Institutional legacies and HRM: similarities and differences in HRM practices in Portugal and Mozambique

Pauline Dibben, Chris Brewster, Michael Brookes, Rita Cunha, Edward Webster, Geoffrey Wood

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20 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


This is a study of institutional change and continuity, comparing the trajectories followed by Mozambique and its formal colonial power Portugal in HRM, based on two surveys of firm level practices. The colonial power sought to extend the institutions of the metropole in the closing years of its rule, and despite all the adjustments and shocks that have accompanied Mozambique’s post-independence years, the country continues to retain institutional features and associated practices from the past. This suggests that there is a post-colonial impact on human resource management. The implications for HRM theory are that ambitious attempts at institutional substitution may have less dramatic effects than is commonly assumed. Indeed, we encountered remarkable similarities between the two countries in HRM practices, implying that features of supposedly fluid or less mature institutional frameworks (whether in Africa or the Mediterranean world) may be sustained for protracted periods of time, pressures to reform notwithstanding. This highlights the complexities of continuities which transcend formal rules; as post-colonial theories alert us, informal conventions and embedded discourse may result in the persistence of informal power and subordination, despite political and legal changes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2519-2537
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number18
Early online date8 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2017


  • comparative HRM
  • institutional change
  • Mozanbique
  • Portugal
  • post-colonial theory


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