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How much does job autonomy vary across countries and other extra-organizational contexts?

van Hoorn, Andre (2016): How much does job autonomy vary across countries and other extra-organizational contexts? Forthcoming in: International Journal of Human Resource Management (2016)

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This paper integrates the study of contextual influences on job autonomy as a key workplace practice with the growing literature on intra-country variation (ICV) versus between-country variation (BCV) in international HRM. While contexts such as industry or country are widely recognized to affect workplace practices such as job autonomy, the influences of different extra-organizational contexts are seldom examined simultaneously or their relative influence systematically compared. Similarly, while much research considers the importance of BCV vis-à-vis ICV in international HRM, little attention is paid to variation that occurs between sub-national or supranational contexts. To move forward on both these counts, we use multilevel analysis and empirically assess the comparative importance of industry as a sub-national context and politico-institutional clusters as a supranational context in addition to country context as sources of differences in job autonomy. Results indicate that inter-cluster variation can be substantially larger than inter-country variation, but that inter-industry dissimilarities tend to exceed both inter-cluster and inter-country dissimilarities. Hence, the main finding of our analysis is that dissimilarities in job autonomy associated with crossing country borders are not exceptionally large as employers and employees face larger dissimilarities in job autonomy when they move across industries. Implications of this finding both for international HRM and for international business and cross-cultural management more broadly are discussed.

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