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International and Comparative Human

Resource Management

Introduction to the Module

Module Tutor:

Rosliana Binti Ahmad Razilan

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be

able to:

Demonstrate an understanding of the reasons for the existence of key

similarities and differences in national HRM practices (Knowledge and

Critically evaluate the potential people management problems

(Intellectual, practical, affective and transferable skills)

Critically analyse a range of tasks and techniques used when

undertaking comparative HRM studies (Intellectual, practical, affective
and transferable skills)
Main Themes

Globalisation and TNCs/MNCs and the current and future trajectory of


Concepts and debates about the international transfer of HRM practice

(Policy diffusion)

Debates and ideas about international employee resourcing – staffing,

performance management, development and rewards

Institutions, regimes, ideas and debates about the international

regulation and management of Human resources, including, Corporate
Social responsibility
Assessment for this module consists of one

Written paper 3000 word limit

Submission 8th May 2014 5pm

Write a 3000 word paper which critically

evaluates a range of potential strategic
problems facing Human Resource Managers
operating in multi-national companies.

See Module guide (pages 6-10 for details about the

assignment, including; assessment criteria,
submission guidelines, etc.
Readings (1) – Books

Brewster, C, Sparrow, P, and Vernon, G (2007): International Human

Resource Management 2nd edition. London, CIPD Publishing

Briscoe, Dennis R, Schuler, Randall, S and Claus, Lisbeth (2008):

International Human Resource Management: Policy and Practice for
Multinational Enterprises (Global HRM) 3rd edition London Routledge

Beardwell and Holden (Various editions): Human Resource

Management. Harlow, Prentice Hall/FT

Edwards, T. and Rees, C. (2011, 2006), IHRM: Globalisation, National

Systems London: FT. London: Sage,

Dicken, P. (2007) Global shift: Mapping the Changing Contours of the

World Economy (5th edition.), London: Sage
Readings (2) Book
Dicken, P. (2003) Global shift: Reshaping the Global Economic Map in
the 21st Century (4th edition.), London: Sage

Rubery, J. and Grimshaw, D. (2003) The Organisation of Employment:

An International Perspective. London: Palgrave

Harzing, A. and Pannington, A. H. (eds.) (2011)) International Human

Resource Management (3rd Edition), London: Sage

Harzing, A. and van Ruysseveldt, J. (eds.) (2004) International Human

Resource Management (2nd Edition), London: Sage.

Scullion, H. and Lineham, M., (Eds.) (2005) International Human

resource management, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

 Rugman, A., Collinson, S. and Hodgetts, R. (2006) International

Business, 4th Edition. Harlow: FT Prentice Hall
Reading: Journals

 European Business Review,

 Human Resource Management Journal,
 IDS Employment Europe,
 Personnel Review,
 International Journal of Manpower,
 Employee Relations,
 Journal of European Industrial Training,
Reading: Journals

 International Journal of Human Resource Management

 International Journal of Cross Cultural Management
 European Journal of International Management
 European Journal of Industrial Relations
 Human Resource Management Journal
 Journal of International Business Studies
 Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources
International and Comparative HRM

Week 1

The Globalisation of International Human

Resource Management

Alhajie Saidy Khan

Lord Ashcroft International Business School
Lecture outline

Lecture focuses upon the:

Historical developments in
international economic activity

What is Globalisation? The

definitional debate

Key characteristics of Globalisation

Globalisation: a critical perspective
Nature and dominance of MNCs
Globalisation, MNCs and
international transfer of practice
Globalisation: the historical context (1)

Historical developments in the World economy:

Long history of international trading relations

Importance of colonial expansion (C17th & C18th)
Manufacturing multinationals appeared in world economy after mid
C19th and established by WWI Annual growth of volume of international
trade of 3.4% 1870-1913.

Impact of protectionism prior to WWI; fall in world trade in 1930s

following Depression; WWII.

(Hirst and Thompson 1996, Chapter 2; Harzing & Ruysseveldt, 2004/5, 2011)
Globalisation: the historical context (2)

Post War developments in the World economy

USA domination: economic development as instrument of the

cold war)

International institutions (GATT, IMF, OECD)

Exchange rate system
‘Golden Age’ by 1950s and 1960s volume of trade increasing
more rapidly than production, rapid economic growth and full

(see Bretton Woods Revisted - Economist 9.7.1994 )

Key indicators of Economic

Trends on international trade: the data(next slide

Phenomenon of Regional trading blocs and
increase in regional trade

Foreign Direct investment

Economic liberalisation
Dominance of TNCs
Growth in World production and
trade (% in volume)

Trade Production

1950-63 1963-73 1973-90 1990-01
(WTO, 2002)
Theories of determinants of
economic internationalisation

Theory of Absolute advantage (Adam Smith, 1776)

Relative advantage Theory (Ricardo, 1917)
H-O theorem – differences in factor endowment (Ohlin, 1933)
Porter’s6 criteria theory of comparative and competitive
advantage (1990)

Dunning’s Eclectic paradigm (2003)

See various editions of Edward and Rees
Internationalisation vs. globalisation

Internationalisation: the simple extension of economic

activities across national boundaries.

