How Can HR Drive Growth?

How Can HR Drive Growth?

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by George Saridakis and Cary L. Cooper

The ten up-to date research reviews that are presented in this book provide new insights into the HR academic literature. The chapters provide clear lessons that can be learnt from, along with strategies, approaches and processes in which HR could be used by both practitioners and policy makers to drive growth.

Chapter 2: Managing human resources in international organizations

Anthony McDonnell, Hugh Scullion and Jonathan Lavelle

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour, strategic management


The topic of international human resource management (IHRM) has gained importance in the field of international business and become a key issue for senior managers in multinational enterprises (MNEs). The issues and challenges facing organizations operating across national borders has a long history, and the importance of physically relocating managers to foreign locations where business operations are based has been recognized for centuries (Moore and Lewis, 1999: 66–7). The role of parent country national expatriates dominated the research agenda of IHRM for much of the latter part of the 20th century, which reflected the ethnocentric view of multinational management adopted by many companies and researchers, particularly from North America (Scullion and Brewster, 2001). In recent years, scholarship from a more critical European perspective has emerged which is less ethnocentric in nature. For many years IHRM was one of the least studied areas of international business (Brewster and Scullion, 1997; McDonnell et al., 2011a) but the theoretical and empirical foundations of IHRM alongside their application in practice have developed significantly since the 1980s when the field was very much in its infancy. A comprehensive review of the field argued that “as an area of research, IHRM is vibrant and diverse and has grown even more so in the last decade” (Lazarova , 2006: 43). This can in no small part be ascribed to globalization and the increasing consensus that the effective management of a firm’s human resources can bring competitive advantage.

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