Coping Systems for Employee Turnover. A Case Study Research of Multinational Corporations in Singapore

Diploma Thesis, 2002

284 Pages, Grade: 1


Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

List of figures

List of Tables

1. Introduction
1.1 Human Resource Management in an International Context: Purpose and Scope of this Work
1.2 Outline and Structure of this Work

2. Case Study Research in Singapore: National Context, Research Methodology and Results
2.1 Relevant Factors of the Singaporean Context
2.1.1 Resource-related Characteristics
2.1.2 Institutional Characteristics
2.1.3 Cultural Characteristics
2.2 The Methodological Framework
2.2.1 Case Study Research as Approach to Qualitative Investigation
2.2.2 The Research Design
2.3 Approaching the Case Data: Results of the Study
2.3.1 Major Challenges and Issues in the Singaporean Context
2.3.2 Cross-Case Analysis of Variables and Relationships
2.4 Employee Turnover – A Holistic Perspective on the Findings from Singapore
2.5 Summary: Employee Turnover as a Key Concern at Multinational Corporations in Singapore

3 Employee Turnover at Multinational Corporations – An Assessment of Derived Variables and Relationships
3.1 Research in the Field of Employee Turnover: An Overview
3.2 Multinational Corporations as Key Players in the Global Arena
3.2.1 Multinationals in the Face of Multiple Organizational Environments
3.2.2 The Role of Regional Headquarters
3.3 Conceptual and Empirical Perspectives on Employee Turnover at Multinational Corporations
3.3.1 Evaluation of Contextual Variables
3.3.2 Evaluation of Firm-Specific Variables
3.4 Toward a Framework for Contextual and Organization-Level Determinants of Employee Turnover at Multinational Corporations
3.5 Summary: Multinational Corporations Have to Cope with Multiple Determinants of Employee Turnover

4 Managing Employee Turnover – An Analysis of Adequate Coping Systems for Multinational Corporations
4.1 The Function and Design of Organizational Coping Mechanisms in the Context of Employee Turnover
4.1.1 The Nature of Organizational Coping with Employee Turnover
4.1.2 A Typology of Turnover-Related Coping Mechanisms
4.1.3 Expanding the Scope: An International Perspective
4.2 Assessing Turnover-Oriented Coping Mechanisms at Multinational Corporations: The Impact of Country-of-Origin Effects
4.2.1 The Role of National Origin for Multinational Corporations
4.2.2 Implications for the Design of Turnover-Oriented Coping Strategies at Multinational Corporations
4.2.3 Limitations to Country-of-Origin Influences: The Issue of Transferring Human Resource Practices Across Cultures
4.3 Tackling Employee Turnover through International Staffing and Expatriation Policies
4.3.1 The Role and Design of International Staffing Systems
4.3.2 The Impact of Expatriation Policies on Host Country Nationals’ Attachment to Multinational Corporations
4.3.3 Components of Expatriation-Related Coping Mechanisms for Employee Turnover at Multinational Corporations
4.4 A Comprehensive Coping System for Employee Turnover at Multinational Corporations
4.5 Summary: Multinationals’ Effective Management of Turnover Is Subject to Diverse Influences and Coping Strategies

5 Conclusion



Table of Contents

Appendix 1: Questionnaire for the Case Study Interviews

Appendix 2: Interview at a French Speciality Chemical MNC

Appendix 3: Interview at a German Chemical and Pharmaceutical MNC

Appendix 6: Interview at a US Medical Technology MNC

Appendix 7: Second Interview at a German Chemical and Pharmaceutical MNC

List of Abbreviations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

List of figures

Figure 1: A Roadmap for Inductive Case Study Research

Figure 2: Assessment of Employee Turnover Through a Categorization of Case Data

Figure 3: Proposed Influences of Contextual Variables on Employee Turnover

Figure 4: Proposed Influences of Heterogeneity and Size on Employee Turnover

Figure 5: Proposed Influence of Nature of Products on Employee Turnover

Figure 6: Proposed Influence of Employee Participation on Employee Turnover

Figure 7: Proposed Influence of Country Origin on Employee Turnover

Figure 8: Proposed Influences of Expatriation Policies on Employee Turnover

Figure 9: A Proposed Framework for Employee Turnover at MNCs

Figure 10: A Refined Framework for Employee Turnover at MNCs

Figure 11: Organizational Coping with Turnover at MNCs as Crucial Activity

Figure 12: A Typology of Coping Mechanisms

Figure 13: An Expatriation-Related Coping System for Employee Turnover at MNCs

Figure 14: A Comprehensive Coping System for Employee Turnover at MNCs

List of Tables

Table 1: Questionnaire for the Case Study Interviews

Table 2: Case Company Profiles

Table 3: Key Context-Related Challenges for HRM at MNCs in Singapore

Table 4: Heterogeneity of Case Companies


As business activities become increasingly global and cross-nationally intertwined, human resource management is no longer defined by national boundaries. In particular, multinational corporations (MNCs) face the challenge of managing their globally dispersed work force effectively. Yet, the field of international human resource management (IHRM) remains an understudied domain, lacking substantial empirical and conceptual research. Also, a prevailing focus on quantitative data suggests a need for deeper qualitative investigations, which allows a more profound assessment of the context in which IHRM unfolds.

By addressing IHRM at MNCs, the current empirical work contributes additional scientific insights into this domain. In this respect, the author has selected an approach of inductive comparative case study research, mainly based on qualitative data, that enables the generation of theory through an iterative, data-driven process. This method has been applied to investigate IHRM because it is particularly fruitful when examining new and narrowly developed scientific fields as well as considering contextual conditions.

Thus, a multiple case study was conducted through exploratory and semi-structured interviews with managerial employees at six western MNCs which maintain their regional headquarters for South-East Asia in Singapore. The initial guiding objective was to provide a more thorough understanding of the forces that influence IHRM. Due to the exploratory nature of the research set-up, this broad focus has narrowed during the conduct of the study and the subsequent data analysis. Based on the interviews, employee turnover emerged as a key concern for international organizations operating in Singapore. Although a tight local labour market has led to the effect that job turnover is a widespread phenomenon, there is a lack of research addressing this issue and the resulting implications for foreign MNCs.

The present study’s focus on employee turnover also takes into account the growing importance of local staff for MNCs. Indeed, by acknowledging the critical role that local nationals play at the host country level, it will be increasingly imperative for international organizations to establish effective retention strategies. Despite this obvious significance, the field of managing employee turnover also remains considerably underdeveloped.

Building on the results of the conducted multiple case study, the purpose of this work is to fill the described research void and generate well-grounded theory in a process that is twofold. First, the text aims at providing an in-depth analysis of potential determinants of employee turnover at international organizations. In the second step, these factors will serve as a basis for developing effective coping mechanisms in the context of IHRM at MNCs.

