Hrmn 467 dq 1

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When you post your responses, you must use the resources from the class. Occasionally it may be helpful to search other resources, and some assignments may call for additional research, but in the Discussion area, I am really looking for evidence that you read the course material and can apply it. 

Question 1: Global HR differs from domestic HR in many ways. Describe two functions of HR (e.g. staffing, training, compensation) and how they are different in a global environment. 

Question 2: Describe in your own words, the difference between global and international. Be sure to use our reading (Globalization and HR) to support your description. 

Week 1 – What is Global HR? (Add weeks)

HRMN 467 6381 Global Human Resource Management (2222)


Human resource management is one of the world’s fastest growing fields and presents

unprecedented opportunity for global advancement. The global human resource management course

prepares you to deal with all aspects of human resources within the worldwide context, including

US-based organizations doing business internationally and non-US-based organizations operating


Global Human Resource Management (HRMN 467) is a comprehensive study of global human

resource management. On completion of this course, you will be able to demonstrate intercultural

competencies, identify trends in the globalized workforce, and analyze policies, practices, and

functions in global human resources. To do this, you will design a strategic staffing plan that includes

recruiting, training, compensation, and evaluation. You will also complete a reflective exercise to

assess your intercultural competencies and discuss current trends in global human resources.

Week 1 Aligned to course outcome #

Describe the difference between an

international organization, a multinational

organization and a global organization.


Describe challenges associated with a

global workforce


To Do List:

1. Chapter 1 of the Bhebe book:



Introduction to Global HR
PDF document

Globalization and Human Resource

PDF document

Global Human Resources Management (Bhebe, 2019)

2. During week 1 we will begin by discussing the challenges of a global environment and the

definition of what it means to be a global workforce.

Read the Introduction to Global HR.

This text will give you a general overview of all the topics we will cover in Global HR. Keep it as your

primary resource. Then each week we will delve into a specific topic from this text.

To cite this resource:

UMGC (2018). Introduction to Global HR. Retrieved


3. Next, read Globalization and HR. To cite this resource:

Sims, R. (2019) Human Resources Management Issues, Challenges and Trends: “Now and Around the

Corner”, Information Age Publishing. pp. 31–52.

4. Participate in the weekly discussion

0 % 0 of 3 topics complete

Human Resources Management Issues, Challenges and Trends:
“Now and Around the Corner”, pages 31–52.
Copyright © 2019 by Information Age Publishing
All rights of reproduction in any form reserved. 31



Ronald R. Sims

The environment in which today’s organizations find themselves continues to be
more globalized as the world is becoming a “global village.” This globalization
is driven in part by continued growth in multinational investment to include more
and more companies entering into alliances with foreign companies, exporting
their products overseas, and building plants in other countries. All of the human
resource management (HRM) challenges, issues and opportunities discussed in
previous chapters in this book are interrelated conceptually and operationally in
the international context.

This chapter discusses a number of the HRM challenges, issues and opportuni-
ties HRM professionals and their organizations will need to address in today’s and
tomorrow’s global world of work. The chapter first takes a look at today’s global
organization and some HRM issues. Next, the discussion turns to the globaliza-
tion of business and factors affecting HRM in global markets before focusing
on an analysis of levels of global or international and HRM operations. Finally,
the chapter discusses globalization and implications and impacts on HRM in the































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AN: 2006258 ; Ronald R. Sims.; Human Resources Management Issues, Challenges and Trends: ‘Now and Around the Corner’
Account: s4264928.main.eds



For the past decades, there have been profound changes in the international busi-
ness scene. With geographic national borders being almost replaced by multi-
national firms, and a heightened level of labor mobility around the globe, the
implication of HRM to design and develop firms’ global business strategy, and
to direct individuals (i.e. managers and professional staff alike) for working in
different countries, is undoubtedly significant. Rosalie Tung (2016) has recently
suggested that in the past three decades or so, globalization/regionalization, mi-
gration and reverse migration (also referred to as “brain circulation”), the ascen-
dancy of emerging markets, the demand for people with a global mindset, and
the worldwide war for talent have brought about fundamental changes to the na-
ture, magnitude, and raison d’etre for HRM in a global context. And, that these
changes require HRM professionals and their organizations to adopt new lenses to
fully understand the dynamics that impact global or international human resource
management policies and practices.

Organizations are attempting to gain competitive advantage, which can be pro-
vided by international expansion as these countries are new markets with large
numbers of potential customers. For example, organizations that are producing
below their capacity can use expansion to possibly increase sales and profits. Still
other organizations are building production facilities in other countries as a means
of capitalizing on those countries’ lower labor costs for relatively unskilled jobs.

Importing and exporting goods and services is the easiest way to “go global.”
India has the world’s second-largest population (1.2 billion people) and a grow-
ing middle class, so businesses are increasingly trying to expand their exports to
that country (U.S. News & World Report, 2016). According to Snell and Morris
(2019), Apple is one of those companies. Although the iPhone dominates the U.S.
market, only 5 percent of smartphones in India are iPhone. Partnerships, mergers
and takeovers are other ways companies are addressing globalization.

The reality is that most organizations now function in the global economy.
For example, U.S. businesses are entering international markets at the same time
that foreign companies are entering the U.S. market. Consider the reality that
many American and foreign firms have partnered with Chinese firms to expand
in China, which is the world’s most populous country, with 1.3 billion people.
In turn, cross-border mergers continue to increase (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart &
Wright, 2019; Shen, 2016) as Chinese and other foreign companies are merging
with American firms (Sheng, 2016). Consider also that it has been suggested that
globalization is the dominant driving force in the world economy, reshaping soci-
eties and politics as it changes lives (Cascio, 2019).

