A Swedish MNC’s journey towards “one company”
This article seeks to add to our understanding of how practice transfers are implemented across national borders. Abandoning the use of the often used diffusion approach within practice transfer studies, this article is set within the framework of translation theory, and takes readers through the journey of implementing a new recruitment practice, as well as discusses how this impacts the original idea to create “one company.” It is claimed here that new knowledge was produced by bringing together the theoretical tradition of translation theory and placing it within the context of practice transfer. This claim will be supported by field data from a Swedish MNC and its European subsidiaries that has been undergoing a plethora of reorganizations within the branch of Human Resources for the past decade. One of the organizational changes, which will be the focal point of this study, is the implementation of a new recruitment process. This process was inspired by the MNC’s Americas office, revised at its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, and finally transferred to its respective European subsidiaries. These events were studied for a span of six months. The events and challenges are described and analyzed, followed by a discussion of unintended implications in which these circumstances brought onto the company. Theory: Diffusion and Translation theory. Method: Qualitative case study. Semi-structured interviews, informal conversations, company documents, and participant observations. Result: This article provides detailed empirical evidence of how an idea travels throughout different actors and across national borders.