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Handbook of Research in International Human Resource Management

Edited by Günter K. Stahl and Ingmar Björkman

In providing an insightful overview of a wide range of global human resource issues facing MNCs, this pathbreaking Handbook highlights emergent topics and new research findings that could shape the field of future IHRM research. Theoretical discussion of the variables and processes that affect IHRM policies and practices is provided by renowned contributors with widely differing academic backgrounds, paradigmatic orientations, and theoretical and methodological approaches.
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Chapter 20: International Joint Venture System Complexity and Human Resource Management

Randall Schuler and Ibraiz Tarique


Randall Schuler and Ibraiz Tarique An increasing number of organizations are entering new global markets as they seek to develop and sustain a competitive advantage in today’s highly competitive global environment (Taylor, 2004; Ernst & Halevy, 2004). To accomplish this international expansion, organizations can and do use many different market entry strategies (Narula & Duysters, 2004; Briscoe & Schuler, 2004; Beamish & Kachra, 2004; Newburry & Zeira, 1997; Child & Faulkner 1998). Prior research has shown that cross-border alliances, particularly international joint ventures (IJVs) are perhaps the most popular means of international expansion (Ernst & Halevy, 2004; Briscoe & Schuler, 2004; Schuler, Jackson & Luo, 2004). Despite their popularity, however, IJVs are difficult to develop, organize and manage. Research has shown that a majority of IJVs fall short of their stated goals, leading to costly failures (Schuler et al., 2004; Luo, 2000; Evans, Pucik & Barsoux, 2002). While external environmental forces like the legal system, political system and state of the economy, and organizational forces like partner differences and contract terms contribute to failures, a large proportion of IJV failure can be attributed to inefficient management of human resources (Arino & Reuer, 2004; Beamish & Kachra, 2004). Human resource problems stem from, among many things, the fact that IJVs involve managing the goals of two or more partner organizations, while simultaneously maintaining a competitive strength in multiple global markets (Arino & Reuer, 2004; Bouchet, Soellner & Lim, 2004). Despite their difficulties, however, IJVs have the potential to produce great benefits for companies (Bouchet et al., 2004; Schuler et...

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