ABSTRACT

This chapter explores human resource management (HRM) practices of innovative Australian SMEs operating in China. With the support of key findings from data analysis of 35 interview transcripts, it is argued that Australian SMEs in China operate under two HRM systems with a focus on either commitment-oriented or collaboration-based HRM practices. Commitment-based HRM practices (i.e. high pay/salaries, reasonable benefits, flexible job design with work-life balance and volunteering program, training and career development and safety practices) were found to facilitate SME’s organisational, process and technological innovation, whilst collaboration-oriented HRM practices (i.e. broad job design, teamwork, employee empowerment, and group-incentives, learning with strategic partners and extensive network and personal relationship building) were found to be associated with SME’s product, market and technical innovation. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed, with a call for future research to use the conceptual framework developed from the current study and test the relationships between HRM and SME innovation.

This chapter explores human resource management (HRM) practices of innovative Australian SMEs operating in China. With the support of key findings from data analysis of 35 interview transcripts, it is argued that Australian SMEs in China operate under two HRM systems with a focus on either commitment-oriented or collaboration-based HRM practices. Commitment-based HRM practices (i.e. high pay/salaries, reasonable benefits, flexible job design with work-life balance and volunteering program, training and career development and safety practices) were found to facilitate SME’s organisational, process and technological innovation, whilst collaboration-oriented HRM practices (i.e. broad job design, teamwork, employee empowerment, and group-incentives, learning with strategic partners and extensive network and personal relationship building) were found to be associated with SME’s product, market and technical innovation. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed, with a call for future research to use the conceptual framework developed from the current study and test the relationships between HRM and SME innovation.