Globalization has also resulted in the blurring of national identities of prod-
ucts. Many may think of Budweiser as an American beer, but its maker (Anheus-
er-Busch) is owned by a Belgian company called InBev. Like many other compa-
nies, Anheuser-Busch InBev has been purchasing or partnering with factories and

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Globalization and Human Resource Management • 33

brands in other countries such as China and Mexico to expand its sales. Similarly,
BMW is a German brand, but the automaker builds cars in the United States, Chi-
na and elsewhere (Choi & Schreiner, 2014; Duprey, 2013; Snell & Morris, 2019).

Giant multinational corporations such as Nestlé, Unilever, and AstraZeneca,
began to lose their national identities as they integrated and coordinated product
design, manufacturing, sales, and services on a worldwide basis. Further, many
other U.S. firms, for example, generate a substantial portion of their sales and
profits from other countries; companies such as Coca-Cola, Exxon/Mobil, and
Microsoft derive a significant portion of total sales and profits from outside the
United States (Dewhurst, Harris & Heywood, 2012). In 1982 GE, for example,
generated 20 percent of its sales outside the United States and 70 percent in 2017
(Mann & Spegele, 2017). Many foreign organizations have taken advantage of
growth opportunities in the United States. For example, Toyota, based in Japan,
has grown its market share and increased its number of jobs in the United States
and elsewhere in North America. Also, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and other Japa-
nese automobile manufacturers, electronic firms, and suppliers have maintained
operations in the United States (Mathis, Jackson, Valentine, & Meglich, 2017).

Higginbottom (2017) has recently argued that these are indeed “uncertain
times” (i.e., for global (and local) organizations and HRM professionals). The
last several years have played host to seismic political events such as Brexit and
the election of Donald Trump as the U.S. president in 2016. The acronym VUCA
which stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity is a trendy
management term that perfectly encapsulates the conditions that many multina-
tionals are operating under.

Brexit, for example, which stemmed from a slim majority of U.K. voters de-
ciding in a June 23, 2016 referendum, that they no longer wanted to be governed
largely from a bureaucracy located in Brussels, Belgium, continues to pose a seri-
ous threat to the European Union. The EU and Britain are currently negotiating
the terms of their separation which will have major implications for global busi-
nesses and many observers predict that, at least in the short term, this exit will
have a negative impact on the British economy (see, Amadeo, 2018a; Partington,
2018; Romei, 2018).

Numerous free-trade agreements forged between nations over the past 60
years, like the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1948 and the
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, helped quicken the
pace of globalization. However, the election of Donald Trump as president of
the U.S. in 2016 has created uncertainty for organizations making their location
decisions in his efforts to renegotiate, for example, NAFTA which is the world’s
largest free trade agreement. In an effort to keep companies from moving produc-
tion outside the United States, Trump announced a 35 percent tariff on steel and a
10 percent tariff on aluminum on Canada, Mexico and the EU. President Trump
campaigned on renegotiating NAFTA and frequently berated companies seeking

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to build plants in Mexico, for example, particularly when it entails closing plants
in the United States (see Amadeo, 2018b; Stoll & Colias, 2016).

While factors like Berxit and the election of Trump as the U.S. president are
impacting globalization, perhaps none is more important that the rise of Inter-
net technologies (Dreyfuss, 2017; Quora, 2017; Sato, 2014). The Internet, as it
continues to develop, has certainly changed the ways that people live and work.
Indeed, in some industries, such as music and e-commerce, it has completely
revolutionized the rules of the game (Cascio, 2019).

The Internet gives everyone in the organization, at any level and in every func-
tional areas, the ability to access a mind-boggling array of information-instanta-
neously from anywhere. Ideas can be zapped around the globe in the blink of an
eye instead of seeping out over month or years. A global marketplace has been
created by factors such as the following:

• Global telecommunications enhanced by fiber optics, satellites, and com-
puter technology.

• E-commerce that makes organizations global from the moment their Web
sites are up and running, as customers from around the world log on.

• Financial markets are now open 24 hours a day around the world (Lioudis,

• Cost pressures (that prod firms to move where labor and other resources are
cheapest), coupled with a search for new markets (as firms and consumers
around the world seek foreign goods and services).

• The integration of cultures and values through international travel, as well
as the spread of goods such as music, food, and clothing. In combination,
these have led to common consumer demands around the world (Tarique,
Briscoe, & Schuler, 2016).

• The emergence of global standards and regulations for trade, commerce,
finance, products, and services (Gunther, 2005).

The rapid increase in telecommunications and information technology en-
ables work to be done more rapidly, efficiently, and effectively all over the world.
Friedman (2016 has suggested that an expanding high-tech, information-based
economy increasingly defines globalization and shapes the business cycles within
it. That is, much of the flow of capital, labor, services, and goods among Asia,
America and Europe are technology based. Without chips, screens, and software
help from Asia, the U.S. economy would grind to a halt. Clearly, open borders
continue to allow new ideas and technology to flow freely around the globe, ac-
celerating productivity growth and allowing businesses to be more competitive
than they have been in past decades.

