Exploration of the influence of social position on HRM adoption: a case of HRM in Pakistan
Channa, Khalil Ahmed
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This thesis explores human resource management (HRM) adoption by investigating the influence of multiple HRM actors’ social position, capital resource(s) exchange mechanism, dispositions, social classes, habitus, social expectation, and national and global environmental factors. The objectives of this thesis were achieved through systematically conducting three different studies for the thesis. The first study was carried out to gain insight into the influence of social position on HRM academics’ adoption. The major contribution of this study was a theorising model on HRM academics’ adoption. It shows which capital resource is very sought after and how it plays a role in developing HRM academics’ dispositions, which in turn provides them with the drive and motivation to adopt western HRM ideas and knowledge. The second study was carried out to gain insight into the mechanism and formation of capital resource(s) exchange that influences HRM practitioners to adopt western HRM ideas, knowledge, and practices. The main contribution of this study comprised empirical insights into the importance and role of social class (élite and emerging class); habitus and socialisation (primary and secondary socialisation) as developers and controllers of the mechanism of capital resource(s) exchange; and formation of social position. The third study investigated a gap between accepted (adopted) HRM ideas and knowledge, and actual HRM practices. The major contribution of this study was its theorising on the factors that influence this gap. It explored the influences of conflicting factors such as actors’ professional and occupational orientation and position, social position, and social expectation, which develop the gap. This thesis adopted a qualitative abductive research approach. It conducted qualitative indepth interviews with 19 HRM academics, 15 MBA-Alumni HRM practitioners, and 10 non-MBA-Alumni HRM practitioners. Qualitative observation in two business schools and five business organisations in multiple industries was carried out to enrich the data collection. This thesis contributes to the existing body of knowledge by providing insights into individual actors’ level HRM adoption, which is an underexplored area in Pakistan and similar developing countries. By employing theoretical and analytical tools based on Bourdieu’s theory of practices and social position, Rogers’s and Tarde’s theorising of adoption, and findings of empirical studies of macro institutions, cultural sensitive views, and institutional factors’ framework in the diffusion of HRM, this thesis explored, examined, and theorised HRM adoption at different individual actors’ level in business organisations and business schools in Pakistan. In that respect, this thesis theoretically contributes to Bourdieu’s theory and its unique use in international HRM, organisation studies, and management research. This thesis empirically contributes to the understanding of management and think tanks in business schools, business organisations, educators, HRM practitioners, and relevant government and regulatory bodies who can benefit from the findings of this research by understanding the different factors and social structures affecting western HRM’s effectiveness and its applications. It also suggests to these stakeholders the factors that affect individuals’ and employees’ adoption of western HRM and western management ideas, knowledge, and practices; any change in strategies, policies, and procedures; and problems in their implementation.