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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 22: A Resource-Based View of International Human Resources: Toward a Framework of Integrative and Creative Capabilities

Shad S. Morris, Scott A. Snell and Patrick M. Wright


Shad S. Morris, Scott A. Snell and Patrick M. Wright Few will argue against the importance of international human resource management (IHRM) in today’s multinational corporation (MNC). A wide range of issues, which varies from global sourcing and off-shoring to regional trade agreements and labour standards to strategic alliances and innovation, all point to the vital nature of IHRM in today’s global economy. In fact some observers have suggested that how firms manage their workforces is among the strongest predictors of successful as opposed to unsuccessful MNCs (cf. Bartlett & Ghoshal, 1989; Doz & Prahalad, 1986; Hedlund, 1986). Researchers have adopted a number of different theoretical approaches for studying IHRM. Not surprisingly, the resource-based view (RBV) of the firm has emerged as perhaps the predominant perspective (Wright, Dunford & Snell, 2001). RBV is particularly attractive to IHRM researchers in that it focuses directly on the potential value of a firm’s internal asset stocks for conceiving and executing various strategies. This perspective departs from traditional Input/Output (I/O) economic models of competitive advantage that focus on the structure of markets as the primary determinant of firm performance (Barney, 1991; Wernerfelt, 1984). Also in contrast with I/O economic models, the RBV is based on the assumption that resources are (a) distributed heterogeneously across firms, and (b) remain imperfectly mobile over time. Because these asset stocks are unequal, there is the potential for comparative advantage. And when the resources are immobile, that advantage may be difficult to appropriate or imitate, thereby conferring a sustainable...

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