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Managementis the most crucial aspect that defines the success of a firm.Different companies utilize diverse mechanisms to address issues inmanagement. A global perspective involves addressing situations asthey relate to the entire globe. Every business should be concernedwith what goes in other countries since we are all connected incertain ways. The fundamental presumptions in IHRM standardizationand localization are reconnoitered through the technique of`difference drivers` associated with the comparative advantage inconsistency, experience, competency, and power which lead to thehybridization of HRM practices in Sino-foreign joint projects. Theinternationalization setting is perceived as a more freeconstruction, swayed by interaction and insight rather than by purelyimpartial environmental factors and management features. The paperwill explore and identify human resource implications of the variousoptions and responses that international growth places on the firm.It will also illustrate innate responses when organizations try todeal with challenges in the global environment. In that regard, thepaper will discuss

  • Standardization and localization of HRM practices

  • The path to global status

  • Control mechanisms

Standardizationand localization of HRM practices

Thetension between Standardization alignment of multinationalcorporations and the necessity of localized adaptation has beenrecognized as a persistent topic in the globalization of humanresource management. In the Chinese context, academic scholars andpractitioners have underlined this tension (Chiang, 2000). Theglobalization of business has seen a progressively competitiveenvironment. Given the importance of assets and human capital allthrough the understanding of the economy, it is not surprising thatmultinational corporations (MNCs) also feel pressured to developtheir human resource management performance. The determinationshabitually result in extensive, company-wide agendas that encounterhitches when they prolong past the boundaries of the host nation. Theproblem arises from the significant tensions in the global groundbetween the ‘parent’ corporations – a word which suggests thepower variances characteristic in some worldwide undertakings – andtheir affiliates. Also between organizational standardization andlocalized adaptation. The tension is imitated to a greater or lesserdegree in the common representations of global human resourcemanagement.

Inthat regard, the primary aim of global standardized HRM practices isto “attain the consistency, transparent and alignment” (Dowling,2013, p. 48) between local and headquarters practices.Standardization ensures, Consistency, transparency, and alignment ofa geographically fragmented workforce around common principles andobjectives. In that regard, a standardized management is meant toensure both local and headquarters employees are treated equally.Standardization also increases operational efficiencies. In thisaspect, products and services must meet certain standards beforeavailing them to the consumers. It, therefore, attains uniformityacross the different geographical locations. Standardization alsospeeds up management of orders, simplify purchasing management,rationalize diverse varieties of goods and services, improvesadministration and design, and facilitates exportation and marketingof products. At the consumer level, it establishes quality and safetymeasures to the goods and services, inform the customers about thefeatures of the products, and makes it easier to compare with otheroffers. The public service benefits through simplification of thelegal terms of production, economic development, quality,environmental, and safety regulations. All these factors correlate tothe importance of standardized HRM practices. Disregarding any ofthem one way or another leads to poor quality service as well asproducts.

Localizationis the act of adapting a product to specific locale or market. It ismeant to respect customs, traditions, and values among otherconstraints in regional countries. The process ensures compliancewith cultural values, legislation, government policies, educationsystem, and traditions regarding HRM and work practices. It isvehement to appreciate how the respective country undertakes itsbusinesses and adjust accordingly. If the HRM practices do not seemto be in alignment with the locals, then corporations may tend tofail. For instance, if an organization’s HRM in a foreign countrydemeans the country’s laws, chances of colliding with thegovernment are high. A good example can be drawn from Starbucks [ CITATION Mey15 l 1033 ].The company is quite flexible and tends to adjust to the localdemands. The way products and services arehandled in the US is not the same in African countries. In addition,different products are offered in each state depending on the locals’preferences [ CITATION Sta041 l 1033 ].The HRM practices arealso handled differently. For instance, religion differs across thecountries. When venturing into a country, it is paramount to adjustby religion to operate efficiently. However, a right balance must beattained between standardization and localization. Achieving theright balance is a complex undertaking that requires caution. It canbe achieved by outlining the driving factors behind these twoaspects.

