chapter  3
An empirical study of human resource management practices in family firms in China
ByYoungok Kim, Fei Yi Gao
Pages 25

A review of the literature has revealed that cultural, institutional and structural factors

affect human resource management (HRM) practices of firms. Size has been an enduring

structural determinant of HRM and its ‘formality’ (Bayo-Moriones and De Cerio 2001;

Aycan 2005; Kotey and Slade 2005). Large firms tend to introduce a more formal,

sophisticated, often costly HRM system because they have greater capacity and resources

to absorb its associated costs. The system also allows growing firms to provide

standardized practices and control their increasingly complex activities (Hendry, Jones,

Arthur and Pettigrew 1991; Klaas, McClendon and Gainey 1999). Likewise, national

culture and institutions in which a firm operates have been found to shape the firm’s HRM

(Jackson, Schuler and Rivero 1989; Zhu and Dowling 1994; Gooderham, Nordhaug and

Ringdal 1999; Von Glinow, Drost and Teagarden 2002; Wright, Szeto and Cheng 2002;

Chow 2004; Aycan 2005; Bjo


rkman, Fey and Park 2007; Warner 2009). Organizational

forms and practices are socially constructed and vary under different social contexts

(DiMaggio and Powell 1983; Zucker 1987; Scott 2001). Firms adopt HRM that is

consistent with the values, norms, regulations and rules of their society to gain legitimacy

and social acceptance.