Differences in work values: understanding the role of intra- versus inter-country variation
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SourceInternational Journal of Human Resource Management, 26, 7, (2015), pp. 1002-1020
Article / Letter to editor
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International Journal of Human Resource Management
SubjectNON-RU research; Onderzoek niet-RU
A growing literature emphasizes the need for studies taking a contingency perspective to international HRM to move beyond mean country differences in work values and begin considering intra-country variation (ICV). We use individual-level data on Hofstedeian values – not hitherto available – to infuse this literature with systematic quantitative evidence regarding the importance of ICV vis-à-vis inter- or between-country variation. We begin by estimating various random effects models, discovering that ICV accounts for the bulk, approximately 85%, of total variation in work values. To add a much-lacking comparative dimension and because ICV only has real-life relevance if we know its sources and can observe them, a three-level multilevel analysis provides a novel disentanglement of the importance of country relative to region and socioeconomic stratum as readily observable within-country sources of variation in values. Results show the value for practitioners and scholars of not only focusing on country differences strictly but also considering subnational categorizations when seeking to understand differences in work values. Key contribution of this paper is to take the debate on ICV out of the theoretical and into the practical realm. Implications of our findings are discussed.
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