Fig3.2: Balancing the standardization and localization of HRM in MNEs

Balancing global standardization and localization of HRM

Global standardization

According to MNE’s global needs

  • Strategy and structure

  • Corporate culture

  • Firm size and maturity


According to the host country context

  • Cultural environment

  • Institutional environment

  • Firm size and maturity

According to the features of local affiliates

  • Subsidiary role

  • Mode of operation

Factorsdriving standardization

Asper the diagram above, there are three factors drivingstandardization i.e.

  • Strategy and structure

  • Corporate culture

  • Firm size and maturity

MNEsthat standardize pursue multinational or transnational corporatestrategies, supported by corresponding organization structures thatreinforced by a shared global corporate culture (Dowling, 2013, p.49). If corporations are highly globalized, they are likely tostandardize their HRM practices. However, the method does not suitall the workers. Instead, appropriate employees conduct cross-borderoperations.

Factorsdriving localization

Consistentwith the host country setting, there are two factors influencinglocalization (Dowling, 2013, pp. 50-53):

Thecultural environment

Themore the social context replicates in the complete balance ofintrinsic and extrinsic rewards. The more the personal or fastaltering individual and social context replicate in extrinsic gains.It is apparent that culture plays a significant role in HRMpractices. For instance, as cited in (Dowling, 2013, p. 50), oneresearcher Triandis (2002) recommended, “In cultures where work isfounded on more cohesive personal social relation may value acomplete balance of extrinsic and intrinsic gains.” The efficiencyof standardized practices may differ in various cultural contexts.

Theinstitutional environment

Host Country environment

Subsidiary A


Parent-country environment

Subsidiary B

Host-country environment

Theinstitutional environment shapes the expectations and behaviors ofemployees in local nations. According to Ferner (1997), theinstitutionalism view shows that institutional pressures may beinfluential on human resource practices (Dowling, 2013, p. 50). Thecountry-of-origin impact suggests that multinationals are shaped byorganizations prevailing in their nation of origin and they try toinduce the parent-country-based HRM activities in their foreignsubsidiaries. It is a typical case in an ethnocentric firm.

Thehost-country effect denotes to the degree to which HRM activities insubsidiaries are impacted by the host-nation context (Dowling, 2013,p. 51). The home-country environment affects HRM practicesconsiderably.

Theinstitutional factor affects the HRM structure in several ways. Itcan drive localization and sometimes outline reverse diffusion.Reverse diffusion is defined as the transfer of activities fromforeign locations to the headquarters.

Modeof operation and subsidiary role are another two factors that candrive localization. In the mode of operation, specific factors in afirm that can affect standardization and localization are obtained.In that regard, control and ownership are vital factors that aretaken into consideration. On the other hand, four subsidiary roles,that is, global innovators, integrated player, implementers, andlocal innovator determine the standardization and localizationdecisions.

Thepath to global status

Organizationspass through some phases of organizational development subject to thenature and size of the global practices. According to (Dowling, 2013,p. 56), there many reasons why organizational structures alterthrough these stages. They include

  • Constraints enforced by host-government policies on ownership and equity

  • Necessity to improve synchronization and control across the business entities

  • Strain enacted by growth and geographical range

Fig3.4: Stages of internalization

Thefigure below outlines the phases involved in internationalization

Foreign production




Sales Subsidiary

Network of subsidiaries


Exportis the stage for organizations venturing into global markets. Now,the administrative response is not involved in the degree of exportspreads to a critical point. Usually, the managers involved at theheadquarters control the export undertakings. There are no formalHuman Resource practices at this phase.


Oncethe firm develops steadily in the global markets, direct sales withbranch offices will often be utilized. More problems will be realizedat this phase especially involving foreign agents.


TheInternational division develops a distinct section where all theworldwide activities are convened. If an organization begins toconduct operations abroad, then it is easier to act as a foreignproduction or service facility. However, moving to the foreign directinvestment may be hard.

Globalproduct/area division

Atthis phase, the organizational response can either be area-based orglobal based product/service structure.


TheMNE attempts to pool its functions with several dimensions. A majorbenefit of this structure is the openness of the conflict ofinterests that allow management to be involved. Additionally,management has to match the configuration to the decision makingprocedure. Though it may seem better, implementing such as astructure is hard.


Someorganizations have resorted to adopting a mixed structure. However,the structure was difficult to explain, implement, and control.

