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THE DEGREE OF DECENTRALIZATION AND INDIVIDUAL DECISION MAKING IN CENTRAL GOVERNMENT HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: A EUROPEAN COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE

Abstract This article reports a comparative study of human resource management (HRM) practices in Europe. We focus on the extent to which decision-making authority is decentralized, that is, passed down to management, and individualized in the sense of being in the discretion of a single decision maker. Using these two dimensions, this paper gives a picture of the distinct way HR decision-making practices are organized in Europe: although decentralization has been a common goal of modernization initiatives, we still find a rather high degree of centralization. Moreover, we find that decentralized decision making frequently goes hand in hand with a higher degree of shared decision making. In addition, we examine the influence of several cultural and institutional factors to address the question of embeddedness in more detail. Our results show that national culture, administrative traditions and institutional arrangements play an important role as explanatory factors for the organization of HR decision-making in Europe.


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