1. Introduction

1.1 Human Resource Management in an International Context: Purpose and Scope of this Work

As business activities become increasingly global and cross-nationally intertwined, human resource management (HRM) is no longer defined by national boundaries. In particular, internationally operating organizations, commonly labelled ‘multinational corporations’[1](MNCs), face the challenge of designing their HRM systems in a way that permits to effectively manage their global work force being dispersed across different culturally and institutionally distinct environments.[2]Besides, it is noticeable that emerging and developing countries become ever more important by providing attractive market opportunities. Yet, by entering these new markets, MNCs frequently encounter an unprecedented cultural, social and economic gap which is difficult to bridge.[3]In this regard, the growing diversity renders an MNC’s task to balance the conflicting needs of global integration as well as local responsiveness much more complicated.[4]

This reasoning indicates that international human resource management[5](IHRM) adds new and more complex dimensions to the scope of domestic HRM.[6]Accordingly, the above-stated developments have contributed to an enhanced focus on IHRM, mainly along three distinct lines of inquiry. A first and early approach addressed cross-cultural management issues, a second area has centred on comparative HRM research and a third field has examined HRM in MNCs, with a principal interest in the transfer of employees and management practices across national boundaries. In addition to these mainly micro-level analyses, researchers have increasingly concentrated on the strategic nature of IHRM which resulted in the emergence of the field of strategic international human resource management[7](SIHRM).[8]

In spite of this growing attention, IHRM remains an understudied domain. In fact, there is still limited empirical and conceptual knowledge for developing more encompassing and well-grounded theories. Also, the focus of existing investigations on quantitative data suggests a need for deeper qualitative research, allowing a more profound assessment of the context in which IHRM unfolds.[9]

Building on these notions, the current empirical work aims at contributing additional scientific insights into this domain by explicitly addressing IHRM at MNCs. In this respect, the author has selected an approach of inductive comparative case study research, mainly based on qualitative data, that permits to generate valid and well-grounded theory through an iterative, data-driven process. This method has been applied to investigate IHRM because it is deemed particularly fruitful when examining new and narrowly developed scientific fields as well as considering contextual conditions.[10]

Accordingly, the author has conducted a multiple case study based on exploratory and mostly unstructured interviews with managerial employees at six western MNCs which maintain their regional headquarters (RHQ) for the South-East Asian region in Singapore. Due to its small size, its resource scarcity and a predominance of foreign MNCs, Singapore is intimately tied up with the global economy and hence serves as a suitable environment to study IHRM.[11]Besides, since Singapore can be characterized as an emerging, that is, newly industrialized economy[12], the selection of the research setting takes into account the above-stated notion of a growing importance of these countries for MNC management in general and IHRM in particular.

The initial guiding objective for the present study was to provide a more thorough understanding of the forces that influence IHRM, especially the design and cross-national diffusion of human resource (HR) policies and practices, in respect to an MNC unit which is embedded in a specific national context. Due to the exploratory nature of the research set-up, this broad focus has narrowed during the conduct of the study and the subsequent data analysis. Indeed, based on the interviews with members of the six MNCs, employee turnover[13]emerged as a key concern for international organizations operating in Singapore. Although a tight local labour market has led to the effect that job turnover is a widespread phenomenon, there is a paucity of research addressing this issue and resulting implications for foreign MNCs.[14]Likewise, the general scope of studies on employee turnover tends to be confined to the domestic level, thereby neglecting additional challenges that arise in a multinational perspective.[15]

The present study’s ensuing focus on employee turnover takes into account the growing importance of local staff for MNCs.[16]Indeed, by acknowledging the critical role that local nationals play at the host country level, it will be increasingly imperative for these companies to establish effective coping strategies concerning the phenomenon of turnover in order to retain their valuable employees. Despite this obvious significance, not only for international but also for domestic organizations, the field of managing employee turnover also remains considerably underdeveloped.[17]

By building on the results of the multiple case study conducted at western MNCs in Singapore, the purpose of this work is to fill the described research void and advance scientific knowledge by generating theory in a process that is twofold. First, the text aims at providing an in-depth analysis of potential determinants of employee turnover at international organizations. In the second step, these factors will serve as a basis for shedding more light on the issue of dealing with job turnover. More specifically, the author intends to develop systems of coping mechanisms being effective in the context of IHRM at MNCs.

1.2 Outline and Structure of this Work

The text is organized to reflect the logic of inductive case study research, that is, to build on the collected data in order to derive variables and relationships which, in turn, act as a foundation for the subsequent refinement and theory-building.[18]

Hence, Chapter 2 covers the empirical part of the work. First, it gives a brief illustration of the national context in which the research was conducted. Second, the methodological procedure is set out, focusing on the scope of qualitative case study research in general and, specifically, on the basic elements of the present case study’s research design. Finally, the data are examined. In particular, the importance of employee turnover as a critical issue for MNCs in Singapore is laid out, thus providing a sharpened focus of research for the following sections. Along these lines, several variables and proposed relationships are derived and then integrated into a suggestive framework.

Chapter 3 addresses the case study results in an approach that is threefold. The first part reviews the extensive body of research in the field of employee turnover and highlights the most relevant findings. Concentrating on the units of analysis, the subsequent paragraphs explore the prominence of MNCs and the role of RHQs. In the chapter’s main part, the emergent variables and relationships are linked with existing literature whereby the previously derived framework and the stated propositions are refined, offering a set of multiple factors in respect to employee turnover at MNCs.

Based on the multitude of turnover-related variables, Chapter 4 outlines systems for managing employee turnover at international organizations. The first section delineates the nature of organizational coping with job turnover and derives generic coping strategies. Subsequently, the focus is shifted to MNCs in particular and two approaches to coping mechanisms in an international context are explored. Thus, Chapter 4.2 examines country-of-origin effects on the selection of coping strategies whereas the ensuing section assesses the design of retention-oriented expatriation policies. The results are then integrated into a comprehensive coping system for employee turnover at MNCs.

Chapter 5 finally pulls the various messages and results of the text together and concludes with an outlook for future research.

2. Case Study Research in Singapore: National Context, Research Methodology and Results

2.1 Relevant Factors of the Singaporean Context

2.1.1 Resource-related Characteristics

Case study research must consider that each singular case is placed within a specific, multidimensional context distinguishing the particular units of analysis from those located in other settings. Thus, a key prerequisite for this type of empirical investigation is the description of its context in order to clarify the limits for both data analysis and interpretation.[19]With regard to this study the relevant contextual scope is the national level since the investigation was conducted at western MNCs operating in Singapore.[20]

The national context can be viewed as the comprehensive environment that provides the distinct setting for a nation and thereby influences individual as well as organizational interactions and behaviour. It comprises not only the national culture and ideology but also institutional factors such as social, political, regulatory and economic characteristics as well as the country’s resource pool.[21]Therefore, this section will give a brief illustration of resource-related properties of the Singaporean context before reflecting upon institutional and cultural attributes.

The resource pool of a country refers to its factor conditions and covers all available resources. The various factors can be classified into several groups including human, physical, knowledge and capital resources as well as the country’s infrastructure.[22]

When exploring the state of Singapore’s resources, the country’s conditions such as size and home demand have to be taken into account. Being a small country Singapore depends to a large extent on international trade.[23]Thus, to achieve international competitiveness, the Singapore government has primarily targeted MNCs and foreign investment, fostering the country’s attractiveness through various tax inducements, stable political conditions as well as a peaceful labour-management environment. This strategy resulted in a considerable inflow of foreign capital as well as a predominance of MNCs.[24]Besides, additional financial incentives have prompted many MNCs to set up a base for managing their regional activities from Singapore.[25]

However, Singapore’s remarkable and enduring economic success during the last decades is to a substantial part due to its skilled and educated labour force. Due to its lack of natural resources the country has to rely heavily upon its human capital.[26]In fact, the wide array of government initiatives in the educational system as well as the use of English as a working language have facilitated the attraction of MNCs and foreign capital.[27]Also, the government actively promotes the creation of knowledge work as well as local R&D facilities in order to move to high-value-added manufacturing and services industries, thereby positioning itself against lower-cost neighbours and simultaneously reducing its dependence on foreign MNCs.[28]

Despite the strong focus on the quality of its manpower, Singapore has to deal with considerable labour shortage which results in the need for employing both foreign unskilled labour as well as expatriate personnel. Indeed, foreign workers are over-represented at the upper and lower end of the skill hierarchy. Singapore thus depends to a large extent on regional and international labour inflows.[29]

