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Hijacking the Holy Grail? Emerging HR practices in Croatia

Taylor, David W. and Walley, Elizabeth E. (2002) Hijacking the Holy Grail? Emerging HR practices in Croatia. European business review, 14 (4). pp. 294-303. ISSN 0955-534X

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Abstract

Transition by the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) from communism towards market economies has brought with it the introduction of Western management thinking. CEE since 1989 has been a kind of test-bed for human resource management (HRM) – the concept that people management practice is central to the strategic direction and potential competitive advantage of the firm. This paper draws on 21 diverse company case-study experiences in Croatia to review emerging HR practices and assess the relevance of Western management models. A matrix is designed, that categorises these organisations as "sleepers", "doers", "thinkers", "strivers" or "leaders", according to their strategic intent and their progress on policy implementation. The results suggest that subsidiaries of multinational corporations are leading the way towards HRM and other significant factors are industry sector and size of the company. There is evidence of "hijacking" of HRM amongst some Croatian companies by old style traditional forces to maintain the status quo. Young Croatian managers welcomed new HR progressive practices and identified with most of the philosophy of HRM, apart from suspicions associated with "mindset control" aspects that they saw underpinning HRM and associated with the previous regime.

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