International Human Resource Studies (3) Course exploring human resource management from an international perspective.
LER 403 International Human Resource Studies (3)
(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.
This course on International Human Resource Management expands beyond the traditional disciplines of HRM through a broader consideration of the impact of national contexts on these areas of organizational practice. The first question addressed is whether ‘HRM’ actually means the same thing in different countries, especially given that the term ‘HRM’ was developed from US management practice and scholars. This opens the discussion as to how institutions and culture at the national level help to shape management practice. As organizations become increasingly global, these issues of national culture and institutions can often stand in the way of a seamless progression of HRM across national boundaries.
From a national culture perspective, the course compares how people in different countries see themselves and others around them, and how expectations, values and beliefs can differ in the workplace. This understanding is drawn from frameworks of national culture which describe the culture’s multiple dimensions. This enables students to identify why and how it may be different working with colleagues from other cultures, as well as understanding the implications this can have for designing appropriate HRM practices.
From a national institutions perspective, the course compares how institutions such as legislation, state intervention, trade union influence, education systems, and the respective power of shareholders versus stakeholders can impact on patterns of HRM and employee relations practices in different countries. For example, comparisons are made between economies with very high levels of employment regulation, explaining local employee rights and benefits, and those in which firms have more autonomy to choose how to manage their employees.
From a strategic perspective, the course looks at how multinational enterprises are managing this cultural and institutional complexity, making strategic choices in international HRM to ensure they achieve the ultimate balancing act of thinking global but acting local. It considers different strategies firms might take (from complete standardization of HRM to complete localization) and how this then translates into different roles and activities for the IHRM function. This section also explores how these firms manage their international staff (expatriates), as well as finally exploring ethical issues around outsourcing activities to lower-cost countries, and the impact of a more globalized workforce on diversity and work-life balance issues.