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National Business Systems in Asian countries: Impact on Human Resource Management, Employment Relations Practices and Organisation Behaviour


Special issue call for papers from Journal of Asia Business Studies

Guest Editors

Dr Vijay Pereira
Dr Ashish Malik
Prof Fabian Jintae Froese

Supervising Editor

Prof Hemant Merchant

National Business Systems in Asian countries: Impact on Human Resource Management, Employment Relations Practices and Organisation Behaviour

Each country possesses certain unique institutional and cultural attributes when it comes to its national business systems (NBSs) i.e. how and why it conducts business in a particular way. Though some work has been done in this area (see for e.g. Whitley, 1999; Rees & Edwards, 2009), it is mostly in the Western and/or developed economy context. There is a glaring gap in research on Asian and developing country NBSs (see arguments made by Carney et al., 2009). This proposed special issue aims to contribute to the literature on NBS in Asian countries and its impact on human resource management, employment relations practices and organisation behaviour. In particular, the research on NBS, which uses socio-political, economic and cultural theoretical lenses, can be developed further in terms of the organisational and group level decisions that affect the shaping of human resource management, employment relations practices and organisation behaviour.

In doing so, the three objectives of this special issue are first, to identify unique NBS in Asian countries; second, to develop comparative analysis and contrast these NBSs to Western and developed countries; and third, to examine the context-specific effects of Asian NBSs on human resource management, employment relations practices and organisation behaviour in these countries.

Although the globalisation thesis, of convergence and divergence, claims to explain the differences in multinational corporations (MNCs) human resource management (HRM) practices in host country locations (Edwards & Rees, 2009), there are other analytical frameworks such as cultural factors, institutional and varieties of capitalism (VoC) approaches. Varieties of capitalism approaches such as the Anglo-Saxon, Asian, and Mediterranean varieties of capitalism for e.g. significantly influence the strategic choices firms make in their resourcing decisions. Differences in these macro-economic characteristics and varieties of capitalism form the basis for divergence in design and implementation of international HRM practices (Carney et al., 2009; Hall and Soskice 2001).

One way to understand the variety of capitalism classification is to look at nation states as the laissez-faire state; the social state; and the developmental state (see Hyman 2008). Laissez-faire states include states that are commonly found in the liberal market economies (LME) discussed in the VoC literature (Hall and Soskice 2001), such as those of the UK, the US and other Anglo-phone states. The social state in contrast, mainly includes West European countries. In Asia, countries following this model include Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan (Hyman 2008; Weiss 2010). This is similar to the governed market economies (GME) in the VoC literature (Hall and Soskice 2001). The third classification Hyman (2008) makes is that of the developmental state, where nation states that have developed modern market economies more recently, the relations between the state and the market have followed different positions. From an Asian perspective Farnham (2014) suggests that a distinctive model of the developmental state is found in China.

The widespread proliferation of research on the impact of NBS has led to the development of robust analytical lenses as well as critiques of, for example, culture theories (see for e.g. Child, 2002; Pereira and Malik, 2013), convergence-divergence-crossvergence theories (see explanations by Froese, 2013; Ralston 2008), institutional theories and the application of varieties of capitalism approaches (Hall & Soskice, 2001; Björkman et al., 2007) to under researched contexts such as emerging Asian economies (Carney et al., 2009). Further, although the above approaches have offered rigorous analytical frameworks for conducting empirical studies in international and comparative employment relations and organisation behaviour, one of the common criticisms surrounds its use of either cultural or institutional lenses. Edwards and Rees (2009) suggest there is merit in adopting a ‘holistic’ approach and analysing the interactions between various levels because it allows for simultaneously exploring macro, meso, and micro level influences through the NBS approach. Adopting a holistic approach is likely to offer much more profound predictions of insights into the differences in HRM practices of MNCs (Whitely, 1999). Further, it would also add value to the areas of employment relations and organisation behaviour. In a bid to integrate these related and valuable perspectives of global versus national and culture versus institutional frames, the goal is to spur additional theoretical and empirical research on the topic of Whitley’s (1999) conceptualisation of a NBS approach as a useful framework for analysing the differences that are embedded in social and institutional contexts. Yet, there is little empirical and conceptual work available in the context of Asian countries and emerging markets.

