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Multinational Human Resource Management and the Law

Common Workplace Problems in Different Legal Environments

Matthew W. Finkin, Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Takashi Araki, Philipp Fischinger, Roberto Fragale Filho, Andrew Stewart and Bernd Waas

Multinational corporations face considerable complexity in setting the terms and conditions of employment. Differing national laws prevent firms from developing consistent sets of employment policies, but, at the same time, employees are often expected to work closely with colleagues located in many different countries and seek comparable treatment. This critical volume offers a comprehensive analysis of how these contradictory issues are dealt with in five countries – Australia, Brazil, Germany, Japan and the United States.
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Matthew W. Finkin, Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Takashi Araki, Philipp Fischinger, Roberto Fragale Filho, Andrew Stewart and Bernd Waas


A global multinational corporation will have various divisions and lines of business, each of which will depend on an array of suppliers around the world. Increasingly, suppliers are responsible for high value-added parts of the business, not just component parts or low value-added services. As the extended enterprise includes suppliers playing crucial roles, broader questions are posed around the need for consistency in labor and employment policies as they apply across the entire enterprise. Indeed, employees in these distributed operations are increasingly making claims that corporate policies apply in their various circumstances. Concurrently, the consuming public and even some governments are holding corporations responsible for working conditions in the supply chain. Indeed, companies that advertise their projects as “fair trade” or that otherwise highlight aspects of working conditions among their suppliers are seeking a market advantage based on the supply chain employment practices. Part VII poses four problems that center on the complexities of setting employment policy across the extended enterprise of a corporation. The first problem (Problem 18) centers on an integrated lean/six sigma system across a corporation and its suppliers. The second problem (Problem 19) centers on an integrated safety operating system and the third problem (Problem 20) centers on a global “zero tolerance” policy on discrimination, again applying across suppliers in a global corporation. At stake here is the challenge of national labor and employment policies and administrative procedures being applied not just to a multinational corporation, but also to its suppliers.

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