Title: Exploring and comparing HR shared services in subsidiaries of multinational corporations and indigenous organisations in The Netherlands: a strategic response analysis

Authors: Jeroen Meijerink; Tanya Bondarouk; Marco Maatman

Addresses: School of Management and Governance, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands ' School of Management and Governance, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands ' School of Management and Governance, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands

Abstract: Human resource shared service centres (HR SSCs) are said to make optimal use of information technologies. Especially for MNCs, utilising HR SSCs supported by information technology increases the pressure to standardise or localise the HR SSC operations within their subsidiaries. In this paper, we explore whether what we call the content of HR SSCs (i.e. their HR activities and governance structures) is different in MNC subsidiaries to that of indigenous organisations. In so doing, we build on neo-institutional theory and the strategic response concept for uncovering how HR SSCs respond to local institutional pressures to become different or similar. As such, we contribute to the standardisation-localisation debate by responding to the call for more research into the response mechanisms that explain why MNC subsidiaries and indigenous organisations are similar or different. Further, by exploring eighteen Dutch HR SSCs in terms of their activities and governance structures, we contribute to the HR shared services literature by empirically illuminating the key characteristics of shared services: the centralisation of activities and the decentralisation of control.

Keywords: human resources; HR shared service centres; information technology; governance structures; translation; neo-institutional theory; localisation; standardisation; strategic responses; subsidiaries; multinational corporations; MNCs; indigenous organisations; The Netherlands; shared services; HRM; human resource management.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2013.055283

European Journal of International Management, 2013 Vol.7 No.4, pp.469 - 492

Published online: 24 Jul 2013 *

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