This special issue invites contributions about Asian countries explaining how their unique NBS shape the nature, extent, and consequences of HRM, employment relations and organisation behaviour of domestic firms and foreign subsidiaries in these countries. In terms of methodology, we welcome conceptual, qualitative and quantitative contributions that further our understanding of the influence of NBS on HRM practices, employment relations, and organisation behaviour in Asian countries. To this end our call encourages submissions that address (but is not limited to) research questions that have a focus on a ‘within-Asia’ and ‘across-Asia’ impacts of NBS. The following is an indicative list of research questions:

  • To what extent are HR practices, employment relations and organisation behaviour of Asian firms similar or different from those of industrialised countries, and/or developing countries?
  • What are the “within-Asia” differences in Asian countries’ macro-economic characteristics that form the basis for divergence in the design and implementation of international HRM practices?
  • How, and to what extent do National Business Systems in Asian countries influence HR management, employment relations and organisation behaviour styles in these country multinationals (MNCs)? 
  • Is the conceptualisation of adopting a National Business Systems a useful approach for analysing the HRM, employment relations and organisation behaviour differences that are embedded in Asian countries social and institutional contexts? If yes, how, why, and when (i.e. under what conditions)?
  • To what extent can Asian countries’ unique national business systems shape the nature and extent of HRM, employment relations and organisation behaviour practices in emerging market subsidiaries as well as MNC’s subsidiaries operating in these countries?
  • In the context of Asia, how and why do foreign MNCs adapt/impose HR, employment relations and organisation behaviour practices?
  • How do MNCs work with Asian employees and adjust to an Asian NBS?  

Please submit your articles before 31 July 2015 using the journal’s online submission and review system, ScholarOne: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jnlabs.

Do check the JABS author guidelines before submitting your work.  All papers will go though double blind peer review using two reviewers. Articles will be sent for review within a week following submission.

For enquiries, please contact the corresponding guest editor, Dr Vijay Pereira at [email protected]

References

Björkman, I., Fey, C. F. and Park, H. J. (2007), "Institutional theory and MNC subsidiary HRM practices: evidence from a three-country study", Journal of International Business Studies, vol. 38, pp. 430-446.

Carney, M., Gedajlovic, E., & Yang, X. (2009), "Varieties of Asian capitalism: Toward an institutional theory of Asian enterprise", Asia Pacific Journal of Management, vol. 26 no. 3, pp. 361-380.

Child, J. (2002), "Theorizing about organization cross-nationally: Part 1- An introduction", in M. Warner and P. Joynt (eds.) Managing Across Cultures: Issues and perspectives, London: Thompson.

Edwards, T., Rees, C., (2009) International Human Resource Management: Globalisation, National Systems & Multinational Companies, Pearson, Prentice Hall: Edinburgh, UK.

Farnham, D. (2014, forthcoming). "The changing faces of employment relations: global, comparative and theoretical perspectives", in Burrell, Marchington and Thompson (eds.) Management, Work and Organisation series, Palgrave-Macmillan.

Froese, F. J. (2013), "Work values of the new generation of business leaders in Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul", Asia Pacific Journal of Management, vol. 30, pp. 297-315.

Hall P., D. Soskice. (2001), "An introduction to varieties of capitalism", in P. Hall and D. Soskice (eds.), Varieties of Capitalism: Institutional Foundations of Comparative Advantage. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hyman, R. (2008), "The state in industrial relations", in Blyton, P., Bacon, N., Fiorito, J. and Heery, E., (eds.) The Sage handbook of industrial relations, SAGE Publications.

Pereira, V and Malik, A. (2013), "East is East? Understanding aspects of Indian culture(s) within organisations: a special issue call for papers on Culture and Organization Volume 21, issue 5 (2015)", Culture and Organization, vol. 19 no. 5, pp. 1-19.

Ralston, D. A. (2008), "The crossvergence perspective: Reflections and projections", Journal of International Business Studies, vol. 39 no. 1, pp. 27-40.

Weiss, L. (2010), "The State in the Economy: Neoliberal or Neoactivist?", in G Morgan, J Campbell, C Crouch, O K Pedersen, R Whitely (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Institutional Analysis, Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

Whitley, R. (1999), Divergent capitalisms: The social structuring and change of business systems, Oxford: Oxford University Press.