Human Resource Management In An International Context

It would be simple to say international Human Resource Management (HRM) is just HRM on a national scale combined with some additional features that help resolve people management issues in various parts of the globe. There are indeed marked similarities between the HRM practices of national and international organizations; however, there are some significant differences too such as the development and deployment of workforce in various locations across the world. The rise of multinational corporations has had major effects on the human resource practices and theories. Multinational corporations do not operate in vacuum and their operation is governed by the regional trade norms stipulated by the governments of the countries in which they operate. Thus, there is a growing need in organizations worldwide to learn from different national contexts and diffuse that knowledge throughout the firm.

The oft used maxim ‘think globally act locally’ signifies the importance of looking at international Human Resource Management at two different levels. The first level involves devising management strategy that facilitates standardization of HR practices, which in turn will enable creating an organization culture that is consistently followed in all regional offices of a business across the globe. The second approach, which is particularly important when a business operates in varied cultures, is to adopt different approaches to management based on the local culture and market.

Multinational corporations are main participants of today’s international economy. Even a country like China, which has huge resources both in term of labor and natural resources, has engulfed globalization. According to the UN world investment report, transnational corporations across the world employed over 69 million workers in the year 2011, who accounted for worldwide sales of $28 trillion.

Multinational organizations, to remain competitive, must develop a shared system of knowledge and initiate knowledge sharing programs across all its branches. Like technology, knowledge is also a significant requisite for global organizations Individuals in important position in the organization should be entrusted with the responsibility of creating and diffusing important strategic knowledge in the organization.

Knowledge has of late become an important component in any managerial task. In most organizations involving multi cultured work force, managers prepare themselves for culture shock and their tactics of dealing with this issue is identifying the cultural differences that exists within organization and tackle those differences. But, this is the traditional approach and it has been rendered obsolete by many management practitioners. The modern approach calls for a more scientific approach by preventing cultural shocks by means of sharing the knowledge of different cultures throughout the organization.

Today’s business world consists of a plethora of languages, cultures and professional backgrounds. For an organization to function effectively in this environment it has to have in place a strong system, which would equip it to face the cultural challenges effectively. Thus, cross national learning is today the best bet for an organization with a global presence.

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