Transfer and Diffusion of Human Resource Management Practices in Multinational Enterprises: A Multi-level Approach

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper presented at Conference (not in Proceedings)peer-review


The literature on transfer and diffusion has paved the way for MNEs to understand the potential barriers associated with the process. However, these studies have provided a simplistic view of the effects of host country institutions which hinges on the institutional duality perspective. As a result, it has failed to recognise the effect of individual-level factors and the interaction effects of driving factors across different levels of analysis. To this end, the paper develops a multi-level model which integrates factors at three levels (individual, organisational, and national). Drawing on new institutionalism, RBV, and micro-foundations, the paper shifts from the deterministic view of host country informal institutions acting as constraints while neglecting individual’s agency in ensuring that the objectives of such transfers are achieved. Adopting a quantitative method, 878 employees from 36 MNE subsidiaries participated in the study. The results reveal the possibility of employee readiness and subsidiary absorptive capacity limiting the negative effects of the informal institutional environment on transfer and diffusion outcomes. Our approach emphasises the multi-level dynamics and agency associated with transfer and diffusion outcomes at the subsidiary level, making it possible for MNEs to navigate the unfamiliar context while overcoming possible resistance from both employees and managers.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2020
EventAcademy of International Business Annual Meeting - Online
Duration: 2 Jul 20206 Jul 2020


ConferenceAcademy of International Business Annual Meeting
Abbreviated titleAIB 2020


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