Beyondthe matrix: the heterarchy, transnational and the network


Suggestedby Hedlund, the structure recommends that MNEs may have severalcenters apart from the headquarters. Control in this type is relianton normative techniques rather than top-to-bottom. From the humanresource view, the viability of this technology rests on themultinational’s ability to design, implement, and reinforce thenecessary human resource components.


Thestructure is described by an interdependence of resources andresponsibilities across all the business entities irrespective of thenational boundaries. MNEs with this arrangement attempt to handle themassive stream of resources, goods, publics and information amongtheir affiliates, while at the same time identifying spreadspecialized abilities and resources. It is, therefore, complicated tocoordinate such as structure.

Themultinational as a network

Accordingto (Dowling, 2013, p. 66), some scholars suggest looking atparticular vast and mature enterprises as a system where affiliateshave developed into an important center of activities, investments,and influence. Relations between the headquarters and its branchesmay take place across many levels of the organization to covervarious exchanges. The results may be vital for efficient globalperformance. Such MNCs are lightly attached political structuresrather than firmly fused, similar, hierarchically controlled schemes.Managing such a multi-centered network is quite intricate.

Controlmechanisms: Fig 3.11: Control strategies for multinational firms

Structural-formal focus (primary controls)

Cultural-informal focus (primary controls)




Network processes and activities-social capital


Mind matrix

Persons-human capital

Hierarchy and authority

Job analysis


HRM processes

HRM processes

Job authority

Secondary controls

Personal networks

Secondary controls

Controlmechanisms is another area where much emphasis is directed.Allocation and control of resources as well other activities is alsoa stressful undertaking [ CITATION Ash10 l 1033 ].There are two mechanisms used for global control that have differentemphasis though they are connected to each other.

  1. Structural-formal focus (primary controls)

  2. Cultural-informal focus (primary controls)

Controlthrough personal relations

Networksare fundamental to the company’s social capital hence can beutilized for knowledge transfer.

Controlthrough corporate culture

Organizationsdefine corporate culture differently. In general, it entailsdifferent individuals sharing a set of beliefs and values throughsocial interactions. They then shape their behavior and attitudesaccordingly.


Theprimary purpose of this paper was to determine the human resourceimplications of the various structural responses to globaldevelopment. It involves three main issues: Firstly, Comprehendingthe vitality of balancing the standardization and localization of HRMin MNEs secondly, the various structural mechanisms involved when anorganization moves along the path to multinational status thirdly,the conception of control and coordination mechanisms. The aboveaspects are crucial in managing individuals in a global perspective.


Chiang, L., 2000. Doing business in China: stay ahead of your competitors. Management and organization in the Chines context, Volume First ed., pp. 337-343.

Dowling, J. F. M. &amp. E. D., 2013. International Human Resource Management: Managing people in a multinational context. 6th ed. s.l.:s.n.

Gupta, A., 2010. Organization`s size and span of control. [Online] Available at: http://practical-management.com/Organization-Development/Organization-s-size-and-span-of-control.html[Accessed 24 June 2016].

Meyer, P., 2015. Starbuck`s Coffee Company Organizational Structure. [Online] Available at: http://panmore.com/starbucks-coffee-company-organizational-structure[Accessed 24 June 2016].

Starbuck, 2004. Living Our Value: Corporate Social Responsibility, Washington: s.n.

Swaak, R., 2005. The role of human resources in China. Compensation &amp Benefits Review, pp. 39-46.

Thomas, J. C. S. &amp. G. D., 2003. Strategic sensemaking and organizational performance: Linkages among scanning, interpretation, actions and outcomes. Academy of Management, Issue 36, pp. 239-270.

Wenger, E., 1998. Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.


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InternationalHuman Resource Management – Managing People in Global Context

Thestaffing of subsidiaries in a foreign country is one of the processesin the international human resource that needs to be handled withutmost care. This practice must put into consideration variousaspects that call for such an action for instance lack of qualifiedpersonnel in the host country or for the particular purpose ofmaintaining good communication, control, and operations. Despite thefact that employing local nationals may reduce the effects oflanguage barriers and adjustment issues of expatriate employees,firms sometimes decide to use the ethnocentric or geocentric approachwhich is based on recognizing both the subsidiaries and headquartersas necessary components or contributors. The internationalassignments can be long-term or short-term depending on the purpose.The reasons as to why organizations and companies developinternational assignments include the need to fill vacant positions,to improve management and maintain development, and facilitateorganizational development in a strategic manner to achieveefficiency and a competent establishment of the global markets.

