Title: How should human resources be managed? From comparing models of staff development in a German and Russian professional service firm: a conventionalist approach

Authors: Katharina Pernkopf-Konhaeusner, Julia Brandl

Addresses: Interdisciplinary Unit for Management and Organizational Behaviour, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Althanstrasse 51, A-1090 Vienna, Austria. ' Interdisciplinary Unit for Management and Organizational Behaviour, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Althanstrasse 51, A-1090 Vienna, Austria

Abstract: This paper seeks to advance research on how ideals of human resource management (HRM) differ cross-nationally by examining the typical plurality of HRM models within organisations. Drawing on French convention theory, we argue that HRM incorporates a compromise between market, industrial and domestic models of managing and that the way in which they are invoked within organisations differs across settings. Examining stories of experiences with staff development in two professional service firms in Germany and Russia, we investigate the importance and the alignment of HRM models as well as their appreciation among organisational members. Findings reveal that the German firm is characterised by the predominance of the industrial model, a high degree of compromises and similar priorities of managers and employees. In contrast, the Russian firm shows lack of a dominant model, a low degree of compromises and different priorities between managers and employees. By comparing the typical plurality of HRM models, we gain a deeper understanding of the tensions associated with HRM within organisations and the different sources of agreements across settings.

Keywords: management models; staff development; convention theory; episodic interviewing; comparative; Russia; Germany; human resources; human resource management; HRM; professional services.

DOI: 10.1504/EJCCM.2010.037642

European Journal of Cross-Cultural Competence and Management, 2010 Vol.1 No.4, pp.356 - 377

Available online: 20 Dec 2010 *

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