The organizational choice of human resource management practices : A study of Chinese enterprises in three cities in the PRC

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)946-964
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2001


This study examined the effects of an organization's contextual variables on the choice of human resource management (HRM) practices to secure, nurture, reward and retain managerial employees. The contextual variables included organizational characteristics (ownership, age and size), on the one hand, and its competitive strategies (innovation, quality and cost) and the strategic role of the human resource function, on the other. Data were collected through a questionnaire survey of general managers and human resource directors from 326 joint ventures and state-owned enterprises located in Shanghai, Nanjing and Guangzhou, three major cities in China. Using structural equation analysis, we examined both the direct and indirect effects of the contextual variables on HRM practices. The indirect effects were measured through the strategic role of the human resource function. Results indicated that ownership and the strategic role of the human resource function were key variables in explaining an organization's choice of HRM practices. Age and size of the organization had limited effects. Compared with cost and quality strategies, the innovation strategy affected HRM practices, both directly and indirectly, indicating the increasing dynamism of the Chinese economy in its move towards a market orientation.

Research Area(s)

  • Chinese enterprises, Competitive strategy, Organizational context, Strategic human resource management