Human Resource Management and Sector Analysis in Emerging Countries. A Comparative Study of Automotive Subsidiaries Operating in Latin America

Cecilia Senén, Redi Gomis, Bárbara Medwid


Purpose - The purpose is to compare the human resource management strategies of MNCs in the automotive sector from two countries: Argentina and Mexico. The leading questions for research were a) Do multinational companies employ different HRM strategies toward workers and union representatives across different countries? b) Do HRM practices in similar sectors tend to converge in these host countries? and c) Do American companies apply similar HRM practices in the automotive sector regardless of the characteristics of those countries in which they are implemented?

Design/methodology/approach - The data used was provided by the Survey of Multinationals (SMNs) carried out in Argentina and Mexico within the remit of INTREPID international research project. Interviews were conducted in 38 companies in Mexico and 19 in Argentina. In Mexico those companies employed 180,864 workers while in Argentina they registered 34,900 employees.

Findings - Differences in HRM strategies were confirmed but not in the way expected. On the one hand, the sector is a relevant variable. There are convergences in HRM practices in automotive sector across different countries, regardless of variations in the institutional frameworks.

Originality/value - The sectoral analysis has allowed us to contrast the theoretical debates proposed. There is a significant lack of knowledge regarding management practice in international automotive firms in Latin America. Additionally, the research contributes to the debate on the comparative labour relations in Latin America.

Paper Type - Research paper

Keywords: HRM, Emerging Countries, Automotive Subsidiaries, Latin America.