Transfer of Japanese Human Resource Management to US Subsidiaries: Resource Dependence Theory and Institutionalism


  • Hisako Matsuo, Ph.D. Department of Sociology, Saint Louis University St. Louis, MO. 63108, USA



Human Resource Management, Japanese Multinational Corporations, U.S. Subsidiaries, Transfer of Managerial Practices, Homogeneity of Management, Organizational Interdependence


Japanese corporations are characterized by distinctive management practices which have been nurtured in a culturally homogeneous environment. The transferability of these practices to foreign subsidiaries has been a subject of debate among management scholars. Drawing on resource dependence theory and institutionalism, this study examines the impact of homogeneity in management and parent company control on the degree of presence of Japanese human resource management (HRM) in U.S. subsidiaries. The study uses Walton and Lawrence’s classification (reward, selection and promotion, employee influence mechanism, and job design) to measure uniquely Japanese HRM and a sample survey of 138 U.S. subsidiaries of Japanese multinational corporations for data collection. A principal component analysis reveals that three dimensions of HRM (reward system, selection and promotion, and job design), rather than four, are salient among these establishments. An OLS regression analysis also reveals that the degree of homogeneity in management and parent company control has impact on the transfer of these dimensions of HRM. Some implications for future study are discussed.