Transferring personnel management across national boundaries: an exploratory study of personnel management practice in Greece

Theodorakopoulou, Angeliki (2001) Transferring personnel management across national boundaries: an exploratory study of personnel management practice in Greece. (MPhil thesis), Kingston University, .


The role of the human factor and the importance attached to the management of human resources have been extensively highlighted in the literature. In the face of on going globalisation and intensifying competition, it is considered common ground that a key-determinant to business survival and corporate success is the adoption of sophisticated and advanced strategies for managing people. It is broadly argued that the evolution of Greek management in general and personnel management in particular was influenced by the Western paradigm of managerial theory and practice. However, certain characteristics of the local business environment, such as slow economic development, state interventionism, the inefficient and largely bureaucratic public sector and the complexity of the legal and regulatory framework, the great number of small and medium enterprises, the relatively small number of big corporations in the industry, have not supported further development on an advanced level and have inhibited the systematic use of modern practices and techniques. Nowadays, in the general context of the internationalisation of business activity and increased competition, although the importance of the human factor is being recognised by Greek entrepreneurs as one of the main sources of competitive advantage, the extent to which personnel management practice has grown in response to these concerns needs to be explored. Past research in the area of personnel management has provided a quite broad overview in the field. Analysis based on surveys performed during the 1990s has argued for rapid development of personnel management function in the country, supporting also the view that it has achieved a level of growth similar to that observed in mature markets abroad. However, certain limitations of the research approach adopted, such as lack of in-depth and qualitative analysis, create skepticism regarding the degree of development of personnel management that has been claimed to exist in Greek firms. The present study suggests that a more in-depth investigation is required in order to explore the actual degree of development of personnel management function and the role of the personnel manager in Greece, as well as the extent to which modern personnel policy and techniques have been adopted by Greek companies. For this purpose, an in-depth 12-company survey and case study analysis were conducted, evaluating research findings against a series of key-indicators identified in personnel management models selected as a theoretical base for this study. The research concluded that Greek enterprises have not yet developed a strategic, or even a well-organised approach to managing human resources. The development of personnel management in the Greek corporate environment is still at an initial stage, with the role of the personnel manager in the formulation of corporate strategy to remain minimal. Furthermore, major aspects of human resource management, such as well-planned HR policies with a long term focus and their integration into business strategy, as well as advanced personnel practices, such as workforce planning, job design and employee performance appraisal based on objective criteria, were not found in the majority of Greek companies included in the research. The above conclusions are also supported by the lack of widespread specialised knowledge and training provision, as well as the limited academic research and expertise in the field which negatively influence the level of professionalisation in personnel management. This synthesis of negative characteristics acts as a brake towards the wide recognition of the usefulness of advanced personnel . methods and practices and their successful implementation in the Greek market.

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