Report Question: IHRM reflects the interest of HR managers who may seek to promote their own interests rather than the needs of organisations. Nowadays, many people might think that International Human Resource Management (IHRM) is synonymous with expatriate management. However, IHRM covers more than just the management of expatriates. According to Laurent (1986, pp. 91-93), IHRM is a set of activities aimed managing organisational human resources at international level to achieve organisational goals and achieve competitive advantage over competitors at national and international level.
IHRM includes typical HRM functions such as human resource planning, recruitment, selection, placement, training and development, performance appraisal and compensation at international level and additional activities such as global skills management, expatriate management and so on. According to Scullion (1995, pp352-353), IHRM has become more important in recent years for a number of reasons. First, global activities and global competitions has been increasing rapidly. As the Multinational Companies increase in number and influence, the role of IHRM in those companies grows in significance.
Secondly, the effectiveness of International Human Resource Management is now recognised as a major determinant and key source of success or failure in international business. Dowling, Festing and Engle (2008, pp. 9) state that International business has more competitive advantage if they have successful management, and there has been consistent evidence to suggest that business failures in the international arena are often linked to poor management of human resources. Besides, the nature of IHRM has grown more complex over the years.
Managing people from different backgrounds and cultures in a global environment presents and encounters many challenges. IHRM is highly dynamic and constantly evolving. It involves the same activities and dimensions as domestic HRM but operates on a much larger scale. There is more internal and external influence in IHRM. According to Dennis and Randall (2004, pp. 22-25), there are huge differences between domestic HRM and International HRM (IHRM). Firstly, domestic HRM is concerned with managing employees belong to one nation and IHRM is concerned with anaging employees belong to many nations including host-country, parent country and third country employees. Languages and jargons become communication barriers in IHRM. Secondly, domestic HRM is concerned with managing limited number of HRM activities at national level and IHRM has concerned with managing additional activities such as global skills and expatriate management. Lastly, domestic HRM is less complicated due to less influence from the external environment.
IHRM is very complicated as it is affected heavily by external factors such as cultural distance and institutional factors. All the evidences show that IHRM is more complicated than domestic HRM, as a result, there is higher level of risks and more influence into employees’ lives and family situation. One of the biggest issues is IHRM reflects the interest of HR managers who may seek to promote their own interests rather than the needs of organisations. Firstly, Dowling, Festing and Engle (2008, pp. 5) stress that, One of the key features of IHRM as distinct from domestic HRM are expatriates (an ‘employee who is working and temporarily residing in a foreign country). ” This statement reflects the uncertainty of employee’s position and duty in IHRM. Due to the differences between domestic HRM and IHRM, when HR managers work in an international organisation, they will realize the uncertainty of their job where they might encounter great difficulties in managing employees, that came from different nations, gender and mixed workforce.
In order to secure their job, according to Steven, Mara and Tony (2010, pp. 44-46) HR manager tend to promote their personal interests but neglect the needs of organisations. Secondly, according to Mark, peter and Rae (2012, pp. 416-428), “The employment relations climate of an organisation has considerable impact on employees’ performance. ” It shows evidence that poor employment relations may also affect HR managers’ motivation and morale. Poor employment relation and conflict may lead to low productivity, failure in promoting and achieve organisational needs.
HR managers focus on their own interest rather than the needs of organisations. Thirdly, when HR managers working and temporarily residing in a foreign country, they are unfamiliar with the new environment, they are lack of information about the organisation’s objectives, background and needs. HR managers found that it is difficult to achieve organisation goals. Lastly, organisation have poor performance management will also lead to HR managers ignored the organisation’s needs. HR managers did not get enough standard to follow.
In order to improve these situations, there are several methods that organisation can do to solve and prevent HR managers tend to promote their own interests rather than the needs of organisations in IHRM. Steven, Mara and Tony (2010, pp. 363-365) indicate that a better workspace design such as cloister employees into team spaces can improve workplace communication. A better communication channel at workplace can reduce uncertainty at work, especially in IHRM, employees are from different nations, these can encourage sufficient interaction between HR managers and their colleagues.
Less uncertainty in workplace, HR managers are more willing to achieve the needs of organisations. Secondly, according to Mark, peter and Rae (2012, pp. 209-222), organisation can improve employment relations by setting up trade unions, giving HR managers and employees a channel to express their opinions and negotiations. In IHRM, some of the headquarters and Branch Company of international business are not in the same country, trade unions can make the communication easier. Organisation should also give feedback to them.
Better employment relations can improve employees’ productivity and achieve better performances. Thirdly, organisation should provide enough information of organisational structure, background, objectives, standards and expectations to HR managers. Provide clear guidelines can avoid confusion. In addition, according to Raymond and Colin (2009, pp. 2-8), organisation can also provide training when they recruit new HR managers or new placement. Lastly, organisation should improve performance management, appropriate management can improve HR managers performance and increase motivation.
Besides, organisation can match the employee interest to job tasks to achieve higher performances. Listen to managers opinion and discuss objectives together can also achieve higher performance. In conclusion, HR managers tend to promote their own interests rather than the needs of organisations in IHRM because of uncertainty, poor employment relations, lack of organisations’ support and information and poor performance management. It is hard to say those entire problems are because of HR managers, both HR managers and organisations are responsible for the problem.
HR managers and organisations should work together to overcome those problems in achieving the needs of organisations. (Word Count: 1066 words) Reference list Dennis, RB & Randall, SS 2004, International Human Resource Management: Policy and practice for the global enterprise, 2nd edn, Routledge, New York. Dowling, P, Festing, M & Engle, SR 2008, International Human Resource management, Cengage Learning, Melbourne. Laurent, A 1986, ‘The cross-cultural puzzle of international human resource management’, International Studies of Management and Organization, vol. 5, issue 1, pp. 91-102, viewed 8 September 2012, . Mark, B, Peter, W & Rae C 2012, Employment Relations: Theory and Practice, 2nd edn, McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Limited, Australia. Raymond, AN & Colin, W 2009, Employee Training and Development: For Australia & New Zealand, 1st edn, McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Limited, Australia. Scullion, h 1995, International human resource management, in J. Storey edn, Human Resource Management, London. Steven, M, Mara, O & Tony, T 2010, Organisational behaviour on the Pacific Rim, 3rd edn, McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Limited, Australia.