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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 26: International Human Resource Management, Fairness and Trust: An Organizational Support Theory Framework

Ellen Whitener


Ellen Whitener P&G [Proctor and Gamble] has implemented a global candidate management system [selection system] which uses a common set of assessment factors and common assessment tools, such as a scorable application with an embedded biodata instrument, a problem solving test, an English proficiency test, and a structured interview . . . Variations across regions can occur due to local practices, local labor pools, or lack of trust in validated assessment tools. Generalizing across cultures, P&G tends to find that applicants generally prefer biodata instruments to cognitive tests . . . [and] P&G finds that local candidates . . . have trust issues based on their lack of experience with new selection tools or practices. (Wiechmann, Ryan & Hemingway, 2003: 79) International Human Resource Management (IHRM) is ‘the set of distinct activities, functions, and processes that are directed at attracting, developing, and maintaining . . . [a multinational corporation’s (MNC)] . . . human resources. It is thus the aggregate of the various HRM systems used to manage people in the MNC, both at home and overseas’ (Taylor, Beechler & Napier, 1996: 960). As P&G has experienced, IHRM embodies fundamental tensions between global and local practices and corporate and local cultures (Schuler, Dowling & De Cieri, 1993), tensions that result in ‘trust issues’ that can derail the effectiveness of the IHRM system. Executives work hard to create a corporate human resource system that selects, develops and manages applicants, candidates and employees efficiently and effectively throughout the organization and builds trust in the organization (Whitener, 1997). To direct and support their...

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