Another factor advantage of the country refers to its strategic geographical location as well as its fine infrastructure including the transportation system and the wide use of advanced information technology.[30]

To summarize, Singapore’s stable socio-political conditions, the quality of its work force, the extensive financial inducements, its excellent infrastructure and its strategic location have served as strong incentives for MNCs as well as foreign capital and continue to be the crucial resources sustaining Singapore’s international competitiveness.[31]

2.1.2 Institutional Characteristics

A nation’s institutional factors exert a strong influence on individuals and organizations by helping to define the behaviours and practices that are to be adopted in order to legitimately interact in society. The process that prompts organizations to create compatibility with their environment is called organizational isomorphism.[32]

In the case of Singapore isomorphic pressures are to a substantial part determined by the strong role of the government. Indeed, the state intervenes considerably in many parts of the country’s economy and identifies the direction for economic development. In doing so, it aims at maintaining a positive business climate by providing social and physical infrastructure as well as a stable and peaceful labour-management environment.[33]

The government impact implies extensive planning in the labour market. A key element has been the tripartite relationship of government, trade unions and employers in terms of industrial relations and wage policies. Through the creation of the National Trade Union Congress and the National Wages Council the government intends to influence the general wage level as well as labour-management relations.[34]As a consequence, Singaporean unions have become increasingly marginal.[35]

In addition to the National Wages Council, the government regulates wages through the administration of the Central Provident Fund (CPF) which provides for the workers’ retirement and medical needs. The compulsory contributions by employees and employers alike have varied significantly over the years, enabling a high degree of wage flexibility in respect to the overall economic situation.[36]Besides, the regulatory framework generates substantial labour flexibility by giving employers extensive autonomy with regard to several staffing issues such as retrenchment and dismissal.[37]

Apart from the CPF there is a limited scope of social security in terms of public assistance and unemployment insurance because of the emphasis on individual and family responsibilities. Hence, unlike many other industrialized countries, the welfare system is much more constrained, implying a comparably lower share of social security contributions by the corporate sector.[38]

A crucial problem concerning the Singaporean labour market is the persistent labour shortage. The country’s small population combined with demographic changes as well as economic prosperity have caused low unemployment rates and scarcity in the labour supply, resulting in a constantly tight labour market.[39]A consequence of the abundant employment opportunities is an excessive employee turnover rate in Singapore which is enhanced through a job-hopping mentality among a large part of the work force in search of better pay. These labour market conditions have significantly increased the bargaining power of employees in terms of wage levels, working conditions and employment fringe benefits.[40]

However, there are other factors of the institutional framework facilitating job turnover. In fact, the above-mentioned CPF scheme contributes indirectly to employee turnover because job changes do not affect individual CPF accounts. Rather, the accounts are continued by the respective new employer. Moreover, the high turnover discourages many employers from investing in training. Simultaneously, the government offers a wide range of vocational education and training programmes for employees, ensuring constant skill-upgrading. This increases the employability in the external labour market and leads to the effect that employees lay much emphasis on self-marketing and active search for alternative job opportunities which match their newly adopted skills.[41]Acknowledging the negative implications of this labour mobility, the government initiated numerous programmes to reduce turnover, yet with only modest success.[42]

Above all, the institutional framework in Singapore is characterized by a strong and proactive, employer-oriented government that provides the corporate sector with substantial flexibility.[43]Despite turnover-related constraints, both resource and institutional characteristics are thus to a large extent facilitators of the country’s attractiveness for foreign investment.

2.1.3 Cultural Characteristics

Institutional and cultural characteristics are deeply intertwined since cultural norms and values have a strong impact on shaping the institutional framework.[44]

In order to clarify the scope of the following remarks, culture shall be defined as “the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one human group from another”[45]. In this respect, national culture refers to the nation’s citizens. Yet, there are different levels of culture. Business culture, for instance, encompasses all norms, values and beliefs that are related to the way of doing business.[46]

Shifting the perspective to the present context, Singapore can be described as a very heterogeneous and multicultural nation with Chinese, Malays, Indians and further minorities living side by side in considerable racial harmony. On account of Singapore’s colonial past European influences are also perceptible.[47]Despite this abundance of different cultural sources, Singaporean culture reflects to a large extent elements of Chinese culture due to Chinese predominance among the country’s population. Consequently, Confucianism plays a vital role in the cultural context of Singapore.[48]

An integral part of Confucian ideology is a type of collectivism that is family-based. It is believed that the family is the most important unit providing insurance and support. Apart from family loyalty a further collectivistic feature is the value of placing society before the self. Additional core values include a high regard for education, frugality and money-mindedness as well as filial piety which involves a strong sense of hierarchical order and respect for senior people.[49]

This vertical order is enhanced through political paternalism already depicted in the previous chapter. Considerable state control over the local media and the lack of political opposition, among others, contribute to the effect that the citizens are highly dependent on the government in terms of numerous services and resources.[50]

The fact that many Singaporeans have experienced hardship during the early days of nationhood further illustrates the prominence of continuous education and training as well as earning money. Indeed, education and training are considered to increase one’s value in the workplace and protect the individual against a recurrence of poverty. This phenomenon is also reflected in a dedication to hard work, strong career commitment as well as status-consciousness.[51]

Another approach to describe prevailing cultural attributes in Singapore is Hofstede’s cross-cultural research which supports several of the above-mentioned patterns. Based on a survey of work-related values and attitudes in over 60 countries, he identified five dimensions for classifying national cultural differences: individualism-collectivism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity-femininity and long-term/short-term orientation.[52]In this respect, Singapore can be characterized by a low degree of individualism, signalling integration of people in strong and cohesive ingroups[53]as well as intense interdependence among individuals in this society, and large power distance which reflects a high approval of hierarchical and unequal distribution of power. Likewise, the country possesses a very low level of uncertainty avoidance, displaying a strong acceptance of ambiguity, and a medium rank in masculinity, thereby indicating a moderate focus on assertiveness, achievement and material success. Finally, with regard to long-term orientation which represents values such as persistence and thrift, Singapore reveals a medium degree.[54]

Due to the rapid economic development and social change during the last decades, South-East Asian countries, particularly Singapore, have been increasingly exposed to Western values and attributes such as materialism, hedonism and individualism. One outcome has been an increase in social inequalities and income disparities. In order to restrict Western influences, the government felt it necessary to actively promote Confucian values. Still, in ethnically diverse societies like Singapore the resulting gradual exposure to different norms and values leads to a cultural blend.[55]More recent studies, for instance, have found Singaporeans to be considerably individualistic in respect to their work life.[56]However, as Triandis argues, individualism-collectivism constructs are situation-specific which would explain the coexistence of individualistic work attitudes and collectivistic family values.[57]Above all, it has to be considered that Hofstede’s conceptualization has several limitations in terms of dichotomous, overlapping and oversimplified dimensions as well as lacking timeliness of the data.[58]

Another cultural attribute in Singapore is the syndrome of ‘kia su’ which is an expression in Hokkien dialect and refers to a fear of failure. In conjunction with Confucian notions of a vertical societal order and the importance of protecting one’s face the propensity to take on responsibilities or to accept risk seems to be substantially hindered.[59]In this respect, Hofstede’s findings that reveal a disproportionate low uncertainty avoidance appear surprising.[60]There are, however, other factors that partially offset these constraints, such as money-mindedness, career commitment and the inclination to entrepreneurship.[61]Hence, the issue seems to be more complex, yet, an in-depth discussion is beyond the scope of this text.[62]

The preceding statements illustrate how multiple cultural elements interrelate to form what is perceived to be the cultural context in Singapore. These cultural attributes have to be considered when assessing culturally tinged empirical data. Keeping the characteristics of the Singaporean context in mind, the focus will now be shifted toward outlining the case study methodology.

