Five-star hotels of a multinational enterprise in countries of the transitional periphery: A case study in human resource management

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Serafini, G. O.
Szamosi, L. T.
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The paper examines the application of human resource management (HRM) practices by a Multinational Enterprise (MNE) whose operations extend from unexplored post-Soviet countries’ transitional periphery economies to advanced economies. By involving hotels of a global luxury US chain in Azerbaijan (Caucasus) and Kyrgyzstan (Central Asia), this in-depth case study focuses on the labour-intensive hospitality industry which, although being relatively neglected by mainstream research, is among the first movers in new markets through the setting of business infrastructure and then leisure tourism. Through Whitley's dimensions of employer–employee interdependence and employee delegation, comparisons highlighted few differences between properties operating in the particular transitional periphery economies and those in a developed country (Germany) owned by the same chain. On the basis of corroboration obtained through a multiple case study methodology, dissimilarities identified were in terms of the flexibility of employment, outsourcing and dismissal procedures; however, despite socio-economic differences across nations, it is argued that luxury hospitality MNEs are able to maintain an overall uniform implementation of HRM policies and practices regardless of locale through a “geocentric” approach as illustrated by Perlmutter (1969) in his seminal work.