The paper 'International Journal of Organisational Behavior' is a good example of a Management Assignment. In the past forty years, international management has been plagued by a debate on convergence and divergence. Some authors argue that differences in culture are hard to diminish (Bjorkman, Smale, Sumelius & Lu, 2008). As a result, they argue that firms often employ divergence HRM models in their international subsidiaries (Carr, & Pudelko, 2006). However, practically this is possible especially with the advent of information technology, which can make it easy and speed up the exchange of information between different subsidiaries and even departments (Khan, 2010).
This implies that information technology can necessitate standardization and centralization of the process (Paik, Chow, & Vance, 2011). Therefore, the business practice may converge. The convergence argument thus holds that cultural differences can diminish while divergence arguments hold that cultural differences are hard to diminish in spite of the prevailing condition (Carmen, 2008). Convergence According to convergence theory, it is assumed that the industrialization process and the spread of advanced technology ultimately result in different nations adopting similar economic and political systems.
This theory argues that international competitive pressure makes differences in a national management system to be overridden and results in convergence management practices that are most successful (Carr, & Pudelko, 2006). This implies that such universality could be applied to HRM. As a result, some authors have argued that there are some best ways of managing that could be applied universally. It is argued that forces of convergence are likely to overwhelm country differences (Khan, 2010). The resulting best practice makes firms converge or be disadvantaged in terms of competition.
It is thus assumed that the effects of best practices are universal and transferable instead of being firm-specific. They also argue that these best practices traverse national culture or institutional context (Carmen, 2008). This debate that supports the convergence of HRM practices and policies has resulted in two types of convergence: structural and decisional convergence. Based on structural convergence argument, when all factors are held constant, HR systems would tend to look similar outwardly. Based on this argument, the universalistic strategic human resource management (SHRM) perspective argues that the high-performance work systems (HPWSs) approach is the best practice and that implementation of some aspects of HPWS can enhance the performance of any firm (Paik, Chow, & Vance, 2011).
Thus if all managers of firms would buy this argument then HPWSs would be adopted across both locally owned companies (LOCs) and multinational companies (MNC) subsidiaries. This would result in structural convergence of HRM systems. Decisional convergence can also occur when MNC and LOCs adopt a similar analytical decision and analytical frameworks rules. It is argued that decisional convergence can take place if both MNC subsidiaries’ and LOCs’ HR strategy decisions are based on business strategy and have similar weights attached to the development of their HR systems (Rowley, 1998).
Proponents of this hypothesis argue that if the business environment of both LOCs and MNC subsidiaries become alike, their HR practices and policies will converge followed by structural convergence (Rowley, 1998). It is argued that globalization and related factors create an environment in which firms are forced to be more flexible, agile, and innovative in order to be competitive (Mayrhofer et al.
2011). Convergence hypothesis argues that cross border mergers and acquisitions are one of the mechanisms through which firms use to transmit knowledge of HR practices and policies cross-nationally (Gooderham, & Nordhaug, 2011). It is also argued that firm managers often adopt the management practices within the firm in order to either gain legitimacy or because they are unsure of how to act (Carr, & Pudelko, 2006). Even though laws and administrative rules promote indigenous approaches they also serve to facilitate convergence toward universal best practice (Eaton, 2000).
Bjorkman, I., Smale, A., Sumelius, J., & Lu, Y. (2008). Changes in institutional context and MNC operations in China: Subsidiary HRM practices in 1996 versus 2006. International Business Review, 17(2), 146-158
Carmen, G. (2008). Best Practices in HRM: Convergence in Beliefs across Nine Countries? International Journal of Organisational Behaviour, 13(1), 1-15
Carr, C., & Pudelko, M. (2006). Convergence of Management Practices in Strategy, Finance and HRM between the USA, Japan and Germany. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 6(1), 75-100
Domsch, M., & Lidokhover, T. (2007). Human resource management in Russia. London: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
Eaton, J. (2000). Comparative employment relations: An introduction. London: Wiley-Blackwell
Gooderham, P., & Nordhaug, O. (2011). One European model of HRM? Cranet empirical contributions. Human Resource Management Review, 21(1), 27-36
Khan, S. (2010). Convergence, Divergence or Middle of the Path: HRM Model for Oman. Journal of Management Policy and Practice, 12(1), 64 – 75
Mayrhofer, W., Brewster, C., Morley, M., & Ledolter, J. (2011). Hearing a different drummer? Convergence of human resource management in Europe — A longitudinal analysis. Human Resource Management Review, 21(1), 50-67
Paik, Y., Chow, I., & Vance, C. (2011). Interaction effects of globalization and institutional forces on international HRM practice: Illuminating the convergence-divergence debate. Thunderbird International Business Review, 53(5), 647-659
Rowley, C. (1998). Human resource management in the Asia Pacific region: Convergence questioned. London: Routledge.