Globalisation qualitatively different processes that

involve the ‘functional integration of internationally
dispersed activities’

(Dicken, 2003, 2007, 2011)

Globalisation: a qualitative

Globalisation as qualitatively different form of international


Deep-seated (irreversible) shift in structure and operation of

production and markets

Undermining of nation-states as significant economic actors

Cultural Homogeneity or dominance without hegemony?
Global corporations (TNCs/MNCs) with no allegiance to any
particular place and or community

(Dicken 2011, 2007, 2003)

Or, Globalisation as illusion

No fundamental changes in world economy

World economy more open and integrated 1870-1913

Global markets can be controlled by mixture of national/supranational

Importance of cultural differences (Child 2002)

Relatively few truly international companies and concentration of FDI
among advanced economies

(Dicken, various eds.; and Hirst and Thompson)

Characteristics of Globalisation

Uneven development and rate of globalisation

Key role of Multi/Transnational Corporations (MNCs/TNCs) in
coordinating production chains and shaping new world economy

Foreign direct investment (FDI) as indicator of MNC/TNC activity and

the growth of international production

Dynamic relationship between MNCs/TNCs and national (or

supranational) regulatory regimes and growth of product market

(Dicken, 2003, 2007, 2011)

Dominance of Multi/Transnational

What is Multi/Transnational Corporation?

Narrow Definition
 direct ownership of operations overseas measured by FDI (foreign direct

Broad Definition
 ‘a company which either directly or indirectly controls production or
service provision in two or more countries’

 covers licensing, franchising, sub-contracting, joint ventures and

strategic alliances as well as FDI
Significance of Multi/Transnational
Corporations (1)

TNCs are driving force behind internationalisation of

economic activity

 Dominate international and national economies

 Ability to take advantage of differences between states

 Ability to shift resources and operations between countries

According to the UN, the stock of FDI had increased from

$560 billion in 1980 to $7,213 billion in 2002 (about $12,500
billion in 2006).

UNCTAD, 2006
MNCs/TNCs: from investment to Global control

By 1997 the UN estimated that 53,607 parent TNCs had

controlled 448,917 foreign subsidiaries, producing about 25%
of world output

In 2002, the top 100 TNCs employed over 14.3 million
workers of which just under half worked in their foreign
affiliates in 2002 (UNCTAD)

By 2004 the UN estimated that 61,000 parent TNCs had

controlled over 900,000 foreign subsidiaries, generating
annual sales of $19 trillion and employing around 54 million
G GDP or Total Sales (US$ bn)
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Companies vs Countries (1997)

To n
W ot
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MNCs/TNCs and Sovereign states

lo l
Ve mb
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P h ue
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Country or Corporation
Micro-level explanation for why
Firms go ‘multinational’

 Competitive strategies for product markets

 Gain market power by overcoming disadvantage of being
 seen as foreign)
 efficiency - possessing a strategic or ownership (benefits of
which can only be realised through internal transfer within

Factor Supply
 Raw materials supply (secure control)
 ‘Transfer pricing’ strategies.
 Labour supply (cheapest labour costs, ability to divide and
rule); but issues of labour costs as proportion of total costs
and productivity
Motivations for internationalisation:
Dunnings’s Eclectic paradigm

Theory of synthesis of 3 conditions:

 They possess ownership-specific advantages not
possessed by competing firms (in host country)

 Advantage most effectively secured by production overseas

(c.f. selling or leasing) i.e the firm internalises use of
ownership-specific advantages

 There must be location-specific advantages which make it

profitable for the firm to exploit its assets in overseas (c.f.
domestic) locations
Internationalisation: Contradicting demands
of centralisation and decentralisation

Centralised control: benefits of co-ordination and control

activities across divisions and countries) e.g. McDonalds

Decentralised control: benefits of local autonomy and

ability to respond to local conditions & optimise local
 But are they mutually exclusive?
 Different issues require different levels of decision-making
and response.
 The scope for differences could, however, define differences
between TNCs
Country of origin effects and transfer
of practice

Some evidence of TNCs becoming more global (spread

of international business divisions, management teams etc.)

Evidence of TNC reorganisation within EU (mergers,

acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic alliances)

Crucially most TNCs rooted in home country

 Location of majority of assets
 Management board dominated by home nationals
 Finance largely raised in home country
Globalisation, MNCs and International
transfer of practice

Globalisation as a process which has led to ‘regime

competition’ between national capitalisms

 TNCs as ‘proxies’ in the competition between highly

regulated and highly deregulated systems (of employment

Do multinationals act as vehicles for transmitting HR/IR

practices from the parent country.. to the host countries in
which they operate, or do they attempt to drop what they see
as the constraining elements of their business systems once
they leave their own borders? (Ferner, 1997:20)