HRM and Globalization
Based on Chapter 24 of Human Resource Management in a Business Context
(2nd Edition) by Alan Price - published by Thomson Learning
Pages 670-671 of Human Resource Management in a Business Context discusses
a number of comparative studies on the adoption of HRM in the USA, Japan, Germany, UK, Australia,
Ireland, Philippines, Africa, Russia, Croatia, Poland, Germany and Greece. Excerpt:
Hetrick (2002) explored the ways in which HRM emerged as a set of concepts, policies and practices within multinational subsidiaries in Poland between 1996 and 1999. HRM was clearly viewed as an imported 'Anglo-American concept' bearing no resemblance to people management as practised in Polish organizations. Hetrick comments that multinational firms are increasingly viewing HRM as one of the main control mechanisms by which employees can be integrated across national boundaries. Expatriate managers are important in this process as:
- Role models displaying appropriate company behaviours, values and ways of doing things;
- Fixers, adapting corporate values and mission statements to local circumstances;
- Key actors, enacting the HRM practices;
- Networkers or boundary spanners, making connections between local managers and other parts of the business;
- Agents of the owners, overseeing the new subsidiary company;
- Coaches or mentors, transferring knowledge to local managers.
HRM is not necessarily strong in all western countries. Wächter and Muller-Camen (2002), noting the importance of German businesses to the European economy, suggest that a well-functioning HR system would be expected. But a number of comparative studies have found HRM in German companies to be less strategically integrated and proactive than that of similar businesses in other countries. They attribute these findings, at least partly, to the co-determination structure of German employee relations where the Betriebsrat (works council) has an important strategic role. Hence HRM has to be integrated with a pre-existing local system which, according to Wächter and Muller-Camen, might even be a strategic resource.
Overview of HRM