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Globalization and Human Resource Management • 35

Globalization and HRM

Due to globalization, companies have to balance a complicated set of issues
related to different geographies, including different cultures, employment laws,
and business practices, and the safety of employees and facilities abroad. HRM
issues underlie each of these and other concerns. They include such things as
dealing with employees today and tomorrow who, via the Internet and social me-
dia, are better informed about global job opportunities and are willing to pursue
them, even if it means working for competing companies or foreign companies.
Determining the knowledge and skill base of workers worldwide and figuring out
how best to hire and train them (sometimes with materials that must be translated
into a number of different languages) is also an issue for companies in the global

There is every indication that the recent social and political changes have con-
tributed to globalization and the movement toward international competition. De-
spite the reasons an organization may have for expanding operations globally,
HRM is critical to the success of any global initiative. If one adopts the basic prin-
ciple that HRM strategy must be derived from corporate strategy and that people
do determine an organization’s success or failure, then the HRM function needs
to be a key strategic partner in any global operations. Still, in some instances
HRM is often neglected in the planning and establishment of global endeavors.
Despite such neglect, today’s and tomorrow’s HRM professionals must continue
to develop their own and other organizational members competencies or skills in
the ever-growing international context of the world of work. This means not only
understanding the events and factors that continue to increase the global nature of
business but also their role in helping to improve their organization’s competitive
advantage in global environments.


It is important for HRM professionals to continue to recognize that because politi-
cal, economic, social and technological conditions are constantly shifting around
the world, how employees are managed in those changing environments will need
to shift as well. HRM professionals can better understand the global environment
by regularly conducting a political, economic, sociocultural, and technological
(PEST) analysis which can act as an audit of a company’s environmental influ-
ences to assist in determining the corporate strategy and accompanying HRM
response(s) (see, for example, Post, 2017; Snell & Morris, 2019).

By conducting a PEST analysis HRM professionals and other organizational
leaders are able to scan different contextual environments to understand the long-
term trends and how they might impact a company. A PEST analysis can help
HRM professionals to 1) spot business or human resource opportunities, and give
them advanced warning of threats, 2) identify trends in the business environment
so they can proactively adapt to these changes, 3) help to avoid implementing

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HRM practices in a particular country where they may fail, and 4) put an end to
old habits and assumptions about how people should be managed to help bring
about innovative ideas for the entire organization.

Political Factors

Government regulations and legal issues affect a company’s ability to be profit-
able and successful, and this factor looks at how that can happen. Issues that must
be considered include tax guidelines, copyright and property law enforcement,
political stability, trade regulations, social and environmental policy, employment
laws and safety regulations. Companies should also consider their local and fed-
eral power structure and discuss how anticipated shifts in power could affect their

HRM professionals can assess the political factors by examining a country’s
labor laws, property rights, and patents. When Lincoln Electric, the Ohio-based
welding company, for example, started operations in Brazil, they could not offer
their yearly bonus program based on performance because any bonuses paid for
two consecutive years became a legal entitlement (Siegel & Larson, 2009).

Property rights in many countries are poorly protected by governments. Who-
ever has the political power or authority can seize others’ property with few or
no repercussions. Civil unrest can also lead to the poor enforcement of property
rights. Businesses have less incentive to invest in countries or locate factories
in countries experiencing strife. Another issue that has implications for global
companies relates to the intellectual property rights—rights related to patents,
trademarks, and so forth.

Economic Factors

This factor examines the outside economic issues that can play a role in a
company’s success. Items for HRM professionals and other organizational mem-
bers to consider include economic growth, exchange, inflation and interest rates,
economic stability, anticipated shifts in commodity and resource costs, unemploy-
ment policies, credit availability, unemployment policies, and the business cycle
followed in the country.

By looking at trends around market and trade cycles, specific industry changes,
customer preferences, and country economic growth forecasts HRM profession-
als and other organizational members can best understand the economic issues
that are bound to have an impact on the company. For example, in 1995, the World
Trade Organization (WTO) was formalized as a cooperative forum for country
leaders to come together and increase free trade across the world. As of Decem-
ber 2017, the WTO member countries represented over 164 member-nations and
covered 97 percent of all international trade (Amadeo, 2018c). In addition, coun-
tries are continually negotiating free trade agreements with each other in hopes of
increasing their economic activity.

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Globalization and Human Resource Management • 37

Since China joined the WTO in 2001, its economy has grown dramatically,
drastically altering its political and trading relationship with many nations. In a
strange twist of fate, Xi Jinping, the leader of the communist world and China’s
president, has taken to defending free trade and globalization, whereas U.S. presi-
dent Donald Trump, leader of the free world, has taken to attacking them as noted
previously (Elliott & Wearden, 2017).

Sociocultural Factors

The sociocultural factor analyzes the demographic and cultural aspects of the
company’s market. These factors help companies examine consumer needs and
determine what pushes them to make purchases. Among the items that should be
examined are communications, religion, values and ideologies, education, social
structure, demographics, population growth rates, age distribution, cultural limi-
tations, lifestyle attitude, attitudes towards work and job market trends.

An understanding of sociocultural factors has important implications when it
comes to a company’s decision about when and how to do business in a country.
For example, because of low labor costs and language similarities, many U.S.
businesses have found India an attractive place to locate their facilities, particu-
larly call centers.

By recognizing and accommodating different ideologies, religious beliefs,
communication styles, education systems, and social structures, HRM profession-
als and other organizational members stand a better chance of understanding the
culture of a host country—a country in which an international business operates.
Even in countries that have close language or cultural links, HRM practices can
be dramatically different. For example, employers might be expected to provide
employees with meals while at work and transportation between home and work.
In most of the Islamic Middle East, it is completely acceptable to ask coworkers
very personal questions about their children, especially their sons, but never about
their wives (Tulshyan, 2010; Vollmer, 2015).

