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International human resources management: A comparison between the USA and China

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Description of United States and China HRM models.
  3. Political situation and national cultures' impacts on the Human Resource Management.
    1. Power distance.
    2. Uncertainty avoidance.
    3. Individualism/collectivism dimensions.
    4. Masculinity and femininity.
    5. Short-term and long-term orientation.
  4. Convergence, divergence and hybridization.
  5. Conclusion.
  6. Bibliography.

At times of globalization, organizations have to face a business environment which involves quick responses to change, such as new laws or social trends, in order not to expire (Gibson, 1989). It is evident that only people, and not machines, are able to anticipate these changes and set up an adequate strategy. Therefore, Human Resource Management is more than ever a key factor of success for organizations. Since the eighties, the role of Human Resource Management in the organization, has taken a considerable place in our society. However, different models of human resource management exist. Indeed, there are great differences in how countries organize employment and manage the employment relationship. National variations in employment system reflect wider disparities in national culture and institutions. That is why, according to Bratton (2004), ?comparative Human Resource Management focuses on providing insights into the nature of, and reasons for, differences in HRM practices across national boundaries?.

[...] Description of United States and China HRM models The American HRM model can be defined as a managerial model. The American employment system reflects the ideologies of individualism and egalitarianism, often summarised as ?getting ahead trough individual effort and enterprise'. According to Hollingsworth (1997), there is a significant feature of the American business system which is the weakness of ?collective governance' in the private sector. For example, there were 22,974,655 private firms in the United States of America in 2002. [...]

[...] The USA are characterised by a low Uncertainty Avoidance, while China has a high Uncertainty Avoidance. In China, that is due to various factors: fears to losing job, needs for clearly define rules and the fear of conflict. In the USA, others characteristics explain this type of Uncertainty Avoidance. Indeed, the American society is less rule-oriented more readily accepts change, and takes more and greater risks (R.L. Mathis and J. H. Jackson, 2006). The primacy of individual work ethic and the entrepreneurial spirit is a tradition and a myth like the American Dream represents this part of risk. [...]

[...] Moreover many authors like Warner (2000), Leggett and Bamber (1996) or Sparrow and Wu (1999), have made the general conclusion that divergence of Human Resource Management practices between China and the USA remains predominant. Indeed, this is due to socio-cultural differences, varied investment patterns and financial institutional practices, and political and historical factors that have led to different stages of economic development. According to Leggett and Bamber (1996), ?despite enormous growth, high investment from foreign companies and closer cooperation trough the Association of South East Asian Nations and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, Asia economies diverge into three tiers or levels of development?. [...]

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