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HRM in Chile: the impact of organisational culture

Rodriguez, J. and Gomez, C. (2009) HRM in Chile: the impact of organisational culture. Employee Relations, 31 (3). pp. 276-294. ISSN 0142-5455

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Abstract

Purpose: This paper provides insight on the influence of organisational culture on HRM practices in Chile by exploring shared meanings (basic assumptions and beliefs) and organisational models that can be identified from activities, dynamics, social relationships and behaviours. Design/methodology/approach: The paper is based on research conducted in Chile where a combination of self-completion questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and non-participant observation was carried out in a non-probabilistic sample of 46 organisations. Findings: Findings suggest that there is a shared definition of work characterised by five elements; namely, the existence of great work pressure exerted by managers; a sustained focus of upper levels on organisational efficiency as an isolated element that does not include HRM; the inexistence of worker autonomy and empowerment; the use of administrative jargon and understandings of loyalty, dedication, compliance and professionalism as desired qualities in workers. The paper argues that there are three distinct categories of cultural discourse in Chilean organisations: pessimistic/fatalistic, optimistic/maniac and pragmatic/bureaucratic. Research limitations/implications: Due to the type of sampling used, findings cannot be taken to represent the whole of Chilean organisations. Practical implications: Data presented in this paper helps to understand many of the behaviours observed in Chilean organisations, which provides HR policy-makers and practitioners with sounder foundations for designing organisational programs, policies and action plans. Originality/value: The paper presents new evidence to increase empirical body of work addressing the relationship between organisational culture and HRM in developing countries, particularly in Latin America.