Journal of International Business Studies

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 304–321

Institutional theory and the cross-national transfer of employment policy: the case of ‘workforce diversity’ in US multinationals



This paper uses a comparative institutionalist approach combined with a power/interests perspective to examine the processes whereby diversity policy is ‘internationalised’ by US multinational companies. It argues that the process of policy transfer to UK subsidiaries is complicated by incomplete and contested ‘institutionalisation’ of diversity within the US itself, and by differing conceptions of diversity between the US and the UK. The ability of actors within the UK subsidiaries to mobilise and deploy specific power resources allows them to resist the full implementation of corporate diversity policy, leading to a range of compromise accommodations. It is argued that the findings have more general implications for analysing the transfer of HR practices between national business systems.


US multinationals international HRM employee diversity policy transfer institutionalism 

Copyright information

© Academy of International Business 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Resource ManagementLeicester Business School, De Montfort UniversityUK

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