Technological Factors

Technology issues affect how an organization delivers its product or service
to the marketplace. Specific items that need to be scrutinized include, but are not
limited to, government spending on the maturity of manufacturing equipment,
information systems, technological research, technological advancements, the life
cycle of current technology, the role of the Internet and how any changes to it
may play out, and the impact of potential information technology changes. Even
in less-developed countries where manufacturing is typically stronger due to low
cost of labor and high cost of capital-intensive equipment, labor-saving technolo-
gy is becoming more affordable and accessible. Take, for instance, a textile factor
in Vietnam. It is more cost effective for the factory to purchase high-tech thread-
ing equipment to spin the cotton into thread than to hire hundreds of people to

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thread the cotton by hand, even when the average wage for such employees is less
than $100 a month. Just like the other factors, companies should consider genera-
tional shifts and their related technological expectation to figure out how they will
affect who will use their product and how it’s delivered (Snell & Morris, 2019).

While advances in technology have pushed for more service-based jobs, infor-
mation systems and technology platforms have also increased the rate at which
these services can be traded across countries. Along with the creation of the WTO,
1995 also signifies the beginning of the Internet era mentioned early which is a
major driver of the increase in globalization.

Table 2.1 provides an example of PEST analysis that can give HRM profession-
als and other organizational members a clear understanding of how this works:

Every country varies in terms of its political, economic, sociocultural and tech-
nological systems. These variations directly influence the types of HRM systems
that must be developed to accommodate the particular situation. The extent to
which these differences affect a company depends on how involved the company
is in global markets.

Today, employees around the world continue to become empowered to com-
pete without the need of a large company. For example, many websites such as have developed an online marketplace where individuals can offer vari-
ous services and compete for business throughout the world. Consider the reality
that one might be interested in developing a new website for their company. By
going to the Internet one can select various individuals offering specific services.
They may be from different parts of the world. In conclusion, these PEST factors
shift the way companies are formed and how they and their HRM professionals go
about managing their human resources in a global environment.


Today’s international business operations can take several different forms. A large
percentage of these operations carry on their international business with only lim-
ited facilities and minimal representation in foreign countries. Others have exten-
sive facilities and personnel in various countries of the world. Managing these

TABLE 2.1. Sample Pest Analysis

Political Economic Sociocultural Technical

• New state tax policies
for accounting

• New employment
laws for employee
handbook maintenance

• Political instability in a
foreign partner country

• International economic

• Changes in interest

• Shift in educational
requirements and
changing career

• Population growth rate

• Automated processes
in the industry

• Rate of innovation
• Changes in technology


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Globalization and Human Resource Management • 39

resources effectively, and integrating their activities to achieve global advantage,
is a challenge to a company’s leaders and HRM professionals.

Often we hear companies referred to as “multinational” or “international.”
However, it is important for HRM professionals to understand the different levels
of participation in international markets. This is especially important because as
a company becomes more involved in international trade, different types of HRM
challenges, problems, and opportunities arise.

Bartlett and Ghoshal (1991) identified the following four international organi-
zational models:

• Decentralized federation in which each national unit is managed as a sepa-
rate entity that seeks to optimize its performance in the local environment.
(This is the traditional multinational corporation).

• Coordinated federation in which the center develops sophisticated man-
agement systems enabling it to maintain overall control, although scope is
given to local management to adopt practices that recognize local market

• Centralized hub in which the focus is on the global market rather than on
local markets. Such organizations are truly global rather than multinational.

• Transnational in which the corporation develops multi-dimensional stra-
tegic capacities directed towards competing globally but also allows local
responsiveness to market requirements.

Adler (2008) offers another categorization of the four various levels of inter-
national participation from which a company may choose and includes the fol-
lowing levels of involvement or participation: domestic, international, transna-
tional, multinational. The four basic types of organizations differ in the in degree
to which international activities are separated to respond to the local regions and
integrated to achieve global efficiencies.

Domestic. Most organizations begin by operating within a domestic market-
place. For example, a business that starts in the U.S. marketplace must recruit,
hire, train, and compensate their employees who are usually drawn from the local
labor market. The focus of the selection and training programs is often on the
employees’ technical competence to perform job-related duties and to some ex-
tent on interpersonal skills. In addition, because the company is usually involved
in only one labor market, determining the market rate of pay for various jobs is
relatively easy.

As the company grows it might choose to build additional facilities in differ-
ent parts of the country to reduce the costs of transporting the products over large
distances. In deciding where to locate these facilities, the company must consider
the attractiveness of the local labor markets. Various parts of the country may
have different cultures that make those areas more or less attractive according to
the work ethics of the potential employees. Similarly, the potential employees in
the different areas may vary greatly because of differences in educational systems.

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Finally, local pay rates may differ. However, it is important to note that in most
instances, companies functioning at the domestic level face an environment with
very similar political, economic, sociocultural, and technological situations, al-
though the variation might be observed across states and geographic areas.

International. As more competitors enter the domestic market, companies face
the possibility of losing market share; thus they often seek other markets for their
products. This usually means entering international markets, initially by exporting
products but ultimately by building production facilities in other countries. The
international corporation is essentially a domestic firm that builds on its existing
capabilities to penetrate overseas markets. Companies such as Procter & Gamble,
Honda and General Electric used this approach to gain access to Europe—they es-
sentially adapted existing products for overseas markets without changing much
else about their normal operations (Snell & Morris, 2019).

The decision to participate in international competition raises a host of HRM
issues. All the problems regarding locating facilities are magnified. For example,
HRM professionals must consider whether a particular location provides an en-
vironment where human resources can be successfully acquired and managed.

