The diffusion of global human resource information technology in the subsidiaries of a US multinational corporation
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The majority of multinational corporations (MNC) utilise some form of global human resource information technology (GHRIT) to collect, store and analyse employee data. The literature suggests that the use of GHRIT has the potential to add strategic value to the organisation. The MNC as an organisational form and the manner in which MNCs transfer business practices across their subsidiaries has been widely debated in the literature. However, little international and comparative research has to date been carried out into the diffusion of GHRIT in the subsidiaries of a single MNC and the factors that might mediate that process. Using institutional theory as a theoretical lens this research examines the way in which a large US-based MNC has diffused HRIT in its German and Irish subsidiaries. This research builds on existing research to explore actual transfer success, that is, the implementation, internalisation and integration of GHRIT practices. Data derived from twenty seven interviews with key stakeholders in a number of locations and the analysis of documentary evidence. This research makes a number of significant contributions to knowledge by advancing the fields of HRIT, Enterprise Resource Planning Systems, international and comparative HRM and institutional theory. The unique interplay of complex institutional environments within which the MNC and its subsidiaries operate effectuates discernible variations in the level of transfer of particular GHRIT practices not just between the US headquarters and its subsidiaries but also between the subsidiaries themselves. The GHRIT Diffusion Model developed as part of this research demonstrates that the successful diffusion of GHRIT practices within MNCs is shaped by an interchange of various institutional level contexts (external, relational, organisational and individual) of the MNC and its subsidiaries, various social actors, the HR and GHRIT strategy of the MNC, and the level of integration of practices within the subsidiary.
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