2.2 The Methodological Framework

2.2.1 Case Study Research as Approach to Qualitative Investigation

Qualitative research can be regarded as a complement to quantitative methods of investigation by helping to understand the nature of the respective unit of analysis, that is, its quality.[63]The data are collected through observations, interviews or documents and primarily gain relevance through the meaning the units of analysis or respondents attach to them.[64]Yet, the applicability of qualitative research is much more comprehensive: The profound link between the collected data and the phenomenon of study as well as the richness of the data allow a consideration of context-specific factors, complex patterns and even causal relationships. Thus, qualitative research can serve as a valuable means to discover and generate theory that is deeply grounded in empirical reality.[65]

Glaser and Strauss contend that a developed theory only fits with the underlying phenomenon when the former emerges out of the latter. In this regard, they speak of a grounded theory. Hence, a strength of inductive theory-building lies in its aim to explain actual data rather than being merely derived from logical assumptions based on extant literature and common sense. This results in an enduring character of extracted theory.[66]

According to this reasoning, researchers must refrain from producing hypotheses or focusing on any theoretical model before conducting actual research. Instead, inductive research implies an exploratory approach whereby hypotheses are derived from the collected data and are continuously refined through an iterative process, thereby generating testable and valid theory. This is a central difference to hypothesis-testing research.[67]

Along these lines, the case study approach is an adequate strategy of investigation. This method explores a phenomenon which is embedded in its context and is thus particularly fruitful when contextual factors are to be considered. Moreover, this strategy is especially beneficial in newly or narrowly investigated scientific fields. Also, it enables the researcher to gain an insight into the inherent dynamics and causal relationships.[68]

Case study research can comprise different designs. In the present context a multiple, i.e. comparative, technique has certain advantages since it permits an examination of data from several cases as well as a cross-case assessment of inferences drawn from a single case, thereby strengthening the resultant theory.[69]Building on these insights, Eisenhardt suggests a roadmap for generating theory from case study research.[70]This approach, which is visualized in Figure 1, will be presented in the following paragraphs. Concomitantly, it outlines the logic of the subsequent chapters of this work.

The first step refers to the definition of a research question. The identification of a general research focus is crucial since it provides a rough direction and enables the researcher to systematically collect data. Yet, it is the flexibility of the research question that permits the investigator to remain receptive to new themes. In addition, it is useful to specify potentially relevant constructs which can reinforce the empirical grounding of the derived theory when their significance is confirmed in the course of the study.[71]

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Figure 1: A Roadmap for Inductive Case Study Research

Source: Adapted from Eisenhardt (1989), p. 533.

A second phase comprises the selection of adequate cases as well as methods of data collection. This process bounds the study, clarifies the scope for generalizing its findings and reduces the volume of data. Choosing cases for theory-building research is mainly based on theoretical, i.e. not random, sampling with the purpose of selecting cases that are expected to replicate or broaden the resultant theory. Also, the deliberate choice of cases reduces deviations that result from diverging characteristics. As for the sample size, the researcher should aim for a number between four and ten cases. Moreover, the use of multiple sources of evidence is advisable to enhance the findings’ validity and to provide rich data. This does not exclude the use of quantitative data.[72]

The next stage manifests the actual conduct of research. Here, a constant reflection and refinement of the research question plays an important role. Besides, the emergence of new aspects may require the researcher to modify the focus or the data collection. The subsequent analysis of within-case data helps to familiarize with the evidence and to deal with the huge quantity of information. Simultaneously, it leads the way for comparing the various cases in order to derive cross-case patterns from where possible variables and relationships emerge. Techniques include coding and categorizing data or juxtaposing single cases in order to extract differences and similarities.[73]

This analysis then enables the researcher to form propositions. Here, it is imperative that the resulting themes are continuously contrasted with each set of case data in order to ensure a tight link with the evidence and to develop a well-grounded theory. In fact, this procedure is important since it helps to avoid drawing premature inferences. The extremely iterative process not only leads to a refinement of the a priori specified constructs but may also produce new variables and relationships. Furthermore, it permits to explore theoretical explanations of the emergent relationships between variables. Thus, the procedure of analysing data and shaping propositions is highly interdependent, thereby incrementally sharpening the propositions. At this point, it is crucial to approach existing literature. Comparing the derived variables and relationships with both conflicting as well as similar findings contributes to a further refinement and is an important step toward increasing internal validity and the generalizability of the resultant theory. Finally, closure is reached when additional insight and refinement is considered to be marginal. This allows an assessment of the final product of the investigation.[74]

Given these general remarks, the subsequent sections will illustrate the design of the conducted multiple case study in terms of research questions, units of analysis as well as data collection.

2.2.2 The Research Design Purpose and Research Questions of the Study

A review of existing literature in the field of IHRM shows evidence of an increased interest in this domain.[75]As a result, the intensified research has contributed to the development of various models of IHRM or SIHRM at MNCs.[76]These frameworks contain a variety of variables and display similarities by emphasizing the need for a certain degree of consistency of HRM systems across the MNCs’ different units, by examining inherent dynamics and recognizing the prominence of contextual influences on IHRM outcomes.[77]The latter aspect is often specified by addressing IHRM matters with regard to the internal context of an organization comprising, for example, strategy and structure issues and concerning the complex external context.[78]

Other publications concentrate on a micro-level perspective by considering certain HR practices and exploring their transferability across different units and, particularly, across countries. Alternatively, practices at companies in different countries are compared with each other. In their research, these scholars discuss, among other aspects, the role of country-of-origin effects concerning the selection and specification of HR policies and practices, providing substantial support to the notion that an MNC’s country origin may influence the behaviour of its subsidiaries in other national contexts.[79]

Despite the variety of the stated contributions, IHRM remains a field in its infancy, thus demanding further, especially more profound, conceptual work.[80]Therefore, the purpose of the conducted study was to explore variables that affect IHRM at MNCs, whereby environmental conditions were intended to be deliberately covered. In doing so, the author meant to discover relevant new fields of inquiry and contribute to the development of new theoretical insights. Building on these objectives as well as the remarks in the previous section, inductive multiple case study research in conjunction with a highly exploratory interview method was deemed the most adequate approach.

These considerations were then converted into a set of initial research questions which served as a foundation for the study:

1. Which factors influence the design of HR policies and practices at units of MNCs being embedded in a specific national, i.e. Singaporean, context?

2. How and why do these factors affect the design?

3. What are the implications for the overall IHRM system at the particular MNCs and for the transferability of HR policies and practices across units?

Based on the review of the above-mentioned conceptual and empirical work in the field of IHRM and SIHRM, three themes were extracted that were considered to be important for the conduct of the comparative case study. These encompass basic characteristics of MNCs, particularly structural and strategic aspects, the specification and design of HR policies and practices at the subsidiary level and, lastly, the role of external contextual factors which MNCs face in the specific Singapore setting. Subsequently, these three pillars were operationalized in respective areas of inquiry presented in Table 1.81

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Table 1: Questionnaire for the Case Study Interviews Source: Author

Due to adopting an only moderately structured approach for the interviews (cf. Section, this questionnaire served as a guideline rather than a rigid catalogue. Before depicting the data collection in particular, the next part will define the units of analysis on which research is based. Selected Case Companies

The specification of initial research questions is important since it leads to the selection of adequate cases, thereby ensuring a proper assessment of the field of inquiry.[82]Consequently, six cases were chosen that meet the requirements of the research problem. The applied selection criteria and basic company characteristics are described below.