Global. The global corporation, on the other hand, can be viewed as a multina-
tional frim that maintains control of its operations worldwide from the country in
which it is headquartered. Japanese companies, such as NEC and Matsuhita, tend
to treat the world market as a unified whole and try to combine their activities in
each country to maximize their efficiencies on a global scale. These companies
operate much like a domestic firm, except that they view the whole world as their

Global organizations compete on state-of-the-art, top-quality products and ser-
vices and do so with the lowest cost possible. Whereas MNCs attempt to develop
identical products distributed worldwide, global companies increasingly empha-
size flexibility and mass customization of products to meet the needs of particular
clients. MNCs are usually driven to locate facilities in a country as a means of
reaching that country’s market or lowering production costs, and the company
must deal with the differences across the countries. Global organizations, on the
other hand, choose to locate a facility based on the ability to effectively, efficient-
ly, and flexibly produce a product or service and attempt to create synergy through
the cultural differences.

This creates the need for HRM systems that encourage flexible production
(thus presenting a host of HRM issues). These companies proactively consider the
sociocultural, political, economic, and technological systems to determine where
production facilities can be located to provide a competitive advantage. Global
companies have multiple headquarters spread across the globe, resulting in less
hierarchically structured organizations that emphasize decentralized decision
making. This results in the need for HRM systems that recruit, develop, retain,
and use employees who are competent transnationally.

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Globalization and Human Resource Management • 41

Transnational. Finally, a transnational corporation attempts to achieve the lo-
cal responsiveness of a multinational corporation while also achieving the effi-
ciencies of a global firm. To balance this “global/local” dilemma, a transnational
uses a network structure that coordinates specialized facilities positioned around
the world. More specifically, transnational corporations use geo-diversity to great
advantage, placing their top executives and core corporate functions in different
countries to gain a competitive edge through the availability of talent or capital,
low costs, or proximity to their most important customers. Of course, it is all
made possible by the Internet, as improved communication facilitates an inte-
grated global network of operations.

By using this flexible structure, a transnational provides autonomy to inde-
pendent country operations but brings these separate activities together into an
integrated whole. For most companies, the transnational form represents an ideal,
rather than a reality. McDonald’s is an example of a transnational corporation,
especially with culture-specific food items, like India’s vegetarian McAloo Tikki,
the McKebab in Israel, or a Hawaiian Deluxe Breakfast complete with span, rice,
eggs, and hash browns. With over 31,000 restaurants across 119 countries serving
58 million people each day, it makes sense that McDonald’s overseas revenue
makes up nearly 65 percent of their total revenue, and that they cater McDonalds’
core burger-fries-and-shakes menu to local tastes (Johnson, 2011).

The development of transnationals has led to a fundamental rethinking about
the nature of a multinational company. Does it have a home country? What does
headquarters mean? Is it possible to fragment corporate functions like HRM glob-
ally? To be sure, organizational structure directly affects all HRM functions from
recruitment through retirement because to be effective, HRM must be integrated
into the overall strategy of the organization. Indeed, from the perspective of stra-
tegic management, the fundamental problem is to keep the strategy, structure, and
HRM dimensions of the organization in direct alignment (See Briscoe & Schuler,
2012) while being respectful of local country laws or regulations.


Entry into international markets creates a host of HRM issues, challenges, prob-
lems, and opportunities that must be addressed by HRM professionals and other
organizational members if a company is to not only survive but also thrive in a
global environment. Once the choice has been made to compete in a global arena,
companies must seek to manage employees who are sent to foreign countries as
well as local employees. And this results in another issue facing international
organizations, the extent to which their HRM practices should either ‘converge’
worldwide to be basically the same in each location, or ‘diverge’ to be differenti-
ated in response to local requirements. There is a natural tendency for managerial
traditions in the parent company to shape to the nature of key decisions, but there
are strong arguments for giving as much local autonomy as possible in order to

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ensure that local requirements are sufficiently taken into account. (This is known
as the global/local dilemma) (see Andrews, 2011). Convergence may be increas-
ing as a result of the following factors:

• The power of markets
• The importance of cost
• Quality and productivity pressures
• The development of like-minded international cadres
• The widespread practice of benchmarking ‘best practices.’

However, before focusing on these challenges it is important for HRM profes-
sionals to first understand what is meant by international human resources man-
agement (IHRM) and the different levels of participation in international markets.
This is especially important because as noted previously a company becomes
more involved in international trade, different types of HRM issues, challenges,
problems, and opportunities arise.

Broadly defined, global or IHRM is the process of procuring, allocating, and
effectively utilizing human resources in an international business. More specifi-
cally, global or international human resource management (IHRM) is the process
of employing, developing and rewarding people in international or global organi-
zations. It involves the world-wide management of people, not just the manage-
ment of expatriates. An international organization or firm is one in which opera-
tions take place in subsidiaries overseas, which rely on the business expertise or
manufacturing capacity of the parent company. Such companies or organizations
bring with them their own management attitudes and business styles. HRM pro-
fessionals of such organizations cannot afford to ignore the international influ-
ences on their work.

IHRM involves a number of issues not present when the activities of the com-
pany or organization are confined to one country. For example,

• The variety of international organizational models that exist
• The extent to which HRM policy and practice should vary in different coun-

tries. (This is also known as the issue of Convergence and Divergence).
• The problem of managing people in different cultures and environments.
• The approaches used to select, deploy, develop and reward expatriates

who could be nationals of the parent company or ‘third-country nationals’
(TCNs)—nationals of countries other than the parent company who work
abroad in subsidiaries of that organization.

