Management International Review

, Volume 50, Issue 5, pp 613–634 | Cite as

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
  • Olga Tregaskis
Research Article


  • 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 organisational conduits through which the diffusion of practices can occur are central to explaining variation between firms.


Multinational companies Diffusion Employment practices 



This paper draws on data from a large scale survey on Employment Relations in Multinationals in Organizational Context. The study was funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (award number RES-000-23-0305). The authors wish to acknowledge invaluable help with data analysis from Duncan Adam and Michael Muller, employed as research assistants on the project, and the helpful comments from two anonymous referees.


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Copyright information

© Gabler Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tony Edwards
    • 1
  • Paul Edwards
    • 2
  • Anthony Ferner
    • 3
  • Paul Marginson
    • 2
  • Olga Tregaskis
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Management, School of Social Science and Public PolicyKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Industrial Relations & Organizational Behavior Group, Warwick Business SchoolWarwick UniversityWarwickUK
  3. 3.Department of Human Resource Management, Leicester Business SchoolDe Montfort UniversityLeicesterUK

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