HR Directors in India: Navigating Institutional Incoherence for HRM Stability and Change

Darwish, Tamer K ORCID: 0000-0003-1815-9338, Khassawneh, Osama, Melhem, Muntaser J and Singh, Satwinder (2024) HR Directors in India: Navigating Institutional Incoherence for HRM Stability and Change. Employee Relations. doi:10.1108/ER-07-2023-0338 (In Press)

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Purpose: This paper aims to explore the strategic and evolving role of HRM Directors within the context of underdeveloped institutional arrangements. The study focuses on India and conducts a comparative analysis of the roles of HRM Directors in both multinational enterprises (MNEs) and domestic firms. Methodology: Survey-based data from the HRM Directors of 252 enterprises were gathered for the comparative analysis, including both multinational and domestic enterprises. Findings: HRM Directors in MNEs lack the proficiency required to effectively fulfil their strategic role. In addition, there has been a notable shift in the responsibilities of HRM Directors in MNEs, with increased emphasis on labour movements and trade union negotiations, as opposed to traditional HR activities. This shift suggests that the role of HRM in MNEs operating in India has been influenced by local isomorphic forces, rather than following a “pendulum swing” between home and host country institutional pressures. The prevalence of informality in the Indian institutional arrangements may act as a strong counterforce to integrating the strategic agency of MNEs' home country HRM Directors into the organizational structure. Despite facing resistance from the local institutional context, HRM Directors in MNEs are responding with a pushback, prioritizing labour movements and trade union negotiations over core HRM activities. Implications: The study highlights the broader implications for theory and practice, shedding light on the challenges faced by HRM Directors in navigating incoherent institutional arrangements. It emphasizes the need for a deeper understanding of local forces in shaping HRM practices within multinational settings. Originality/value: We contribute to the comparative HRM literature by elaborating on power struggles that HRM Directors face amid the dichotomies of formal power and authority that are encoded in the organizational structure versus culturally contingent power that can be accrued from engaging in informality. We also highlight their engagement in prolonged institutional mediation and change, which serves as a compensatory mechanism for the institutional shortfalls they encounter within the context of emerging markets. Keywords: HRM Director, comparative institutional analysis, trade unions, India, emerging markets.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: HRM Director; Comparative institutional analysis; Trade unions; India; Emerging markets
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5549 Personnel management. Employment management
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Applied Business & Technology
Depositing User: Tamer Darwish
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2024 20:52
Last Modified: 07 May 2024 13:49

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