Since the study deals with IHRM at MNCs, the author selected these organizations as units of analysis, acknowledging the multitude of national as well as international environments in which they operate.[83]With regard to the Singaporean context the analysis of MNCs was deemed particularly beneficial due to their predominance and thus economic and socio-political impact (cf. Chapter 2.1.1).

Besides, the selection of case companies was restricted to those MNCs that manage their activities in South-East Asia through a RHQ in Singapore. On the one hand, this aspect extends the specific local Singapore perspective, thereby highlighting the growing relevance of the Asia-Pacific region. On the other hand, it was considered to be a fruitful approach in order to get a better understanding of the factors shaping organizational practices, since RHQs are concerned with the active management and coordination of crucial activities across a region and concomitantly serve as a link between the region and the corporate headquarters (HQ).[84]

Moreover, all cases are successful companies in terms of positive annual growth of revenues and net income, on average, during the last years.[85]By this, the author intended to restrict variations in IHRM activities due to sizeable performance differences.

Building on the construct of country-of-origin effects which was brought up in the previous section, the cases were chosen to partially differ from each other in terms of their nationality. In fact, of the six case companies one is French, three are German and two are from the US. Besides, the choice of cases from diverse home countries helps to weaken a bias resulting from a strong research focus on North American companies.[86]

Regarding the type of industry the selected cases can be divided into two categories: First, three case companies operate in the chemical industry, with one also involved in the pharmaceutical industry. This clustering permits an assessment of factors resulting from an embeddedness in a particular industry. Second, companies from other industries were added – a medical technology company, an MNC from the financial services sector and a package distribution firm – thereby extending the scope of potential variables. Also, in this way MNCs from both the manufacturing as well as the services sector are included.

In order to introduce a transparent yet neutral encoding of cases, an identification key was chosen that displays both the case’s country origin as well as its type of industry. Table 2 documents the profiles and identification keys of the respective cases.[87]

Having specified the units of analysis, the next step involves the description of the utilized data sources as well as methods of gathering evidence at the selected companies.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Table 2: Case Company Profiles

Source: Compiled by the author Data Collection

As the primary means of collecting qualitative data an open-ended and mostly unstructured interview technique was selected.[88]Acknowledging the fact that only rich evidence can provide a fertile ground for data-driven theory-building, a special focus was placed on using narratives. By employing this approach, the interviewer does not present standardized questions but rather encourages the interviewee to freely respond and contribute to the topic. This enables the researcher to identify and understand complex behaviours and relationships without inflicting any a priori classifications that could restrict the field of investigation. Also, this technique is especially adequate for an exploratory study since it facilitates the discovery of relevant new issues.[89]

The current study does not follow this concept entirely since the author developed a questionnaire which was considered to foster systematic data collection as well as a proper assessment of the research problem. Yet, the questionnaire was intended to merely function as a mental guideline which made it possible to supplement these themes with questions that seemed fruitful to pursue during the course of the interview.

The conduct of the study showed that some of the interviewees did not provide enough in-depth information initially. This required that issues presented in the above questionnaire had to be addressed more explicitly. As a result, the narratives technique was complemented by a more focused interview method in order to allow for different responses to the originally selected approach.[90]

Each case company is represented by one interview except for German Chemical/Pharma where two interviews were scheduled and carried out. The interviews had an average duration of 95 minutes and were conducted around the turn of the year 2002. The participants all worked in the HR departments and, apart from two HR manager posts, held a senior position at the respective MNC. In addition, the interviewees are of different nationalities, thereby revealing a mixture of parent country nationals (PCNs), host country nationals (HCNs) and third country nationals (TCNs)[91]: While the interviewees of the German MNCs were all German-speaking (two Germans and one Swiss[92]) the respondent at French Chemical was a HCN. US Package was represented through a Taiwanese TCN whereas at US Medical, the only case with two participants, an Argentinean and a Singaporean were questioned.

Accordingly, the interviews were conducted in German and English respectively. Still, due to the broad range of nationalities, not all respondents could be interviewed in their native tongue. As a result, the participants differed in their language skills. Likewise, as mentioned above, the interviewees produced different volumes of information. Particularly the German respondents provided rich descriptions whereas the Asian interviewees were more reticent.[93]One explanation for these variations may be the fact that the author’s cultural distance to the German speaking participants is much lower than to the others, thereby facilitating communication.[94]Moreover, the fact that some respondents did not speak in their mother tongue may also have resulted in sparse comments.

To document the interviews and ensure as much data utilization as possible, a tape recorder was employed during the interview sessions. Subsequently, the recorded conversations were transcribed.[95]Due to the constraints stemming from different levels of language skills, an interpretation of linguistic issues is not intended in the study. Thus, the emphasis of the transcription was primarily laid on the contents.[96]Besides, field notes were written down during the interviews in order to register immediate impressions.

In addition to the interviews, other information such as annual reports and the company websites as well as some quantitative data were examined.[97]In doing so, the author aimed at reaping advantages that spring from the use of multiple sources of evidence: The use of complementary data allows an exploration of additional aspects and serves as a means of data triangulation, thus neutralizing possible mistakes or misunderstandings inherent in a single research method and increasing the finding’s validity.[98]

The preceding sections gave an overview on the design of the conducted case study. With all the basic elements having been set out, the next part will embark on the results of the empirical investigation.

2.3 Approaching the Case Data: Results of the Study

2.3.1 Major Challenges and Issues in the Singaporean Context

The qualitative and exploratory nature of the conducted case study implies a further specification of the research focus in the course of the investigation.[99]In this respect, environmental conditions were deliberately covered, not only to address the initial research questions but also as a means of detecting relevant issues that are deemed fruitful to concentrate on. Thus, this section examines the case data with the aim of deriving a more confined research focus.

In order to assess the influence of external contextual conditions on the case companies, one focus during the interviews centred on principal Singaporean challenges regarding business activities in general and HRM in particular. Table 3 gives an overview on the matters concerning HRM that were conveyed by the interviewees.[100]

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Table 3: Key Context-Related Challenges for HRM at MNCs in Singapore

Source: Compiled by the author

The first two challenges were replicated through a major part of the interviews, thereby indicating a strong significance for HRM in the Singaporean context.

The respondents link the challenge of attracting and retaining employees mainly to an extensive job-hopping behaviour of Singaporean employees.[101]Although it is difficult to distinguish between voluntary and involuntary departures in some cases[102], it follows from the respondents’ statements that most case companies face a sizeable extent of dysfunctional employee turnover. This complicates the recruitment and selection of employees, increases recruitment and retraining costs and impedes staff retention.

With regard to the expatriation of local managers, a challenge arises because Singaporeans are perceived to be considerably immobile in terms of overseas assignments. Respondents attribute this phenomenon to the relatively high standard of living, to Singaporeans’ concerns for the education of their children as well as to substantial family-related and financial obligations.[103]However, it has to be considered that this immobility is not comprehensive. Rather, the propensity to relocate also depends on the destination and is especially low concerning the most immediate neighbouring countries, due to lower overall standards of living, a lack of social and physical infrastructure and the fact that Chinese only represent a minority in these countries.[104]

Since it can be assumed that the matter of expatriation, comprising locals’ international assignments, the share of foreign expatriates as well as the mutual understanding of both groups, directly affects employees’ organizational attachment and embeddedness, it may be significantly associated with job turnover. Likewise, another issue appears to be related to staff turnover: It can be argued that high employee expectations imply a strong likelihood of disappointment which may increase the inclination to leave.

