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Commitment HR practices and employees’ organizational commitment : A comparative analysis between Korea, Japan, and China

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  • 조직몰입
  • 문화가치
  • 고성과 관리방식
  • Commitment Practices
  • Organizational Commitment
  • Cultural Values
  • Economics
  • Political Science


The existing studies on the commitment HR practices have supported the positive effects on firm performance, but most of these studies are bound at the company level analyses. Extending these assertions into individuals in countries other than the U.S., seems to be an interesting research agenda because comparative studies insist that employees’ attitudes and behaviors are largely influenced by their cultural values. This attempt requires a multi level frame of analysis of incorporating company level variables of HR practices and individual level variables of perceptions and attitudes. The current research examines effects of commitment HR practices on employees’ organizational commitment in Korea, Japan, and China. Consistent data are provided that HR practices in these countries are under fundamental changes; i.e., moving toward the so called Western style of management such as individual performance based management and short term employment. Despite these notable changes, empirical studies of examining their effects on employees’ attitudes at the workplace are very rare. Hypotheses were developed relying upon the existing assertions regarding culture bound and culture free facets. Two sets of hypotheses were developed on culture bound propositions. First, the effects of pay for performance, promotion for performance, and objective performance appraisal on organizational commitment will be bounded by the collectivism; i.e., the more collectivistic, the more negative effect on organizational commitment. Employment security policy, on the other hand, is supposed to enhance organizational commitment, bounded by the value of uncertainty avoidance; i.e., the more uncertainty avoidance, the more positive effect on organizational commitment of the employees. One hypothesis was developed on the culture free aspect; i.e., training will trigger a positive effect on organizational commitment in all the three countries. I collected data from 23 companies and 735 employees in the capital cities of the three countries (Seoul, Tokyo, and Peking) from June to December, 2004. I asked information regarding the HR practices to an experienced HR manager of each company, and asked individual data to about 40 individual employees sampled from each company. GLS was used to examine the research hypotheses. ANOVA shows that employees of the three countries show distinct cultural values; Korea and China are more collectivistic than Japan; in terms of uncertainty avoidance, Korea is ranked the highest, followed by China and Japan. Regarding the culture bound effects, all the hypotheses were not supported. The collectivistic Koreans responded more positively to promotions based on individual performance, while negative effects are detected more in less collectivistic Japanese and Chinese. Also, the effect of employment security on organizational commitment was found to be positive in Japanese employees with the least uncertainty avoidance value. On the other hand, the effect of training was found to be significant across in the countries, supporting the culture free hypothesis. These results, in general, show that the effects of the commitment practices on employees’ attitudes tend to vary between the three countries, but these differences are not effectively explained by their cultural values. Rather, the timing and mode of transformation may provide some insights; in China, the radical changes in the HRM are described as government initiated, which may mean that the values of the changes have not been yet well internalized among employees. These were captured by the negative reactions of Chinese employees to pay and promotion for individual performance. In Korea, the transformation has more than two decade of history, and is regarded as strategic reactions of companies to survive in the competitive markets. Therefore, Koreans reacted the most positively to the new practices such as pay and promotion for individual performance. Japan is reported to show the least degree of changes in their HR, and their traditional management practices are still found, especially at the highest degree of employment security policy. Japanese employees may be still used to their traditional way of doing, which induced negative reactions to individual pay for performance. The current research attempted but failed to explain these differences from the culture bound and culture free assumptions, and further research seems to be needed to explain the differences.

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