The influence of employee cultural orientation on the relationship between strategic human resource management practices and the performance of large foreign multinational manufacturing organizations in Kenya.
Dimba, Beatrice Akang'o
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The purpose of this study was to establish the relationship between strategic human resource management (SHRM) practices, cultural orientations, the age of the firm, employee motivation and firm performance in large foreign multinational manufacturing companies in Kenya. The following five specific objectives were addressed by the study: establish the relationship between SHRM practices and firm performance; determine the extent to which the relationship between SHRM practices and employees’ motivation depends on employees’ cultural orientations; determine if the relationship between SHRM practices and employees’ motivation is dependent on the age of the firm; establish if the relationship between SHRM practices and firm pertbrmance is mediated by motivation; gauge the relationship between employees’ motivation and firm performance. A conceptual framework was developed to link SHRM practices, cultural orientations, the age of the firm, employees’ motivation and firm performance in large foreign multinational manufacturing companies in Kenya. The respondents were HR managers, marketing managers and production managers, and non-management employees working in 50 foreign multinational companies (MNCs) which are members of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM). The data were collected using questionnaires developed by Hofstede (1980a) and Huselid (1995) and modified by the researcher. Hofstede’s instrument contains measures of employee cultural values and cultural beliefs found in the workplace, whereas Huselid’s instrument contains measures for SHRM practices, motivation and performance. The questions presented to the respondents captured all the study variables: SHRM practices, cultural orientations, firm age, motivation and performance. The interview method was used to contextualize research findings and to explore issues of interest in greater detail with a view to adding qualitative value to the data obtained using questionnaires. The major findings of the study were: (1) all the variables of SHRM practices except recruitment and selection were positively and significantly correlated with performance (range r 0 to r 0.4); (2) the relationship between SHRM practices and motivation did not depend on employee cultural orientations in the case where cultural beliefs (R2 = 40%) were considered, but depended on employee cultural orientations as measured by cultural values (R2 = 30%); (3) the relationship between SHRM practices and motivation depended on the age of a firm (R2 = 30%); (4(i)) motivation mediated the relationship between SHRM practices and firm performance (R2 = 30%); and (4) motivation had an effect on firm performance (R2= 10%). The study concluded that the applicability of Western models of SHRM practices in MNCs in Kenya needs further investigation. It also supports the notion that cultural orientations affect the relationship between SHRM practices and employee motivation, and hence, firm performance. Consequently, the study recommends that: (1) further research be carried out to establish the applicability of models of SHRM practices formulated in the Western nations in developing countries; (2) future researchers use longitudinal research design to obtain more interesting and revealing results of cultural orientations. Major findings and conclusions of the study are discussed in view of their implications for managerial policy and practices and future research.