Publication Details

Cox, A. & Warner, M. (2013). Whither 'training and development' in Vietnam?: learning from United States and Japanese MNCs' practice. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 51 (2), 175-192.


This paper focuses on training and development (T&D) policies and practices to explore how multinational companies (MNCs) localise their human resources within their subsidiaries in a developing country. It uses qualitative research methods to examine three US and three Japanese MNCs operating in the automotive and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry in Vietnam. The paper identifies both home- and host-country effects as significant factors in the transfer of MNCs' T&D policies and practices. Clear home-country effects are evident in rigorous attempts of both US and Japanese MNCs to transfer and implement formalised and centrally controlled training programs. Host-country effects manifest themselves in the instability of the institutional environment, weak associations among employers' groups, and fragmented bargaining practices that encourage employer and employee opportunism, particularly 'poaching' and 'job-hopping'. These lead to MNCs' hesitation to invest in T&D, and the lack of job rotation and a tendency to train 'specialists' rather than 'generalists' in the Japanese firms. The paper also discusses the interaction of foreign owned and indigenous firms in a very tight labour market at the highly skilled end that results in a 'brain drain' phenomenon on human resource development (HRD).

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