What do we know about cross-country comparative studies in HRM? A critical review of literature in the period of 2000-2014

Fang Lee Cooke, Alex Veen, Geoffrey Wood

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41 Citations (Scopus)


Significant progress has been made in the research on variations in HRM across national boundaries, in both the quantity of studies and theoretical advancements since the mid-1980s. The aim of this paper is to provide a systematic review of existing literature on cross-country comparative studies of HRM as an important strand of the international HRM field in order to shed new light on dominant key concerns and themes, and emerging syntheses. More specifically, we conducted a systematic review of cross-country comparative HRM studies published in academic journals in the English language in the 15-year period of 2000–2014. Our paper charted the development of cross-country comparative studies of HRM as a sub-field of HRM research. Our analysis of 125 articles from 30 business and management journals shows the countries/regions that have been studied, topics, and research methods used. We also highlight a number of research avenues for further study in this field. Although there are a number of distinct strands to the literature, our study concludes that there is an emerging common ground in underlying concerns and theoretical assumptions both within the field, and with other areas of management inquiry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-233
Number of pages38
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2017


  • comparative HRM
  • Cross-country comparative study
  • cultural approaches
  • institutional approaches
  • organizational behaviour

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