Human resource management in multinational enterprises
The multinational enterprise (MNE) is now a significant part of the world economy both in temis of trade and employment. The performance of an MINE is in part dependent on the capability of its human resource. The knowledge and experience of employees is a source of competitive advantage, but whether this is realised or not may depend on having the right human resource policies. Managers therefore seek to implement best practice, and in multinationals there is the potential for intraorganizational learning across national boundaries. The aim of this thesis is to examine a number of questions arising from the proposition that multinational firms are contributing to the development of international norms of best practice in human resource management as a result of a trend towards greater coordination of management practice in MNEs. It is suggested that multinationals are developing mechanisms to encourage the transfer of knowledge and experience across national boundaries, and this is therefore an important aspect of international human resource management (HRM). The thesis contains a review of the literature, firstly on the management of multinationals, secondly on the development of a strategic view of human resource management, and thirdly on HRM in the MINE. From this material, a theoretical framework is developed that links together a number of research questions. These formed the basis for the design and execution of a qualitative research project in which information on strategy, structure and management practice was obtained from twentyfour companies. These represented a cross-section of country ownership, including the UK, other European countries, the USA and Japan. The design of the research project is explained, and this is followed by a presentation of the results. These support the proposition that as a consequence of the globalization of markets, multinationals are tending to adopt a more global perspective in which there is greater cross-national integration of operations, coordination of management practice, and the development of internationally orientated management. The analysis discusses the implications of this for international human resource management, and offers a number of recommendations for HRM in the multinational enterprise. Finally some suggestions are made for future research to build on and extend the findings of this project.