Human Resources Management

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Human Resource Management International Digest
Emerald Article: HR's future in a global setting Peter Reilly

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To cite this document: Peter Reilly, (2012),"HR's future in a global setting", Human Resource Management International Digest, Vol. 20 Iss: 3 pp. 3 - 5 Permanent link to this document: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09670731211224285 Downloaded on: 02-12-2012 References: This document contains references to 2 other documents To copy this document: permissions@emeraldinsight.com This document has been downloaded 1389 times since 2012. *

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Viewpoint
HR’s future in a global setting
Peter Reilly
Introduction
As more and more organizations are touched by globalization and expand their activities beyond their home base, the critical question to me is whether they seek to export their current conception of HR management or are prepared to adjust it to suit the new circumstances they find. Peter Reilly is Director HR Research and Consultancy, Institute for Employment Studies, London, UK.

Behind this question there are a couple of possible assumptions that need to be teased out: B B

Are societies moving towards a single global culture based on Western, liberal values? Is there one best way of doing HR or should the approach be determined by context?

Cultural convergence?
As we argue in our latest book (Reilly and Williams, 2012) the evidence for cultural convergence is complex and mixed. At a superficial level – technology, retail products, lifestyles – it appears that societies are moving together and especially quickly among the on-line, younger generation. Moreover, there are increasing appeals to universal values from President Obama through the Arab Spring to Chinese dissidents and these are articulated in statements like the United Nations’ ‘‘Global Compact’’. The said values underpin and permit the operation of a rules-based market economy. However, one should not ignore the resilience of local cultures, especially those less exposed to outside influence, and the effect that ‘‘national business systems’’ (‘‘the interlocking institutions that shape the markets, nature of competition and general business activity of a country’’ (Martin, 2006)) have in shaping and reflecting the different ways we do things round here. To give a few examples: attitudes to and legal provision on data protection, the acceptability of nepotism, the importance of age and seniority, social obligations all still vary considerably between, and sometimes within, continents.

Best practice?
In academic circles there has been much discussion between advocates of a common approach to HR that if implemented anywhere will lead to improved organizational performance versus those who believe that HR practice has to fit the context – type of organization, location, business principles, etc. In the global setting, should we accept that say a Western performance management system based on objective setting and...
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