The diffusions of work processes across countries through foreign direct investment and technological collaborations is an increasingly important practice in the global economy. Here, Ayse Saka explores this process both by focusing on the role of actors in appropriating different ways of operating and by examining the effects of the institutional environment in the host country. The author uses the example of Japanese firms operating in the UK to explore how the diffusion of work systems occurs in practice. She finds that institutional, organizational and group characteristics, have great influence on the degree to which Japanese work systems are put to practice and accepted by UK adopter companies. The degree to which alternate work systems are accepted depends in part on the flexibility of the institutional setting and on social patterns of interaction in organzations.