How Does Globalization Affect HRM?

Globalization has made us a multicultural society which has implications on
HRM professionals and their function in a company’s host and other countries.
There are four theoretical frameworks that can help HRM professionals and other

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Globalization and Human Resource Management • 43

company employees explore the influences on HRM across international bound-
aries, including: cultural, institutional, universal and contingency perspectives
(White, 2015).

The cultural perspective suggests there are clear cultural differences between
nationalities and these should be recognized. International corporations which
accept and recognize these cultural differences in managing employees through
HRM practices will be successful in their host countries.

The institutional perspective accepts there are differences that need to be un-
derstood and recognized within societies and these have an impact on the HRM
practices, but it rejects the concept that certain practices, such as recruitment and
selection, performance management and reward lead to improved organizational
performance as these practices may mean different things within different societ-

The universal perspective approach claims that certain HRM practices, such
as performance management, recruitment and selection and reward lead to higher
organizational performance. It has been suggested that HRM practices that are
successful in the home country should be adopted into the host country (March-
ington & Wilkinson, 2012). A criticism of this viewpoint is that it does not take
into account internal and external factors, such as the characteristics of the orga-
nization or the culture of its host country (White, 2015).

Finally, the contingency perspective depends on both the internal and external
factors of an organization for the take up of HR practices. The key features for
HRM are the location of the organization, the product market, the organizations
life cycle stage and if the organization is privately owned or a joint venture. Each
of these factors will have an effect on HRM, for example where the organization
is based will depend on the HR practices and policies it deploys.

Impacts and Implications on HRM

Given the above one can argue that the impacts and implications on HRM in
global or international or multinational corporations depends on the type of orga-
nization, it’s product life cycle and the core belief of its hierarchy (Marchington
& Wilkinson, 2012). Edwards (2011) takes this view further and outlines that the
influences are categorized into home country/country of origin effects, dominance
effects, international integration effects and host country effects.

The home country/country of origin view supports the enforcing of headquar-
ter HRM practices from the home country across all countries where there is a
subsidiary. All countries where there is a subsidiary for the multinational corpora-
tion will adopt a single approach to HRM practices, such as recruitment and selec-
tion, reward and performance management. Using this model means the global or
multinational or international company doesn’t take into account local culture and
practice when implementing HRM practices.

The dominance effect supports a standard approach of HRM practices across
all countries for the multinational, global or international corporation as this is

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seen to be best practice internationally. Again this doesn’t take into account local
culture and practices in which the international corporation operates.

The international integration effect relates to the extent at which the interna-
tional, global or multinational corporations build closer relationships across dif-
ferent borders. In some instances, the corporation may move their headquarters
from their home country to other regional countries, adopting their exiting HRM
policies while also bringing some best HRM practice from the home country.

The host country effect adopts the HRM practices and policies of the host
country in which the corporation operates in. This could be due to it being too
difficult to enforce the home country HRM practices and policies due to cultural
differences or the practices and policies in place do not need to be changed.

Globalization is seen to be a complex and controversial subject with many
supporters and critics. As briefly discussed earlier, the implications on HRM pro-
fessionals and their functions for international corporations are dependent on a
variety of factors. Market pressures and local influences, such as culture, have
strong implications on HRM practices implemented by global corporations with
research supporting the view of the complexities and different influences. It can
be argued therefore that there is no one best fit for HRM practices for all organiza-
tions across the globe, but there are some best fit processes that can be incorpo-
rated along with the local culture and business practice.

Today’s organizations are becoming more international and having systems,
policies and process in place to be able to deal with this changing landscape of
a host companies’ workforce is paramount. A system, for example, for employ-
ees that supports multiple language and different data formats will help improve
engagement as employees can manage their own data in their native language.
This also enables organizations to roll out employee self-service access to other
countries, as well as providing non-host country nationals who work for the cor-
porations to use the application in their chosen language.

Global HRM is an umbrella term that includes all aspects of an organization’s
HRM, payroll, and talent management processes operating on a global scale.
As technological innovations make it easier for organizations to conduct busi-
ness across the world, global expansion and accompanying HRM policies and
procedures as noted earlier has become an increasing reality—if not necessity.
Operating human resources across geographic and cultural boundaries can often
prove difficult for global organizations. Nonetheless, with the widespread use of
technology, the ability to communicate with anyone around the world and access
to new and varied markets, international HRM issues like those briefly discussed
below are important for HRM professionals to grasp.

Language. As briefly noted earlier, one of the more obvious effects of work-
force globalization is the need for language services such as translation. Employ-
ees from foreign countries who speak different languages often must travel to
meet or communicate with others inside the organization. This has caused more
companies to hire foreign language translators. Translators help employees from

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Globalization and Human Resource Management • 45

different countries communicate during meetings or at events. They also help U.S.
employees traveling to foreign countries interact with the local employees, part-
ners and customers.

Culture. Developing a global organizational culture is much more complex
than building one domestically. The point of a common culture is that employ-
ees share norms and values. When a corporation’s employees come from varying
cultures themselves, they inherently have distinct differences in their own view
of work, communication and other aspects of the company. Thus, HRM profes-
sionals must work diligently to train employees on cultural sensitivity and find
common points shared by employees throughout the organization. Virtual work
teams often are used to promote cross-cultural teamwork.

Localization. Even while trying to create a global culture, HRM professionals
often have to emphasize localization in each country. This correlates with strate-
gies used by companies as they enter foreign markets and try to build good rap-
port with local communities. This means having strong hiring and training pro-
cesses at national and local levels and compensation and motivation systems that
fit well with each country of operation.

