An Introduction to International Hrm

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  • Topic: Human resource management, Human resources, Labour economics
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  • Published : February 21, 2011
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International human resource management: an introduction
CHAPTER OBJECTIVES When they have read this chapter, students will: ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶



appreciate the growing internationalisation of the world in which HRM is conducted understand the additional complexity of HRM in an international context be able to describe the key features of the three main approaches to IHRM be able to identify some of the key HR challenges facing organisations working internation- ally

know the format of the rest of the book.

This chapter starts with a general introduction to the text – it outlines the dual objectives of the text: ¶ to give readers a better understanding of international HRM in a way that will help them as practitioners ¶ and, for those who are concerned, to help them get through the International Personnel and Development element of the CIPD Standards. The first section explains what is new about this latest edition of the book. The next section (Key trends) considers the background of the growth of international business and the implications for HRM. The third section (International HRM) outlines the importance of countries and presents the three main approaches to IHRM: cultural, comparative and international. In so doing it explores the differences between domestic and international HRM for practitioners. The final section of this chapter (An outline of the book) provides a guide to the other chapters in the book. LEARNING ACTIVITY ¶ From your experience and study of the subject, what do you consider to be the key elements of ‘best practice’ in HRM?

¶ To what extent can these be applied on a global level? (Identify the reasons underlying your arguments.)

The aim of this text remains the same: to help you explore the meaning and implications of the concepts of international and comparative human resource management. We do not assume that there is only one 1 A free sample from International Human Resource Management 2nd Edition by Chris Brewster, Paul Sparrow and Guy Vernon. Published by the CIPD. Copyright � CIPD 2003, 2007 All rights reser ved; no part of this excerpt may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior written permission of the Publishers or a licence permitting restricted copying in the United Kingdom issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. If you would like to purchase this book please visit

International Human Resource Management

way of defining or understanding the nature of HRM. On the contrary, we believe that HRM varies according to the cultural and institutional environment in which it is conducted. A crucial aspect of this environment is the country in which HRM is conducted. This text addresses directly the issues raised by the fact that HRM is different from country to country. One effect that this must have is on people like you, who are trying to gain an understanding of the full range of meanings of HRM. Another effect is on those, like some of you, trying to manage HRM in organisations whose reach crosses national boundaries. These issues are covered in this text. A key task for organisations which operate across international boundaries is to manage the different stresses of the drive for integration (being coherent across the world) and differentiation (being adaptive to local environments). Reading this text will give you some flavour of the way that HRM – and particularly what is seen as ‘good’ HRM – is defined differently in different national cultures, and is presented and operates differently in different national institutional environments; some flavour, too, of the ways in which international organisations attempt to deal with the issues these differences create. We believe that the text will be of value to anyone involved in, or interested in, comparative and...
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