2008 | 3 | 2 | 75-88
Article title

HRM in Transition Economies: The Case of Serbia

Title variants
Languages of publication
While the convergence vs. divergence debate has gained broad recognition among both HRM scholars and practitioners, it seems that a closer insight into current HRM developments in the South Eastern European transition economies has yet to be achieved. This paper, therefore, aims to highlight current HRM practices in Serbia and address possibilities for implementing the North American HRM model in a highly incompatible cultural setting. Investigation of HRM practices in Serbia is based on the "CRANET survey on Strategic International HRM" (Brewster et al., 2004) and on interviews with the HR managers of 38 randomly selected companies operating in Serbia. The Serbian national culture has been included a priori in the initial research design as an explanatory variable. Research findings suggest that both the incompetence of HR managers and professionals, as well as a slow-moving transition, need to be carefully considered to explain the distinctiveness of HRM in transition economies. On the other hand, national culture seems to be a key obstacle to the achievement of full convergence of performance appraisal and performance-related pay.
Physical description
  • Faculty of Economics, Kamenička 6, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
  • Faculty of Economics, Kamenička 6, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
  • Faculty of Economics, Kamenička 6, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
  • Alas, R. & Svetlik, I. 2004. Estonia and Slovenia: Building Modern HRM Using a Dualist Approach. In Human Resource Management in Europe: Evidence of Convergence? Edited by C. Brewster, W. Mayrhofer & M. Morley, 353-83. Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann.
  • Bowen, D.E., Galang, C. & Pillai, R. 2002. The Role of Human Resource Management: An Exploratory Study of Cross-country Variance. Human Resource Management 41(1): 103-22.
  • Brewster, C. & Larsen, H.H. 1992. Human resource management in Europe: evidence from ten countries. The International Journal of Human Resource Management 3(3): 409-34.[Crossref]
  • Brewster, C., Mayrhofer, W. & Morley, M. 2004. Human Resource Management in Europe: Evidence of Convergence? Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann.
  • Child, J. 1981. Culture, contingency and capitalism in the cross-national study of organizations. In Research in Organizational Behavior edited by B. Staw & L. Cummings Vol. 3. London: JAI Press.
  • Child, J. & Tayeb, M. 1983. Theoretical perspectives in cross-national organizational research. International Studies of Management and Organization 7(3-4): 23-70.
  • Clark, T., Gospel, H. & Montgomery, J. 1999. Running on the spot? A review of twenty years of research on the management of human resources in a comparative and international perspective. The International Journal of Human Resource Management 10(3): 520-44.[Crossref]
  • Dacin T., Goodstein J. & Scott R. 2002. Institutional Theory and Institutional Change: Introduction to the Special Research Forum. Academy of Management Journal 45(1): 45-57.[Crossref]
  • DiMaggio, P. & Powell, W.W. 1983. The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields. American Sociological Review 48(4): 147-60.[Crossref]
  • Gomez-Mejia, L.R., Balkin, D.B. & Cardy, R.L. 2001. Managing Human Resources. 3rd ed. Prentice Hall.
  • Gooderham, P., Morley, M., Brewster, C. & Mayrhofer, W. 2004. Human Resource Management: A Universal Concept? In Human Resource Management in Europe: Evidence of Convergence? Edited by C. Brewster, W. Mayrhofer & M. Morley, 1-26. Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann.
  • Greenwood R. & Hinnings C. 1996. Understanding Radical Organizational Change: Bringing Together The Old and The New Institutionalism. Academy of Management Review 21(4): 1022-54.
  • Hampden-Turner, C. & Trompenaars', F. 1994. The Seven Cultures of Capitalism. London: Piatkus Books.
  • Hoffman, A. 1999. Institutional evolution and change: environmentalism and the U.S. chemical industry. Academy of Management Journal 42(4): 351-71.[Crossref]
  • Hofstede, G. 1980. Motivation, Leadership and Organization: do American Theories Apply Abroad. Organizational Dynamics, Summer: 42-46.
  • Hofstede, G. 1991. Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. London: McGraw-Hill.
  • Hofstede, G. 2001a. Culture's Consequences. Thousand Ouks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Hofstede, G. 2001b. Difference and Danger: Cultural Profiles of Nations and Limits to Tolerance. In International HRM: Managing Diversity in the Workplace edited by M. Albrecht, 9-23. London: Blackwell.
  • Hofstede, G. 2002. Images of Europe: Past, Present and Future. In Managing Across Cultures edited by M. Warner & P. Joynt, 93-103. Padstow: Thompson.
  • Holden, L. 2001. International human resource management. In Human Resource Management: a contemporary approach edited by I. Beardwell & L. Holden, 633-78. Third edition. Prentice Hall.
  • Kerr, C., Dunlop, J. T., Harbison, F. & Myers, C. A. 1960. Industrialism and Industrial Man. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
  • Kim, K., Park, H. & Suzuki, H. 1990. Reward Allocations in the United States, Japan, and Korea: a Comparison of Individualistic and Collectivistic Cultures. Academy of Management Journal 33(1): 188-98.[Crossref]
  • Koubek, J. & Brewster, C. 1995. Human resource management in turbulent times: HRM in the Czech Republic. The International Journal of Human Resource Management 6(2): 223-47.[Crossref]
  • Koubek, J. & Vatchkova, E. 2004. Bulgaria and Czech Republic: Countries in Transition. In Human Resource Management in Europe: Evidence of Convergence? Edited by Brewster, C., Mayrhofer, W. & Morley, M., 313-51. Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann.
