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Multinational Companies and the Diffusion of Employment Practices from Outside the Country of Origin: Explaining Variation Across Firms

[Tony Edwards], Paul Edwards, [Anthony Ferner], Paul Marginson and [Olga Tregaskis]

Management International Review, 50, 5, 613-34


This paper analyses the issue of variation between multinational companies in the extent to which they use their foreign operating units as the origin of employment practices that are subsequently transferred across the firm. It uses data from a nationally representative survey of MNCs in the UK and contrasts the relative influences of three sets of factors on diffusion. The results demonstrate that while the nationality of the parent firm and the way in which the multinational is configured have only modest effects on diffusion, the organizational conduits through which the diffusion of practices can occur are central to explaining variation between firms.