The impact of cultural value orientations on individual HRM preferences in developing countries: lessons from Kenyan organizations

Stephen M. Nyambegera, Paul Sparrow, Kevin Daniels

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43 Citations (Scopus)


The intention of the study is to examine the impact that individual national culture value orientations have on the preference for the design of HR policies and practices. The value orientation structure and preferences for thirty-four HR design choices are studied in a sample of 274 Kenyan employees from eight multinational, state and private domestic firms operating in the manufacturing and processing sector. The study shows that the HR design choices of Kenyan employees reflect the following picture across four factors: high HR involvement/participation: high predictability of rewards; performance rather than loyalty-based policies; and moderate levels of HR empowerment. Kenyan employee value orientations reflect: activity thinking over activity doing; individual over collective relationships; relationship to nature mastery over relationship to nature harmony; low subjugation to nature; and human nature evil (manipulative). More importantly, three out of the four HR preference factors are values-related, i.e. the individual's value orientation is highly predictive of their preference for the design of HR policies and practices. From 9 per cent to 19 per cent of the variance in preferences for involvement, empowerment and predictability of rewards is accounted for by national culture value orientations. HR involvement preferences are related to activity thinking values. Predictability of rewards is related to high activity doing. Empowerment HR is related to low relationships hierarchical values. Preferences for performance versus loyalty-based HRM are intriguingly values-free judgements, although ethnic factors play a role here.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-663
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000


  • Developing countries
  • HRM
  • Kenya
  • National culture
  • Value orientations

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