National vs. corporate culture: Implications for human resource management


  • Susan C. Schneider

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    • The author would like to thank Paul Evans, Andre Laurent, Randall Schuler and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions.

    • Susan C. Schneider is Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior at INSEAD, The European Institute of Business Administration in Fontainebleau, France.


Corporate culture has been described as the “glue” that holds organizations together by providing cohesiveness and coherence among the parts. Multinational companies are increasingly interested in promoting corporate culture to improve control, coordination, and integration of their subsidiaries. Yet these subsidiaries are embedded in local national cultures wherein the underlying basic assumptions about people and the world may differ from that of the national and corporate culture of the multinational. These differences may hinder the acceptance and implementation of human resource practices, such as career planning, appraisal and compensation systems, and selection and socialization. This article discusses the assumptions about people and about the world underlying these HRM practices as they may differ from those of the national culture of the subsidiary. Finally, issues concerning the use of corporate culture as a mechanism for globalization will be raised.