Challenges arising from an increasing business shift to China will not be addressed in the study as this would require the consideration of political and macro-economic factors that reach beyond the corporate context. Concerning the relationship between local employees and the HR department, this matter mainly stems from the fact that HR is often considered to be merely an administrative function in Singapore.[105]

In summary, employee turnover unfolds as a complex issue at MNCs because it seems to be related to a wide range of factors. Thus, it serves as a fertile field of inquiry to be explored. This includes, for instance, an examination of the finding that the respondent of German Services is the only interviewee who does not consider turnover to be a problem in Singapore.[106]Here, it will be interesting to assess the factors that lead to this estimation.

Building on these considerations, the research focus has to be specified. Indeed, the phenomenon of job turnover in the Singaporean context may affect the design of HR policies and practices at the local MNC unit. Thus, it will be necessary to examine potential turnover determinants as well as the way HRM deals with these issues.

Having singled out employee turnover as a crucial topic for western MNCs in Singapore, a closer look at the case data is needed in order to provide a detailed description of this matter and assess impacts. This will be the scope of the next chapters.

2.3.2 Cross-Case Analysis of Variables and Relationships Categorization of Case Data

The preceding data analysis led to an identification of principal contextual challenges as well as some tentative patterns that provided the ground for specifying the research focus. The next step therefore involves a detailed cross-case analysis of the six cases in order to substantiate the resulting theme of employee turnover and to derive relevant variables as well as relationships. Based on a within-case examination, different categories can be identified that allow the author to validate emerging cross-case patterns as well as investigate similarities and differences between the companies. In this respect, the categories can be broadly divided into firm-specific or endogenous variables, being related to particular MNC characteristics, and exogenous or context-specific variables.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 2: Assessment of Employee Turnover Through a Categorization of Case Data

Source: Author

The illustration above compiles the respective categories, thereby outlining the logic of the following sections which will explore these facets in detail. Influence of Contextual Variables

As mentioned before, there are a number of characteristics in the Singaporean context that facilitate excessive employee mobility. Consequently, in examining variables that may influence job turnover at MNCs, it seems to be a fruitful starting point to focus on context-related features. An analysis of the various interview data shows that there are, indeed, several contextual factors that may be linked to turnover.

First, the case data reveal that the economic situation may affect the dimension of turnover. The recent recession[107]in Singapore is considered to have eased problems of employee mobility since the labour market is less tight.[108]In this respect, the interviewee at German Chemical explains that the lack of unemployment insurance requires Singaporeans to find a new job before withdrawing from their current employer. Yet, an economic slowdown reduces the amount of available jobs, thus helping to bind employees to the company during these times.[109]There are quantitative data indicating the suggested relationship at French Chemical and German Chemical/Pharma: The turnover rates at these MNCs have substantially decreased during the recession year of 2001.[110]

Moreover, the data indicate that foreign MNCs have a relatively lower concern for job turnover compared to indigenous firms. MNCs generally provide compensation and fringe benefits which meet international standards and offer further advantages such as a central office location and a well-equipped workplace.[111]As a result, it may be easier for those companies to attract and retain employees.[112]Besides, other respondents, particularly at the German MNCs, stress that their companies are perceived to be very appealing due to a high level of job security whereas US but also local firms are viewed as using lay-offs more frequently during economic uncertainties.[113]This implies that employees are more likely to remain employed during recessions, an aspect that could lead workers to refrain from leaving the respective organization. In fact, the respondent at German Services remarks that provided security and permanence are essential for Chinese who place great importance on longer-term relationships and certainty.[114]Yet, these cultural traits would seem to be opposed to excessive job-hopping behaviour.

Hence, there might be other attributes that affect job turnover. Financial aspects are considered to play a crucial role in Singapore since many respondents emphasize the materialistic character of Singaporean society. The HCN at US Medical, for instance, observes: “We talk about the five Cs in Singapore: cash, cars, credit card, condominium and country club.”[115]Likewise, the respondent at German Chemical/Pharma stresses that it is quite common among local employees to quit their job even when an alternative employment yields only marginal extra payments.[116]

The prominence of financial incentives not only lends support to the earlier notion that MNCs can attract and retain employees more easily than local firms, it may also lead to high expectations in terms of compensation and benefits. Indeed, bonuses are often expected to be paid regardless of individual or corporate performance.[117]Yet, high expectations are not confined to financial aspects but also refer to training and career development issues.[118]As argued in Chapter 2.3.1, disappointed expectations may result in departure. Taking a closer look at Singaporeans’ career orientation which was highlighted by several respondents[119], the findings indicate that this phenomenon might, in fact, facilitate turnover in terms of unavailable or unfulfilled advancement opportunities. At US Medical, for example, the flat structure reduces possibilities of hierarchical promotion which may generate turnover if employees cannot advance as expected.[120]

Finally, several respondents deem Singaporean society considerably status-conscious.[121]Again, this might corroborate the earlier finding that MNCs deal with relatively lower turnover problems: On the one hand, the above-mentioned discovery that MNCs offer a variety of benefits and advantages which exceed local standards may build up an individual’ personal status. On the other hand, MNCs might enjoy a high reputation due to the government’s strong emphasis on attracting foreign firms.[122]A high prestige may also stem from the fact that Singapore is seen to be relatively westernized.[123]Hence, working for a western multinational may earn a person significant status in society and might thus act as a stronger incentive to remain at the respective company.

The previous paragraphs derived various exogenous variables that appear to influence resignation behaviour of local employees. This leads to the following proposition:

Proposition 1: Employee turnover at MNCs is affected by several contextual variables, namely the economic situation, the attractiveness of MNCs for local employees as well as cultural characteristics, whereby the latter either impact directly on turnover or indirectly through MNCs’ attractiveness.

Figure 3 summarizes the assumed effects.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 3: Proposed Influences of Contextual Variables on Employee Turnover

Source: Author


[1] Cf. Ghoshal/Westney (1993), p. 1.

[2] Cf. Rosenzweig/Singh (1991), p. 340; Dowling et al. (1999), p. 1; Adler (2002), pp. 3 et seqq.

[3] Cf. Napier/Vu (1998), pp. 40 et seqq.; Harvey et al. (2001), p. 901; Novicevic/Harvey (2001), pp. 336 et seqq.

[4] Cf. Doz/Prahalad (1986/1992), pp. 126 et seqq.; Kamoche (1997), pp. 231 et seq.

[5] In the context of this work, an MNC’s IHRM system shall be defined as “the set of distinct activities, functions, and processes that are directed at attracting, developing, and maintaining an MNC’s human resources [and thus as] the aggregate of the various HRM systems used to manage people in the MNC.” Taylor et al. (1996), p. 960.

[6] Cf. Dowling et al. (1999), pp. 4 et seqq.

[7] SIHRM can be clarified as “human resource management issues, functions, and policies and practices that result from the strategic activities of multinational enterprises and that impact the international concerns and goals of those enterprises.” Taylor et al. (1996), p. 961.

[8] Cf. De Cieri/Dowling (1999), p. 306. See also Dowling (1999), p. 28; Clark et al. (1999), p. 8.

[9] Cf. Laurent (1986/1992), p. 174; Welch (1994), p. 140; Clark et al. (1999), pp. 11 et seqq.; Weber et al. (2001), p. 309. See also Jackson/Schuler (1995), pp. 253 et seqq.; Ferner (1997), p. 22.

[10] Cf. Eisenhardt (1989), pp. 532 et seqq. and 548; Yin (1994), pp. 13 and 38 et seqq.

[11] Cf. Wan (1996), p. 77; Hsieh/Tseng (2002), p. 511.

