Int. J. of Human Resource Management 16:1 January 2005 22– 45
Strategic global human resource
management research in the twenty-ﬁrst
century: an endorsement of the
mixed-method research methodology
Timothy Kiessling and Michael Harvey
Abstract Global competition is rapidly becoming the norm in which nearly all business organizations must compete in one fashion or another. The complexity and value of strategic global human resource management (SGHRM) will continue to compound in signiﬁcance as globalization becomes the predominate form of business. Both practitioners and researchers maintain the grapple with understanding the global phenomena and the resulting impact on the entire human resource management system.
Previously, researchers’ maintained research programmes utilizing Western-style theories and methods, which were predominantly quantitative, to explore phenomena that may now be inappropriate. These methods and theories frequently do not capture the ‘fabric’ of global phenomena that include complex interactions of culture, institutions, societal norms and government regulations, among a few concerns.
The mixed methods approach is proposed to add the ‘fabric’ required, illustrating the depth and ﬂexibility needed to explore the SGHRM issues. Mixed methods are a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches that maintain methodological rigour as well as measures for reliability and validity. This paper explores the current methods, the reasons for their lack of success in portraying the depth of the phenomena and why the mixed methods approach appears to be a superior method for research for the SGHRM ﬁeld. Keywords Strategic global human resource management; globalization; mix-method research; global research issues.
Cross-cultural research can be tenure threatening choice.
(Steers et al., 1992)
Cross-cultural research is not for the faint hearted.
(Teagarden et al., 1995: 1261)
Both human resource practitioners and researchers alike are concerned with the shift towards globalization of business and the resulting impact on strategic global human resource management (SGHRM) (Martin and Beaumont, 1998; Lepak and Snell, 1999;
Michael Harvey (address for correspondence), Hearin Chair of Global Business University of Mississippi (tel: þ 662 915 5830; fax: þ 662 9155821; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Timothy Kiessling, Assistant Professor of Management California State University-Stanislaus. The International Journal of Human Resource Management
ISSN 0958-5192 print/ISSN 1466-4399 online q 2005 Taylor & Francis Group Ltd http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals
Kiessling and Harvey: SGHRM research in the twenty-ﬁrst century
Dowling et al., 1999; Harvey and Novicevic, 2002). Global competition is becoming the norm and, at current growth rates, trade between nations will exceed total commerce within nations by 2015 (Daft, 1997). In industries such as semiconductors, automobiles, commercial aircraft, telecommunications, computers and consumer electronics, it is impossible to survive and not scan the world for competitors, customers, human resources, suppliers and technology (Gregersen et al., 1998). In this environment, the global human resource management becomes more important to the success of the ﬁrm, while at the same time becoming more complicated and difﬁcult to administer (Grant, 1996; Kamoche, 1997; Boxall and Purcell, 2000; Harvey and Novicevic, 2003). Past research conﬁrms that the human resources are a valuable component for an organization attempting to develop a strategic competitive advantage (Wright et al., 1994; Lepak and Snell, 1999). When human resources are employed strategically, ﬁrms compete more effectively in this new dynamic marketplace, especially when ‘the productivity of superior resources depends upon the nature of their employment and the skill with which a strategy based on resource superiority is...
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