Organizational context and human resource management strategy : A structural equation analysis of Hong Kong firms

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-277
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2000


Previous studies to explain why companies utilize particular human resource management (HRM) strategies have not adequately addressed the influence of contextual variables such as size, location, ownership, competitive pressure, technological change, age and growth. In this study, we investigate the extent to which these contextual variables are related to HRM strategy in seventy-six private-sector firms located in Hong Kong. Our analysis uses structural equations to examine the relationships among contextual variables and HRM strategy to develop and retain managers. The results show that contextual variables have both direct and indirect effects on an organization's HRM strategy. The indirect effects occur through the top management involvement of the HR function within an organization. Use of a human capital development HRM strategy reduces organizational uncertainty about having an adequate supply of managers to meet firm objectives. Contrary to our expectation, in Hong Kong firms, greater reliance on internal development and promotion tends to increase uncertainty and greater competition tends to reduce training investment. Both of these unanticipated relationships may reflect the high mobility of managers peculiar to the Hong Kong labour market.

Research Area(s)

  • Contextual variables, Hong Kong companies, Human resource management strategy, Structural equation models, Top management, Uncertainty