Compliance with International Laws. One effect of globalization on HRM
is the need for businesses to understand and apply the laws of many different
jurisdictions to the particular business. The federal government sets out a number
of tax and labor laws that businesses operating in the United States must comply
with, but there may also be local and regional laws that apply to companies that
operate in different states or different countries.

As companies decide to expand into the global marketplace or as they hire
employees from diverse geographic and cultural backgrounds, they may have to
adapt to new labor laws and tax liabilities. Doing business in Europe, for example,
will require the firm to pay value added tax. Hiring employees at branch locations
in different locations might change the requirements on minimum wage, tax al-
lowances or working hours. Also, hiring employees who are non-naturalized US
citizens might require HRM to apply for work visas and report economic data to
the federal government. Compliance with international law can be an issue for
companies that have little to no experience in the global environment, because
these laws tend to be complex and sometimes difficult to implement. Keeping
well-informed of the legal requirements for the business’s operations can help al-
leviate some of this complexity. Therefore, understanding a countries’ laws is vi-
tally essential to the organization because any breach of them will have a serious
impact not only on the business’s financial well-being but also on its reputation.

Diversity Recruitment & Cultural Diversity. Globalization makes for a
larger labor pool from which to choose, but it also increases the possibility of
language and cultural barriers in the recruitment process. If the company does
not address such barriers, it can make the recruitment process increasingly time-
consuming and difficult. HRM professionals must adapt to the different customs
and cultures when hiring employees in different countries. Language barriers also

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may necessitate hiring bilingual employees and adapting employee documents,
such as employee manuals and training materials, into different languages.

Globalization also means that companies of all sizes are now interacting with
customers and stakeholders from diverse cultures, languages and social back-
grounds. In response, many HRM professionals seek to hire employees from
equally diverse backgrounds. Companies engaging in this diversity recruitment
recognize the value of having people on staff that their customers can relate to,
and they know that having a team of diverse people contributes to the range of
ideas and influences within the organization.

Successful diversity recruitment in international HRM is dependent upon un-
derstanding and maintaining cultural diversity. Working with people from differ-
ent locations or from different cultural backgrounds means adapting the compa-
ny’s work style to new ideas, new ways of communicating and unfamiliar social
practices. If the company hires an employee from England, for example, the em-
ployee might have different ideas about how to manage employees or on how to
run technology processes based on their own experiences back home. Being open
to new work styles and cultural differences is the hallmark of cultural diversity
in HRM.

Benefits and Compensation. Benefits and compensation are the backbone
of any HRM strategy, but in international HRM, benefits and compensation are
even more important in focusing on the work-life balance of employees. The
idea behind work-life balance is to provide employees with programs and initia-
tives that improve both their personal and professional lives. This is considered
part of international HRM, because many multinational companies have already
implemented programs such as flexible working time, paternity leave, extended
holidays and on-site childcare. In fact, many nations around the world, including
much of Europe, mandate these programs by law. Implementing them on the lo-
cal scale is one of the challenges and, ultimately, rewards of international HRM.

Training and Development. Related to the idea of benefits and compensation
in international HRM are training and professional development programs. Train-
ing programs typically encompass in-house seminars and meetings designed to
give employees on-the-job knowledge of skills that are important to doing busi-
ness globally. HRM might offer language classes to expatriates, for example, or a
company might host language classes to give its call center staff an edge in tele-
phone sales. It might also teach its employees how to use a new global software
platform. This emphasis on training seeks to give the company a competitive edge
in the global marketplace by honing the employees’ diversity emphasis.

Professional development is concerned with providing employees opportuni-
ties to achieve their career-related goals and very often encompasses the “extra”
training that HRM provides to its employees, such as providing them resources
to earn a college or university degree, allowing them to attend networking events
and conferences, global training seminars and other specific competency-based
programs. Professional development also helps expatriates, for example, to hone

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Globalization and Human Resource Management • 47

their skills in global marketing, international business development and finance
trends. Professional development is important to globalization because it creates
a win-win situation. The employees feel as though the organization is concerned
with providing a range of skills and competencies for their employees. Likewise,
the organization benefits from the added skills and connections that the employees
who take advantage of professional development programs acquire.

Impact of Globalization on the HRM Function and Professionals

As globalization continues to expand, the functions within global or interna-
tional companies all are impacted. It is not unusual for employees to fear being
replaced by a cheaper workforce overseas and executives are required to learn the
various cultural differences and regulatory environments in which they operate.
But in the author’s view none of the departments and employees are affected as
much as HRM and professionals that must manage the workforce at home and
abroad. Technology is available that can help HRM professionals manage the pro-
cesses involved in globalization, but there are downsides for HRM professionals
and other leaders and managers who must deal with languages, time differences
and employment rules around the world.

Job and Roles Redefined. One of the positive aspects of globalization on
HRM is redefining the role of the HRM professional within global organizations.
Instead of managing the minutia involved with the administration of employee
benefits and payroll, which continues to be outsourced, HRM professionals in-
creasingly play a larger role in the company by being involved with strategic plan-
ning and developing strategic HRM programs to, for example, train and improve
the diverse and global workforce.

The Potential for Recruitment Grows Substantially. Like in many of their
domestic organizations HRM professionals are no longer bound by the physical
boundaries of their local area when their company moves into the global playing
field. As a result, HRM’s recruitment efforts become easier and more diverse as
they have a wider pool of talent from which to draw. The larger employee pool is
especially notable in the higher-skilled categories where there often is a gap be-
tween supply and demand. Businesses may thrive with competitive products and
services, but cannot survive globally without the right mix of talented employees
that HRM professionals are responsible for identifying, recruiting, selecting, on-
boarding, training and developing, and compensating, and so on.

