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Since the early 1990s, several studies have focused on the gap between HRM theory and practice. While the first research on the gap was aimed at highlighting its existence, recent studies have attempted to draw lessons from this duality calling for more alignment between theory and practice in HRM. The aim of the present paper is to understand the gap, its origins and its manifestations in a particular context: the public administration in the MENA region. A survey questionnaire was designated to collect data for measuring the gap between hard and soft HRM model and to assess the factors that are likely to explain the gap. 305 questionnaires were addressed HR officers working in the public sector in three different countries of the region (Egypt, Syria and UAE). Collected data were analyzed through an index we introduced for estimating the gap in each of the studied countries. Cross-national comparison has been realiwed to give a contextual explanation of the gap. Our findings prove the existence of the gap in the region and shows that even in the same region cross-national differences appear to be meaningful. The present research opens the door for more contextualized studies of the HRM gap and introduce a new metric to assess it.