  • Martin, R. & Cristescu-Martin, A. 2003. Employment relations in Central and Eastern Europe in 2002: towards EU accession. Industrial Relations Journal 34(5): 498-509.[Crossref]
  • Mayrhofer, W., Morley, M. & Brewster, C. 2004. Convergence, stasis, or divergence? In Human Resource Management in Europe: Evidence of Convergence? Edited by Brewster, C., Mayrhofer, W. & Morley, M., 415-36. Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann.
  • Meyer, J.W. & Rowan, B. 1977. Institutionalized Organizations: Formal Structure as Myth and Ceremony. American Journal of Sociology 83(2): 340-62.[Crossref]
  • Noe, R.A. 2002. Employee Training & Development. Second edition. McGraw-Hill.
  • Noe, R. A., Hollenbeck, J. R., Gerhart, B. & Wright, P. W. 2006. Human Resource Management: Gaining a Competitive Advantage. Fifth edition. Irwin: McGraw-Hill.
  • Prentice, G. 1990. Adapting management style for the organization of the future. Personnel Management 22(6): 58-62.
  • Ralston, D., Holt, D., Terpistra, R. & Kai-Cheng, Y. 1997. The Impact of National Culture and Economic Ideology on Managerial Work Values: A Study of the United States, Russia, Japan and China. Journal of International Business Studies 28(1): 177-207.[Crossref]
  • Ralston, D.A., Stepina, L. P., Kai-Cheng, Y., Fadil, P. & Terpstra, R. H. 1995. The Relevance of Equity Values in Eastern Cultures. In Whose Business Values? Edited by S. Stewart S. & G. Donleavy, 69-87. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
  • Rollinson, D. & Broadfield, A. 2002. Organisational Behaviour and Analysis. 2nd edition. Prentice Hall.
  • Schneider, S. & Barsoux, J. 1997. Managing Across Cultures. Hertfordshire: Prentice Hall Europe.
  • Schneider, S. C. 1992. National vs. Corporate Culture: Implications for Human Resource Management. In Globalizing management edited by V. Pucik, N. Tichy & C. Barnett, 32-45. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Schuler, R., Jackson, S., Jackofsky, E. & Slocum, J. 2001. Managing Human Resources in Mexico: A Cultural Understanding. In International HRM: Managing Diversity in the Workplace edited by M. Albrecht, 261-70. London: Blackwell.
  • Schuler, R. & Rogovsky, N. 1998. Understanding Compensation Practice Variations across Firms: The Impact of National Culture. Journal of International Business Studies 29(1):159-77.[Crossref]
  • Schuster, C. & Copeland, M. 1996. Cross-Cultural Communications: Issues and Implications. In International Business Negotiations edited by P. Ghauri & J. Usunier, 131-153. Oxford: Pergamon Books.
  • Schwartz, S.H. 1992. Universals in the Content and Structure of Values: Theoretical Advances and Empirical Tests in 20 Countries. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology 25: 1-65.
  • Schwartz, S. H. 1994. Beyond individualism/collectivism: New cultural dimensions of values. In Individualism and Collectivism: Theory, Method and Applications edited by U. Kim, H. C. Triandis, C. Kagitcibasi, S, C. Choi S.C. & G. Yoon, 85-119. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Sondergaard, M. 1994. Research Note: Hofstede's Consequences: A Study of Reviews, Citations and Replications. Organization Studies 15(3): 447-56.[Crossref]
  • Sparrow, P., Hiltrop, J. M. 1994. European Human Resource Management in Transition. Hemel, Hempstead: Prentice Hall.
  • Sparrow, P., Hiltrop, J. M. 1997. Redefining the Field of European Human Resource Management: A Battle between National Mindsets and Forces of Business Transition. Human Resource Management 36(2): 201-19.
  • Tayeb, M. 1994. Organizations and National Culture: Methodology Considered. Organization Studies 15(3): 429-46.[Crossref]
  • Tayeb, M. 1995. The competitive advantage of nations: the role of HRM and its socio-cultural context. The International Journal of Human Resource Management 6(3): 588-605.[Crossref]
  • Trompenaars', F. 1993. Riding the Waves of Culture. London: Nicholas Brealey.
  • Truss, C., Gratton, L., Hope-Hailey, V., Stiles, P. & Zaleska J. 2002. Paying the Piper: Choice and Constraint in Changing HR Functional Roles. Human Resource Management Journal 12(2): 39-63.[Crossref]
  • Tung, R. L. & Havlovic, S. J. 1996. Human resource management in transitional economies: the case of Poland and the Czech Republic. The International Journal of Human Resource Management 7(1): 1-19.[Crossref]
  • Usunier, J. 1996. The Role of Time in International Business Negotiations. In International Business Negotiations edited by P. Ghauri & J. Usunier, 153-173. Oxford: Pergamon Books.
  • Vertinsky, I., Tse, D., Wahrung, D. & Lee, K. 1990. Organizational Design and Management Norms: A Comparative Study of Managers' Perceptions in the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong and Canada. Journal of Management 16(4): 853-68.[Crossref]
  • Weinstein, M. 2001. Emergent Compensation Strategies in Post-Socialist Poland: Understanding the Cognitive Underpinnings of Management Practices in a Transition Economy. In Managing Organizational Change in Transitional Economies edited by D. Denison, 361-96. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Zupan, N. & Kaše, R. 2005. Strategic human resource management in European transition economies: building a conceptual model on the case of Slovenia. International Journal of Human Resource Management 16(6): 882-906.[Crossref]
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.