Internationalassignments may vary from commuter duties to rotational assignments,contractual assignments, virtual assignments and self-initiatedassignments (Kidger, 2003). However, when the company requires theskills, abilities and expertise that are vital to the particularinternational job, such an employee can be selected. Coca-ColaCompany wants to hand-pick a person to a subsidiary in Mexico and Ibelieve I am appropriate nominee.

Asa suitable candidate, I understand clearly that my primary functionis to provide direct supervision to ensure maximum compliance. I mustalso facilitate the sharing of values, principles and beliefs byfostering socialization. Network building is also part of my functionby building more channels and increasing the transfer of informationand ideas. Additionally, as the Company’s employee, I acts as anode for the transfer of knowledge and competence and otherstrengthening elements by encouraging the adoption of proper workpractices. To prevent failure, expatriate selection must be madecarefully so that ultimately, the assigned duties are completedsuccessfully.


Itis common for employee capability to take the center stage in theselection process. As a potential expatriate, the previous behaviorand performance need to be assessed adequately. Various aspects haveto be considered regarding employee ability. The relevant technicalskills need to be evaluated properly. As a suitable candidate, Ipossess the necessary knowledge, capacity and competency that ispertinent to the position. Based on my previous managerial positionin Coca Cola Company, the records show that I have had tremendoussuccess in leadership and management. Specifically, this globalposition requires a person who has certain technical abilities suchas sales and marketing, procurement, financial planning andaccounting. I possess all these skills from my ten years’experience in this organization and professional courses in thesefields. The probability of accomplishment is judged by the competency(Kidger, 2003). Although in some cases the past performance may notadequately reflect the ability to achieve maximum results in aforeign country, I can assure that my presence will prove to beeffective in addition to other capabilities that I possess. In thisperspective, an expatriate may have good performance in his countriesof origin but issues to do with acclimatization, language, and otherproblems may lead to failure. As such, I have explained other aspectsthat I am proficient with in those areas.


Adjustmentis key to successful deployment. In this criteria, the employee mustbe able to adapt to the diverse international cultures that exist.Soft skills that are required include both psychological and personalfeatures. A real life scenario can be portrayed in this instancewhere an employee has to be sent from the Headquarters in the USA toa subsidiary in Mexico. This person must acclimatize and adjust tothe norms of the new area psychologically so that he can then applypersonal attributes such as experience and language adequately. Thecharacteristics that encompass intercultural competence includediplomacy, positive attitude, emotional stability and maturity,language and cultural empathy (Stahl&amp Björkman, 2006).All these dimensions sum up my qualities as a suitable candidatesince they describe the overall behavior which ultimately portraysthe possibility of success in the foreign country assignment.Furthermore, I have an international business expertise acquiredthrough attending real global leadership seminars. These have in turnenabled me to persuade, influence and command the attitudes andperception of the particular global community to work together as ateam towards a common objective. As a worthy leader I am equippedwith all the competencies that bring other personnel together despitedifferences in the background origin, to form a strong team.

Adjustmentis also important when working in a foreign location. This phenomenoncomes about due to the various emotions that bombard a person forinstance anxiety, excitement, and sometimes fear of the unknown. Dueto such emotional factors, it is essential for the individual toexercise control and cope with the necessary psychologicaladjustments. Concerning adaptability, I have been to Australia andthe United Kingdom for similar assignments. In that period, I wasable to cope with the climate and way of living quickly beforeembarking on my job. My credentials and performance portray myattainment.