[12] Cf. Islam/Chowdhury (1997), p. 199; Novicevic/Harvey (2001), p. 336.

[13] Employee turnover refers to individuals’ permanent termination of membership in an organization. Cf. Mobley (1982), p. 10. The terms ‘employee’, ‘job’ and ‘staff’ turnover are used synonymously in this work.

[14] Cf. Lawrence (1996), p. 120; Khatri et al. (1999), pp. 3 et seq.

[15] Cf. Maertz/Campion (1998), p. 69.

[16] Cf. Bae et al. (1998), p. 654; Harvey et al. (1999), pp. 460 et seqq.

[17] Cf. Maertz/Campion (1998), p. 74; Price (1999), p. 394.

[18] Cf. Eisenhardt (1989), pp. 532 et seqq.

[19] Cf. Yin (1994), pp. 24 et seq.; Stake (2000), pp. 441 et seq. See also Section 2.2.1.

[20] However, one has to consider that MNCs operate in multiple environments which reach beyond national boundaries. Cf. Chapter 3.2.1.

[21] Cf. Li (1993), pp. 57 et seqq.; Rosenstein/Rasheed (1993), p. 80; Cullen (2002), p. 464.

[22] Cf. Porter (1990), pp. 74 et seq.; Cullen (2002), pp. 466 et seq.

[23] Cf. Begin (1997), p. 244.

[24] Cf. Deyo (1989), p. 23; Begin (1997), pp. 240 et seq.; Islam/Chowdhury (1997), p. 203.

[25] Cf. Wu (1991), pp. 112 et seqq. This development has helped Singapore to enhance the long-term commitment of foreign MNCs although the growing economic impact of neighbouring countries may lead to yet other uncertainties. Cf. Begin (1997), p. 242; Foo/Hall (1997), p. 739.

[26] Cf. Sisodia (1992), p. 40; Wan (1996), pp. 77 et seq.; Begin (1997), p. 241.

[27] Cf. Yuen/Yeo (1995), p. 243; Begin (1995), p. 71; Foo/Hall (1997), p. 738. For an overview and an assessment of the various government programmes such as the Skills Development Fund see also Wan (1996), pp. 81 et seqq.; Debrah et al. (2000), pp. 324 et seq.

[28] Cf. Sisodia (1992), p. 45; Wan (1996), p. 89; Begin (1997), p. 240; Hsieh/Tseng (2002), pp. 515 et seq.

[29] Cf. Pang (1988), pp. 215 et seq.; Pang (1993), pp. 48 et seqq.; Alten (1995), pp. 149 et seqq. However, the inflow of unskilled labour has been increasingly regulated and constrained during the last two decades. Cf. Alten (1995), pp. 151 et seq.; Tan/Torrington (1998), pp. 471 et seq.

[30] Cf. Sisodia (1992), pp. 40 and 44; Begin (1997), pp. 239 et seq.

[31] Cf. Mirza (1988), p. 87; Hsieh/Tseng (2002), p. 518.

[32] Cf. Zucker (1987), pp. 443 et seqq.; Cullen (2002), pp. 465 et seq. See also Meyer/Rowan (1977), p. 346. DiMaggio/Powell (1991), pp. 67 et seqq. identify three types of isomorphism.

[33] Cf. Mirza (1986), pp. 49 et seqq.; Latham/Napier (1989), p. 191; Rodan (2001), p. 164; Hsieh/Tseng (2002), pp. 515 et seq.

[34] Cf. Yuen/Yeo (1995), pp. 246 et seq.; Begin (1995), pp. 64 et seq.; Cheah (1997), pp. 97 et seqq.

[35] Cf. Alten (1995), pp. 143 et seq.; Begin (1997); p. 253.

[36] Cf. Alten (1995), pp. 148 et seq.; Tan (1996), pp. 281 et seqq.; Hsieh/Tseng (2002), pp. 510 et seq. Consequently, local and foreign firms enjoy high financial flexibility. Cf. Begin (1997), p. 310.

[37] Cf. Begin (1997), pp. 249 et seq.; Barnard/Rodgers (2000), pp. 1027 et seq.

[38] Cf. Begin (1995), p. 79; Alten (1995), pp. 90 et seqq.; Hsieh/Tseng (2002), p. 510.

[39] Cf. Tan/Torrington (1998), p. 75; Barnard/Rodgers (2000), p. 1027.

[40] Cf. National Productivity Board (1988), p. 11; Lawrence (1996), p. 120; Cheah (1997), p. 115. The turnover rate is considerably higher than in other Asian countries. Cf. Ministry of Manpower (2000), pp. 9 et seq.

[41] Cf. Barnard/Rodgers (2000), pp. 1028 et seqq. This outcome is fostered through poaching practices by many employers in Singapore. Cf. Chew (1996), p. 108.

[42] Cf. Begin (1997), pp. 255 et seq. and 312 et seq.; Cheah (1997), pp. 115 et seqq.

[43] Cf. Begin, (1997), p. 245; Barnard/Rodgers (2000), p. 1027.

[44] Cf. Cullen (2002), p. 465.

[45] Hofstede (1980), p. 25. Thus, each group shares a common set of values, norms and beliefs. Cf. Schneider (1988/1991), p. 503.

[46] Cf. Cullen (2002), pp. 48 et seqq.

[47] Cf. Latham/Napier (1989), p. 174; Islam/Chowdhury (1997), pp. 194 et seqq.; Harper (1997), pp. 261 et seqq.

[48] Cf. Redding (1993), p. 24. This is especially true for the Singaporean business culture. Cf. Cullen (2002), p. 49.

[49] Cf. Hofstede/Bond (1988), p. 8; Redding (1993), pp. 43-78; Islam/Chowdhury (1997), p. 194.

[50] Cf. Sisodia (1992), pp. 45 et seq.; Rodan (2001), p. 164; N.A. (2001), p. 60.

[51] Cf. Latham/Napier (1989), pp. 188 and 195; Redding (1993), pp. 69 et seq.; Rodan (2001), p. 141.

[52] Cf. Hofstede (1980), pp. 54 et seqq.; Hofstede (1983), pp. 78 et seqq.; Hofstede/Bond (1988), pp. 9 et seqq.; Hofstede (1992), pp. 142 et seqq.

[53] Ingroups are groups of individuals whose members display similarities and a sense of common destiny. Cf. Triandis, p. 9.

[54] Cf. Hofstede (1980), p. 315; Hofstede/Bond (1988), pp. 13 and 17; Hofstede (1991), pp. 164 et seqq.; Hofstede (1998), pp. 11 et seqq. For an overview on South-East Asian countries see also Tan/Torrington (1998), pp. 22 et seqq.

[55] Cf. McCord (1991), pp. 57 et seqq.; Tan/Torrington (1998), p. 24; Rodan (2001), pp. 161 et seqq.

[56] Cf. Latham/Napier (1989), p. 187; Chew et al. (1998), pp. 61 et seqq.

[57] Cf. Triandis (1995), pp. 87 et seqq.

[58] Cf. Mead (1998), pp. 41 et seq.; Noordin et al. (2002), pp. 50 et seq.

[59] Cf. Latham/Napier (1989), p. 194; Shaw et al. (1989), p. 353; Redding (1993), pp. 62 et seqq.

[60] However, as Hofstede (1992), p. 150 notes, this dimension was not identified by Chinese researchers and therefore may not be a good indicator for assessing Eastern cultures.

[61] Cf. Latham/Napier (1989), p. 188; Redding (1993), p. 202; Chew et al. (1998), p. 159.

[62] For a detailed treatment see e.g. Redding (1993). This aspect will be given some more attention during the discussion of the case study results in Chapters 2.3.2 and 3.3.

