The Quality of Work in Global Supply Chains:
Global, Local or Glo-cal Definitions and HR Practices?
The quality of work affects the well-being of workers as well as their performance. Providing a decent work environment is not only a company’s social responsibility towards its employees but has a proven positive impact on employee motivation, engagement and productivity. With the globalisation of production, the topic has attracted renewed interest in the scientific as well as policy debate. Before globalisation, a company’s Human Resource (HR) practices already needed to balance the local institutional and market environment with the needs of the company’s employees in order to be successful. In today’s era of global production, decision-makers have to additionally take global market dynamics and regulatory frameworks into account. Studies on International Human Resource Management have found that decision-makers in local companies are impacted by global dynamics as well as their local environment and in response develop distinctive, “glo-cal” HR systems.
The PhD project studies the quality of work in the export-oriented textiles and clothing industry in Egypt and Jordan. It aims to dissect how global and local factors shape local stakeholders’ definitions and companies’ HR practices. A special focus is laid on the design of working time arrangements, salary systems and employer-employee relations. The projects’ main research questions are: How do local stakeholders define a high quality of work in their respective industry and country contexts? How do local companies design their working time arrangements, salary systems and employer-employee relations? In how far can local definitions and HR practices be traced back to global and/or local influence factors? Methodologically, I will use a multiple case study approach to compare definitions and HR practices between the two countries and between different stages of the supply chain. The case studies will mainly be informed by interviews with key stakeholders and document analyses. The results of the analyses will be presented and discussed in three scientific papers.