The exploration of HRM systems in the countries covered in this book leaves us in no doubt about the dominant influence of environmental factors on HRM. Much of the existing literature on HRM and international management has highlighted the extent to which external environmental factors and internal work cultures influence both micro and macro level organisational policies (Jaeger et al., 1995; Kanungo and Jaeger, 1990; Kiggundu, 1986). Predominant emphasis in this area has been on the external environment as an impediment to successful management in developing countries (Kiggundu et al., 1983; Kohn and Austin, 2000). It is suggested that the forces of instability and uncertainty in developing countries’ external environment make it an imperative for managers to develop appropriate approaches to managing human resources (Kamoche, 1993). Indeed, the constant changes in the external environment of organisations tend to dictate both the pace and direction of developments in HRM policies and practices at the firm level. Nevertheless, internal factors can equally be important in shaping any firm’s HRM policies and practices and hence need serious consideration.
It was with this view in mind that we suggested the adoption of the framework presented in Chapter 1 to analyse HRM practices in a cross-national context (for details, see Budhwar and Sparrow, 2002). The framework asserts that the nature of HRM tends to be ‘context-specific’ and as such there is considerable diversity in the way ‘culture-bound’ and ‘culture-free’ factors impact on, and determine the nature of HRM systems in different countries. Consequently, in an attempt to illuminate our understanding of HRM practices in different countries, it was necessary for each chapter to identify and analyse the main factors and variables that impinge on HRM in that country.
Another objective of the book is to examine the extent to which there are similarities and differences in HRM in different developing countries. But, while it is not possible from the evidence presented in this book to prove or disprove the ‘convergence/divergence hypothesis’, it is also difficult to argue against the view that there are more similarities than differences in the way national cultures and national institutions influence HRM in different countries.
Hence, in spite of what Khilji (see Chapter 7) calls the ‘amalgam of influences’ ranging from Western colonial influence to Islamic and traditional cultures on