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Diffusing 'best practice' in multinational firms

Diffusing 'best practice' in multinational firms: prospects, practice and contestation

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-695
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998


This article explores the possibilities and problems of transferring best practice within multinational enterprises. Following a discussion of the literature on the transfer of best practice, we draw on a case study of ABB to highlight some of the issues and problems involved. In particular, we focus on the use of benchmarking as a powerful tool for the diffusion of best practice in ABB. We conclude that under certain conditions the case for the transfer of best practice within multinational enterprises is relatively sound and that the use of internal benchmarking can be a highly effective method of producing such organizational change. However, any form of diffusion has to take into account (a) the local cultural and institutional context and (b) the ability and incentive of local managers to implement best practice.


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