Foreign firms in China: Modelling HRM in a toy manufacturing corporation

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This article reports the study of a large, wholly foreign-owned toy factory in China. It explores whether foreign direct investment (FDI) manufacturing firms in China inevitably operate in a Taylorist fashion, in contrast to the much praised HR model of blue chip multinational corporations (MNCs) in the country, or whether there is a ‘third way’ in which good HR practices may be adopted on the ground. The article concludes that a more nuanced approach is needed in our study of FDI companies in order to gain a fuller understanding of the institutional and cultural factors at play and of the consequent diversity in the HR and employment practices of FDI firms, instead of being trapped in a simplistic and polarising typological framework of analysis. This study is necessary in light of the growing diversity in the patterns of FDI companies operating in China in terms of their ownership structure, product market, management style and HR strategy, both for managers and for workers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-52
Number of pages22
JournalHuman Resource Management Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

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