In this paper the focus is on how organizations select, adapt and retain best practices in HRM. Based on recent developments in two streams of theoretical thinking, i.e new institutionalism and strategic management (especially co-evolution and absorptive capacity), this paper contrasts economic rationality with normative rationality in the selection, adaptation and retention process. In this way we are able to construct the life cycle of a HRM best practice, the way in which companies differ in their speed of selection and adoption of best practices, and the consequences this has for whether or not being able to achieve a competitive advantage. After presenting and describing our framework for the adoption and life cycle of best practices in the field of HRM, a range of hypotheses is presented to be tested for in follow-up research.

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ERIM Report Series Research in Management
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Paauwe, J., & Boselie, P. (2004). "Best Practices…in spite of Performance" Just a matter of Imitation? (No. ERS-2004-070-ORG). ERIM Report Series Research in Management. Retrieved from