HR practices and challenges in Chinese firms : comparison with Western firms

Shi, Wei (2010) HR practices and challenges in Chinese firms : comparison with Western firms. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This research compares Chinese HRM with Western HRM, particularly in the areas of development of HR information systems (HRIS) and HR measurement systems and their relation to HR’s involvement as a strategic partner in firms. The research uses a 3-stage model of HRIS (workforce profiling, business insight, and strategic driver) based on studies of Irmer and Ellerby (2005) and Boudreau and Ramstad (2003) to compare the relative stages of development of Chinese and Western HRM. The quantitative aspect of the study comprises a survey of senior HR practitioners from 171 Chinese firms whose data is compared with data from Irmer and Ellerby’s study of Australian and U.S. HRM (2005) and Lawler et al’s series of studies of U.S firms (1995, 1998, 2001, 2004). The main results of the comparison are that Chinese HRM generally lags behind Western HRM. In particular, Chinese HR professionals allocate less time to strategic activities and their roles are less strategic than those of Western HR professionals. The HR measurement systems of Chinese firms are more limited in function, and the HR information systems of Chinese companies are less automated and integrated. However there is also evidence of a “two speed” HR system in China with a small proportion of firms having highly sophisticated HR systems but with a much larger proportion of Chinese firms than in the West having only the most basic HR information systems. This ‘two speed” system is in part attributable to a split between the relatively advanced HR systems of large State Owned Enterprises and the basic systems that predominate in smaller, growing Local Private firms. The survey study is complemented by a series of interviews with a number of senior Chinese HR practitioners who provide richer insights into their experiences and the challenges they face in contemporary Chinese firms.

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ID Code: 46238
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Kabanoff, Boris & Irmer, Bernd
Keywords: Chinese Human Resource Management (HRM), practices, challenges, comparison with West
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 28 Sep 2011 05:59
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2011 05:59

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