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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


Twenty-one specific problems in six separate areas that multinational corporate human resource managers are likely to confront have been posed. These have been worked through the laws of five very different countries. The analyses and discussion of them has wanted in neither detail nor nuance. The time has come to step back from the welter of detail to place what has been learned about these legal systems in a larger comparative context. To begin with we will offer six conceptual categories to guide the discussion: (A) legal origin or family; (B) legal culture; (C) the political economy of capitalism; (D) national values; (E) the transmission and transplantation of law; and (F) the diffusion of corporate culture and managerial practice across borders. We will conclude with on the overall implications for practice and policy. From the nineteenth century, at least, legal scholars have taken to devising a taxonomy of European legal systems. As Jaakko Husa observes: Comparative law is and has always been fascinated by the idea of thinking and conceiving of law as a representative of a larger category of being. The epistemic need to draw a global map of law has been the undeniable motivational force; there is even today an urge to rise above the micro-level complexities and a desire to try to conceive law as a global phenomenon. For some comparative lawyers to think globally equals to stress the commonalities, i.e. that which is similar (integrative comparison), whereas, to others this means to appreciate and to underline the differences (contrastive comparison) between legal systems.

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