Overborder Human Resource Management

Overborder Human Resource Management

You must choose from one from the following essay questions and prepare an essay outlineQuestion 1: Chose ONE of the following three countries, and critically assess the argument for and against the likely convergence of national employment systems on the US model.

Choose ONE out of the following three countries:




The essay ought to compare and contrast the employment /HR practices within two countries (USA and one of the 3 countries listed) along some dimensions such as skills/vocational training and education, industrial relations (trade unions), international labour standards, corporate governance, pay/wage determination, role of the state, role of employers/managers etc. You do not need to cover all of these areas – pick 2 or 3. Are they increasingly becoming similar, (i.e. converging) or do they continue to be different (i.e. diverging) in spite of strong converging pressures through global integration and MNCs? Do the 2 countries you are comparing fit within the varieties of capitalism theoretical framework or can be categorised as a different model?

The key argument could explore questions like: Does one need to go beyond simple convergence or divergence, and think in terms of some convergence and some divergence as evident in hybridisation of employment practices in MNCs?

A good starting point for your reading are the following 2 chapters of the textbook by Beardwell and Thompson:

  • Beardwell, J. and Thompson, A. (2017) Human Resource Management: A Contemporary Approach. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited. Chapter 15 Comparative HRM in the context of financialisation, financial crisis and Brexit (see sections on USA, Germany and Japan)
  • Beardwell, J. and Thompson, A. (2017) Human Resource Management: A Contemporary Approach. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited. Chapter 16 Employment relations in emerging economies: China and India

 Thereafter, look at articles/books that are comparative in nature. Your essay should draw on the essential and further readings of the US (Lecture 7) and one of the three countries (Lectures 5/8/9), the relevant case study tutorial readings, and the lectures.

The essay is placed in the broader debate on convergence and divergence that needs to be briefly discussed. An awareness of the cultural/institutional explanation (Lectures 3 and 4) and the relevant debates would help.Question 2: Choose either pay & rewards or recruitment, and critically discuss whether it is best for MNCs (multinational corporations) to globally integrate their (pay & rewards or recruitment) HR strategies for managers or whether it is best to adapt them to local conditions. Provide specific examples and case studies from the literature as support.

 Choose ONE out of the following two international HR strategies, focusing on either:

1-Pay and Rewards

This essay is placed in the broader debate on global integration versus local adaptation. Global integration requires the transfer of HR practices. According to Ghoshal and Bartlett’s (1998) concept of the ‘transnational’ company, the transfer of practices among the MNC network is the most efficient way to innovate and share best practice. However, not all MNCs engage in diffusion; not all practices are transferred; and not all outcomes are the same.

The answer would benefit from a critical understanding of key IHRM models (Lecture 10). It should carefully weigh pressures of global integration vs. pressures of local adaptation of HR practices (Lecture 15). You should critically weigh different influences on the transfer process: The MNC sector; the organisational structure and corporate strategy of MNC (e.g. the method of affiliate establishment as either Greenfield investment or merger); the influence of national institutional and cultural systems of home and host countries; and organisational politics. Do these promote or hinder the transfer of HR practices? You do not need to discuss all of these, but show you are aware of alternative explanations. Focus on what you consider to be the most important influence on the transfer process specifically when it comes to recruitment or pay of managers. Consult the readings from Lectures 17on Pay, or lecture 16 on recruitment. You can also use examples and readings from Term 1.This essay could either argue for a strong local adaption of pay/recruitment policies, or for strong global integration. Consider whether global integration necessarily means the direct translation and standardisation of HR policies, or whether global integration and local adaptation can go hand in hand.

Provide specific examples. Draw on the key and further readings of the lectures and seminars, and find additional sources. You can complement the reading list with sources written in your main mother tongue as long as they relate to HRM and/or ER.

  • Coursework must be submitted in Arial point 12 font, and double-line spacing.
  • There should be no header or footer that identifies you on any page of your assignment – either by name or number.
  • Harvard referencing rules apply.
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