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Globalising HR: roles and challenges for the international HRM function

Research output: Working paper

Publication date2007
Place of PublicationLancaster University
PublisherCentre for Performance-Led Human Resources
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameCentre for Performance-Led Human Resources


This paper focuses on the new roles and challenges for the International HRM function. It highlights four key challenges facing international HRM specialists. The first - moving from traditional models of HRM towards more globally defined roles - has arisen from developments in technology, increasing regionalisation of business and the growth of networks within organisations. The second challenge concerns the need to develop global capability. The third challenge requires us to rethink the mechanisms that are used to transfer knowledge globally. The fourth challenge is cope with pressures for cost effectiveness, and the streamlining of systems, processes and sourcing activity. The paper then examines the pragmatic choices that IHRM functions are making to cope with these challenges. There are five areas of debate associated with these choices. The first concerns the pursuit of international HR shared service structures and the extent to which this facilitates global solutions. The second concerns associated developments in e-enablement and its role in integrating operations internationally. The third concerns the issue of specialisation and associated developments in outsourcing, insourcing and offshoring. The fourth concerns the role of interpersonal networking and formal organisation designs such as centres of excellence to help overcome the constraints that technology places around global knowledge sharing. The fifth and final debate surrounds the nature of the business partner role in international context, and the differing nature of line manager involvement in HRM across countries.