Business World Today In the era of globalization and information technology we are not very far from each other and so are the HRM practices. This is the prime reason why we see most of the organizations have common HR frameworks and practices. But when it comes to compare HRM practices and micro level it differs significantly. During the module we performed a small role play which showcased a multinational company with employees from India and United Kingdom working in same team and are having common HR personnel. The role play touched on the relevance of different HR policies for different countries for effective business outcomes. In this case the HR policy for overtime in India with extra remuneration work extra work whereas in UK for additional leaves for extra work showed the importance of micro HRM policies. We also showcased how in a country like india with High context how employees do not deny extra work but have higher dissatisfaction versus employee from United Kingdom (low context culture) are blunt with reactions.

 Insights & Key Learning’s The key learning’s from this exercise are as follows a) Understanding culture at the micro level such as society and political system is the key to understanding real practices in HRM. b) Technology has helped in reducing HRM gaps but is still far from perfect. c) It’s difficult to identified real HRM gaps based on just 4 countries and small number of organizations d) The need for understanding best practices from developed as well as developing countries and showcasing in common forums is still missing and will require a lot of collaboration.


Legend: 2 . The employees in Singapore tend to be more patient with rules and regulations versus other countries. Singapore is acting as the global hub and therefore has high quotient of customer service versus other countries. Additional Research Based on the addition of India and Singapore we found that the primary reason for Singapore being a developed country is that they have a culture training and upbringing new talent with team work being the most important characteristic. Whereas India lacks on the individual training requirements but team work still is present to make it one of the best developing country. Dimension Belief & Assumptions Impatience with Rules Values & Missions Japan China Korea Thailand Singapore India ◊○ ♦ ○ ◊○ ◊○ ◊○ ♦● ◊○ ♦● ◊ ● ♦● ♦● ♦ ○ Strategic Qualities & Managerial Roles Customer Oriented Central Plans Nurturing Role Importance Managers to Corporate Managerial of Line ♦ ○ ♦ ○ ♦ ○ ♦ ○ ♦● ♦● ♦● ♦● ◊○ ♦● ♦● ♦● Key Levers Freedom in Selection Individual Pay Personnel ♦ ○ ♦● ♦ ○ ◊○ ♦ ○ ♦ ○ ♦● ♦● ♦● ♦● ♦ ○ ◊● ♦ ○ ♦● ♦● ♦● ♦● ♦● ♦ ○ ♦● ◊○ ♦● ◊○ ◊● ♦ ○ ♦● ♦● ◊○ ♦● ♦● ◊○ ♦● ◊○ ♦● ♦● ◊○ ♦● ◊○ ◊○ ◊○ ♦● ♦● ♦● ◊○ ♦● ♦● ◊○ ◊○ Performance Harmonization of Work Conditions Individual Contracts Teamwork Continuous Training Extension of HRM study in Four Countries in Asia from the Case Study. The following table summarizes the additional research with 2 countries India & Singapore. The support from the Government policies to support individual training is present in Singapore.

Practice Not Present ♦ .Practice Present ○ – No Change ● – Substantial Change 3 .◊ .

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