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Jacobo Ramirez

DBA Graduate - 2004

Thesis title

Technology, culture and HRM: a "Neo-contingency" anglo-french comparison

Supervisor(s)

Dominique Jolly
The objectives of this research is to provide a new perspective on how technology, culture and human resources management policies and practices (HRMPP) are approached by firms located in France and England. This thesis offers “neo-contingency” approach which analyzes both the contingency and the divergence theories. The contingency variable chosen in this study is technology. The divergence theory is specifically illustrated by the national education approach. The HRMPP studied are: recruitment and selection, organization, training and compensation. One hundred and sixty-three high-, mid- and low-tech firms answered a questionnaire which is analyzed along with 25 semi-structured interviews in eight firms located in both France and England. The technological aspect of the neo-contingency approach is validated in two factors: 1) technological profiles and 2) long term approach to training. The cultural aspect is notable in two cases: 1) long term approach to training and 2) compensation based on performance. A key implication of the findings in this thesis is that employees working in intensive technology firms are need a creative and adaptive HR management approach, which would better enable them to cope with the challenge presented by the business environment. The results reported by this thesis are illustrated by the strong influence of education systems on managers’ behavior. French firms seem to prefer higher levels of control and formalization in recruitment and selection, training and compensation than the UK, which could be interpreted as a reflection of the French educational system. It is important to highlight that the culture and technology factors cannot be the total “determinants” of organization. At most, they are important features that, along with others, “influence” organizations’ internal operation. Future “neo-contingency” studies using other organization characteristics as moderators and a large sample are needed in order to gain insights into the neo-contingency approach proposed in this thesis.