To what extent does international HRM represent a distinct approach to people management?
One of the universal issues that draw growing concern is how to choose the human resources management approach in terms of people management (PM), human resource management (HRM) and international human resource management (IHRM). Most of people think that the concept of PM is the same as HRM. Moreover, as a new member of human resource management approach, IHRM will attract firms’ attention. Therefore, this essay will lead to understand what is the differences between PM and IHRM.
This essay will first consider a brief background of PM, HRM and IHRM, and then justify the difference between HRM and IHRM, finally the distinct differences between PM and IHRM will be discussed.
First of all, it had better to examine the evolution of PM, HRM and IHRM. As Berridge mentioned, the origins of human resource management has been PM since the 1940s, which is represented an influence by welfare and occupational health and scientific management (Berridge, 1992). Under normative model, the definition of PM is ‘responsibility of all those who manage people, as well as being a description of the work of those who are employed as specialists’, and ‘it aims to achieve both efficiency and justice, neither of which can be pursued successfully without the other’ (Legge, 2005). Then, during the 1980s, HRM came into prominence with a change in terms from personnel to human resources in managerial functions. Mahoney and Deckop (1986) have argued that ‘It signifies a shift from human relations focus on people as such to people as resources in an employing organization.’ Finally, with the increasing competitiveness of global business, a large amount of multinational enterprises (MNE) emerged. Therefore, as the worldwide management in human resource, IHRM which has broader field than HRM, become a beneficial and essential approach for multinational organizations over the past decade.
Additionally, realizing the differences between HRM and IHRM will be helpful for understanding whether IHRM demonstrate a distinct approach to PM. There is a definition of IHRM is offered by Dowling (2008):
we define the field of IHRM broadly to cover all issues related to the management of people in an international context. Hence our definition of IHRM covers a wide range of human resource issues facing MNEs in different parts of their organizations. Additionally, we include comparative analyzes of HRM in different countries.
It can be interpreted that the basic difference between HRM and IHRM is that the later is used in a global context. Firstly, IHRM has more human resources (HR) activities. As Dowling (2008) indicated, these HR activities include international taxation; international relocation and orientation; administrative services for expatriates; host government relations; and language translation services. An empirical example is Shanghai Bell Alcatel. As one of the successful MNE in China, Shanghai Bell Alcatel does well in its IHRM. For instance, it set up a department with responsibility for international dispatch, whose main jobs includes providing daily assistance for international staffs such as moving, going through formalities and their children’s study problems (Liu, 2006). Consequently, it turns out that IHRM will operate more HR activities than HRM; however, these activities will help corporations to motivate staffs and attract talent in international market. Moreover, culture environment change might be an additional challenge in IHRM (Zhu, 2009). When enterprises expand to international market, they will hire the people from local country and home country, which leads to cross-cultural management. In different cultural background, there are significantly differences in management approach, interpersonal relationship and communication. As Schneider and Barsoux (2002) stated, since the HRM in America is based on psychology, Americans...
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