Critical HRM Technology Changes Occur. For companies that retain bene-
fits, compensation, payroll deductions, employee training and performance evalu-
ations in-house, HRM professionals increasingly are tasked with operating new
computer systems required to manage a global workforce. Hundreds of vendors
can provide global companies with the appropriate software programs to deal
with the numerous HRM tasks, but someone still has to evaluate the appropriate
fit for the corporation and operation of the systems. HRM professionals have to

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expend considerable time and effort to learn new platforms when their companies
rely on the latest software to manage a worldwide workforce.

Challenging Cultural Differences. Perhaps one of the most challenging as-
pects of globalization on HRM professionals is the need to discover and learn the
cultural differences at play with their new global workforce. HRM professionals
must learn how best to communicate company goals and missions, integrate di-
verse value systems into their companies and coordinate the activities of all their
employees to achieve their goals. HRM professionals in the home office must also
build working relationships with frontline managers to communicate company
policies, ensure new hires understand the parameters of their employment and
translate company directives for workers. HRM professionals need to develop an
understanding of the living conditions and training processes in other countries
and follow foreign employment regulations, labor relations laws and organized
labor issues, as well as figure out how to create effective performance appraisals
often from afar. More than ever, HRM professionals must partner with and rely
on the local supervisors or managers on the ground to communicate vital HRM
information, rather than relying on their own training and abilities.


Globalization is a polarizing subject that is not easily defined. Globalization al-
lows for increased competition, lifts barriers to entry for developing countries,
helps to promote economic growth and works to unify the world’s economies.
Globalization provides opportunities for businesses to invest in foreign markets
and to gain access to new capital. A key concern in achieving financial results
through globalization is the effect it has on a firm. Bringing employees together
despite distance and cultural differences is a challenge company leaders and HRM
professionals must continue to tackle.

As is the case with domestic organizations, the HRM of company is an integral
party of its success. HRM for todays and tomorrow’s global corporation that oper-
ates in multiple countries presents many cultural and socio-economic challenges.
Globalization has many positive and negative effects on any global or interna-
tional corporation’s HRM function and professionals.

Global HRM efforts will continue to present particular issues, challenges and
opportunities for HRM professionals. There are a number of best practices avail-
able to HRM professionals and other organizational leaders for managing an or-
ganization’s most valuable resource—it’s people at work. Much of what has been
discussed throughout this chapter and others in this book on HRM can be ap-
plied to both domestic and internationally successful organizations that are able
to sustain and prolong their success through the way they manage their human

While there are many similarities, global HRM is distinct from domestic HRM
because of its broader perspective, the greater scope of activities included in
global HRM, and the higher level of risk associated with global HRM activities.

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Globalization and Human Resource Management • 49

Today’s and tomorrow’s global organizations will continue to take any one of a
number of different approaches to HRM, with the choice depending on political
and legal regulations; the managerial, educational, and technological develop-
ment in the host country; and differences between the home and host cultures.

HRM professionals will need to increase their skill and competence in working
with other organizational members to successfully coordinate global or interna-
tional HRM operations in a variety of countries, each with its own local cultural,
legal, and traditional influences. In the years to come HRM professionals must
ensure that their organization’s policies are flexible enough to allow for these lo-
cal variations while not losing sight of the fact that such policies also must be de-
veloped to help achieve the overall strategic global objectives of the corporation.

Increased care must be taken by HRM professionals in developing the various
HRM activities to ensure that they take into consideration each local country’s
cultural and legal nuances. Staffing, training and development, performance ap-
praisal, compensation, workplace safety, management of labor relations and the
use of expatriates versus locals are of paramount concern to successful global
HRM (see Cascio, 2019; Mello, 2019; Mathis et al., 2017; Noe et al., 2019; Snell
& Morris, 2019).

Like all of the other HRM activities discussed in this book, HRM profession-
als and other managers and leaders must recognize the important role that glo-
balization and its impact and implications for its employees can have on their
organization’s success in the international arena. The collective HRM activities
all play important roles in developing and sustaining competitive advantages for
a global organization. Today and in the future the organization’s ability to attract,
develop, and retain a talented workforce will be a critical factor in developing a
high-performance, successful international organization.

The ‘universalistic’ approach to HRM must be rejected by HRM professionals
as the basic functions of HRM are given different weights among countries and
are carried out differently. In addition, the cultural differences among countries
have produced the slogan in global or international HRM “Think GLOBALLY
and act LOCALLY.” This means that an international balancing act is required
by HRM professionals and their organizations, which leads to the fundamental
assumption made by Bartlett and Ghoshal (1991) that balancing the needs of co-
ordination, control and autonomy and maintaining the appropriate balance are
critical to the success of the multinational company.

In concluding this chapter it is important for HRM professionals to remember
that the recent uncertainty in global politics and the continued business risks mean
that global companies and their HRM professionals will continue to face some
difficult challenges in the coming years. HRM professionals will need to increas-
ingly be aware of the many factors that significantly affect HRM in a global en-
vironment, such as political, economic, sociocultural, and technological, and that
they understand how these factors come into play in the various levels of global
participation. Finally, it requires that HRM professionals be adept at understand-

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ing the impact and implications of globalization on the broader corporation, its
employees and on their role in helping to effectively manage the company’s most
important resource, its people, to gain and sustain competitive advantage in to-
day’s and tomorrow’s global marketplace.


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