[63] Cf. Mayring (2002), pp. 9 and 19.

[64] Cf. Miles/Huberman (1994), pp. 9 et seq.; Charmaz (2000), p. 514.

[65] Cf. Miles/Huberman (1994), p. 10; Glaser/Strauss (1998), pp. 12 et seqq.; Charmaz (2000), pp. 509 et seqq.

[66] Cf. Glaser/Strauss (1998), pp. 14 et seq. and 39; see also Eisenhardt (1989), p. 532.

[67] Cf. Eisenhardt (1989), pp. 532 and 536; Charmaz (2000), p. 509.

[68] Cf. Eisenhardt (1989), pp. 532 et seqq.; Yin (1994), p. 13.

[69] Cf. Yin (1994), pp. 38 et seqq.

[70] Cf. Eisenhardt (1989).

[71] Cf. Eisenhardt (1989), p. 536.

[72] Cf. Eisenhardt (1989), pp. 536 et seqq.; Miles/Huberman (1994), pp. 10 et seq.; Glaser/Strauss (1998), pp. 53 et seqq.; Stake (2000), p. 436. For a detailed discussion of data collection methods see Yin (1994), pp. 78 et seqq. and Mayring (2002), pp. 65 et seqq.

[73] Cf. Eisenhardt (1989), pp. 538 et seqq. See also Charmaz (2000), pp. 514 et seqq.

[74] Cf. Eisenhardt (1989), pp. 541 et seqq.

[75] Cf. Welch (1994a), p. 139; Weber et al. (2001), p. 309.

[76] Cf. Milliman et al. (1991); Rosenzweig/Singh (1991); Schuler et al. (1993); Welch (1994a); Taylor et al. (1996); De Cieri/Dowling (1999).

[77] Cf. Napier/Vu (1998), p. 48.

[78] Cf. Schuler et al. (1993), pp. 738 et seqq.; Welch (1994a), pp. 150 et seqq.; Jackson/Schuler (1995), pp. 244 et seqq.; De Cieri/Dowling (1999), pp. 317 et seqq.

[79] Cf. Rosenzweig/Nohria (1994); Easterby-Smith et al. (1995); Bae et al. (1998); Ngo et al. (1998).

[80] Cf. Laurent (1986/1992), p. 174; Welch (1994a), p. 140; Clark et al. (1999), pp. 11 et seqq.; Weber et al. (2001), p. 309.

[81] Cf. QI for a detailed version of the questionnaire.

[82] Cf. Yin (1994), p. 23; Stake (2000), pp. 446 et seq.

[83] Cf. Rosenzweig/Singh (1991), pp. 340 et seqq.

[84] Cf. Lasserre (1996), p. 31; Schütte (1996), pp. 28 et seq.

[85] Cf. the respective annual reports of the case companies.

[86] Cf. Adler (2002), p. 14; Napier/Vu (1998), p. 48; Clark et al. (1999), pp. 13 et seqq.

[87] Cf. the respective annual reports and websites; FRA-Chem, pp. 1 et seq.; GER-ChemPhar1, p. 1; GERChem, pp. 3 and 16; GER-Serv, pp. 1, 4 et seqq. and 12; US-Pack, pp. 1 et seq.

[88] Cf. Yin (1994), pp. 84 et seqq.; Fontana/Frey (2000), pp. 652 et seqq.; Mayring (2002), pp. 66 et seq.

[89] Cf. Mayring (2002), pp. 72 et seqq.

[90] For a comparison of the two methods cf. Yin (1994), pp. 84 et seq.; Mayring (2002), pp. 67 et seqq.

[91] International management positions can be either filled by managers from the MNC’s parent, i.e. home country, by local workers from the country that hosts the respective foreign subsidiary or by managers from yet another country. Cf. Phatak (1992), pp. 163 et seqq.; Cullen (2002), pp. 428 et seq.

[92] Yet, the Swiss respondent was employed on a local contract, thus being considered as a HCN. Cf. GER-Chem, p. 5.

[93] Cf. the respective transcriptions in the appendix.

[94] Cf. Dülfer (1992), pp. 1207 et seqq. Cultural distance refers to the degree of dissimilarity between

cultures in terms of fundamental values, beliefs and attitudes. Cf. Cullen (2002), p. 218.

[95] The detailed transcriptions can be found in the appendix.

[96] Hence, the phrasing was partially smoothed. Cf. Mayring (2002), pp. 85 et seqq.

[97] See appendix for a comprehensive list of data sources.

[98] Cf. Eisenhardt (1989), pp. 537 et seqq.; Yin (1994), pp. 90 et seqq.; Stake (2000), pp. 443 et seq.

[99] Cf. Eisenhardt (1989), pp. 538 et seq.; Charmaz (2000), p. 522.

[100] Cf. FRA-Chem, pp. 9 et seq.; GER-ChemPhar1, pp. 17 et seq.; GER-Chem, p. 20; GER-Serv, pp. 12 et seq.; US-Med, pp. 12 et seq.; US-Pack, p. 14.

[101] Cf. FRA-Chem, pp. 9 et seq.; GER-ChemPhar1, pp. 5 and 17; GER-Chem, pp. 6 and 20; US-Med, pp. 12 et seq.; US-Pack, pp. 5 and 14.

[102] As the respondent at German Chemical/Pharma notes, employees sometimes quit of their own accord to avoid loss of face when realizing that they are going to be dismissed. Cf. GER-ChemPhar2, p. 18.

[103] Cf. FRA-Chem, p. 10; GER-Chem, p. 14.

[104] Cf. GER-ChemPhar1, p. 7; GER-Chem, p. 13; US-Med, p. 6; GER-ChemPhar2, p. 21.

[105] Cf. GER-Chem, pp. 1 and 20.

[106] Cf. GER-Serv, p. 8.

[107] Cf. Hoffritz (2002), p. 24.

[108] Cf. FRA-Chem, p. 4; GER-ChemPhar1, p. 5; GER-Serv, p. 8.

[109] Cf. GER-Chem, p. 6.

[110] Cf. FRA-Chem, p. 5; GER-ChemPhartr.

[111] Cf. FRA-Chem, pp. 6 et seq.; GER-Serv, pp. 8 and 14; US-Pack, p. 10.

[112] However, the fact that only successful MNCs were examined may weaken the relevance of the stated relationship by suggesting that it is the favourable corporate performance that leads to more attractive staff bonuses and thus reduces employee turnover.

[113] Cf. GER-Chem, p. 7; GER-ChemPhar1, pp. 7 et seq.; GER-Serv, p. 8; GER-ChemPhar2, p. 17.

[114] Cf. GER-Serv, p. 14.

[115] US-Med, pp. 13 et seq. See also GER-Chem, pp. 6 and 18; GER-ChemPhar2, p. 17.

[116] Cf. GER-ChemPhar1, p. 6. See also GER-Chem, p. 6.

[117] Cf. GER-Chem, pp. 17 et seq.; GER-Serv, p. 5.

[118] Cf. GER-Serv, p. 13.

[119] Cf. GER-Chem, pp. 8 and 14 et seq.; US-Med, p. 7; GER-ChemPhar2, p. 16; US-Pack, p. 5.

[120] Cf. US-Med, pp. 12 et seq.

[121] Cf. GER-ChemPhar1, p. 12; GER-Chem, p. 9; GER-Serv, p. 7; US-Med, p. 13.

[122] Cf. FRA-Chem, p. 2.

[123] Cf. GER-Serv, pp. 13 et seq.; US-Pack, p. 14.

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Coping Systems for Employee Turnover. A Case Study Research of Multinational Corporations in Singapore
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