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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 27: Gender and International Human Resource Management

Jeff Hearn, Beverly D. Metcalfe and Rebecca Piekkari


Jeff Hearn, Beverly D. Metcalfe and Rebecca Piekkari Niall Fitzgerald, co-chairman [sic.] of Unilever . . . brought together for a weeklong leadership exercise . . . the multinational’s top 100 managers . . . In an interview in the Financial Times (17/06/03), he recalls his dismayed reaction when he discovered not one woman was to be found in the group: ‘My God, how can we have put so much work into gender diversity and I see no reflection of it in the top leadership?’ (Cited in EFQM, 2003) International Human Resource Management (IHRM) is not usually examined from a gender perspective. In contrast, this chapter addresses the relation of gender to IHRM, primarily in the context of multinational corporations (MNCs). Although IHRM as a field encompasses crosscultural management and comparative research on HR systems and industrial relations in different countries, much of the field, both practically and academically, focuses on human resource activities and implications in multinationals (see, for example, Dowling & Welch, 2004). As Schuler, Budhwar and Florkowski (2004: 356) write, ‘The purpose of IHRM is to enable the firm, the multinational enterprise, to be successful globally.’ This does not mean that gender and IHRM would be unimportant for smalland medium-sized companies, yet these issues have received even less scholarly attention in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and in companies in early stages of internationalization. This chapter examines the following issues. First, what is gender? Second, what is meant by gendered organizations and gendered management? Third, what has gender to do with IHRM? Next, the...

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