Factorsrelated to the spouse and the family, in general, can affect theperformance of the expatriate either positively or negatively. Inmost cases, long-term assignments may require accompaniment by thespouse and children if present. While the presence of householdmembers may help the employee in the settlement process, in somecases negative impacts may arise such as the lack of employment forspouse due to work permit issues or the education of children. Inthis regard family matters and baggage must be assessed. Instead ofselecting a person who is taking care of an aged parent, whosemovement and dedication is limited, my family life is notcomplicated. I currently live with my wife since my daughter is incollege and she supports me in my career. Divorced parents mayencounter problems related to obtaining custody of the children. Whenselecting a potential candidate, it is important to look closely atthe family structure and postulate whether their presence would serveto assist the employee to perform better or hinder the progresstowards achieving the goals of the organizations (Stahl&amp Björkman, 2006).In this case, my daughter who is in college has already turnedeighteen, she can choose to come with me or remain in America andvisit whenever she wants. It may, therefore, be appropriate to selectme because my family is already well established and I can get thesupport I need without interfering with their respective educationand career aspirations.

Countryand cultural requirements

Differentcountries have various policies and regulations that define theworking policies, for instance, the procurement of visas and workingpermit before relocation. Additionally, some areas may be consideredhardship places. The differential requirements may affect the type ofperson to be sent. For an illustration, some postings will not allowwork permits for women, particularly in the Middle East and SouthEast regions (Dowling,Festing &amp Engle, 2008).Additionally, some places may not allow the accompanying partner towork. All these factors may lead to failure of the expatriate but notme. I already have working permits for the various countries I havebeen to before including Mexico. Also, even though my wife may haveto leave her job, my remuneration is sufficient enough to support ourlivelihood. An unmarried person may be a good choice but the presenceof a spouse in this job description for moral support and also tofacilitate soft settling process. I would be required to renew mytravel Visa and working permits and I already have contacts who canhelp me settle down. My historical exposure will work towardsensuring that I am well prepared for the climate, diet and culture.


Beingable to communicate in the respective foreign language is considereda vital part of cultural adaptation. However, it is not the mostimportant qualification since there are other corporate wordscommonly used such as English. Speaking the local language is anadded advantage that may make the expatriate communicate easily withthe residents (Dowling,Festing &amp Engle, 2008).Fluency in the primary corporate language has to be considered first,and the employee who exhibits excellent expression skills is the bestfor the job. Regarding communication, I can comprehend both writtenand spoken languages including French, Spanish and English. I alsounderstand a significant deal of German and these are valuableassets. Combined with the factors and criteria discussed above, Iwill be able to project the assignments in the most appreciatedlanguage based on the region. Precisely, I can communicate with theMexico employees in a way that they can understand. In contrast, onewho is not fluent in both the foreign languages and the commoncorporate language is at a disadvantage. I will be able tocontextualize the information that has to be communicated andtherefore foster understanding and participation. Furthermore, thisattribute increases my credibility and consideration as one of thelocals and not as a foreigner


Insome situations, the organizations have to identify and select theproportion of locals to foreigners. Too many expatriates in anotherplace may not be appropriate since the locals may feel as if they arenot well represented. At times, the local partners may have to beinvolved in the selection process (Thomas&amp Lazarova, 2013).Since I will be working in a managerial position, I will elicitqualities that include working with the native employees in almostall aspects especially when creating a balance between the employedlocals and the foreigners in this subsidiary. Currently, the numberof non-nationals is almost zero and there is need to intensifycollaboration by having a team of multinationals.


Variousapproaches can be used to choose the most appropriate candidate forglobal expatriation. Some indicators can be employed includingperformance, family relations, language, cultural suitability andalso ability to adapt to new environments. Because the roles of suchemployees are complex, there is a thin line between failure andsuccess in my field of work. This type of work is not easy sincethere are setbacks such as family, local country regulations,inability to adapt quickly and also issues regarding gender wherewomen may at times face more difficulties compared to their malecounterparts. To achieve maximum success, proper selection must bemade, and the chosen individual must be able to thrive purposefullyin his assigned work.


DOWLING,P., FESTING, M., &amp ENGLE, A. D. (2008).&nbspInternationalhuman resource management: managing people in a multinationalcontext.London, Thomson Learning.

KIDGER,P. (2003).&nbspInternationalhuman resource management: managing people in a global context.New York, Palgrave Macmillan.

STAHL,G. K., &amp BJÖRKMAN, I. (2006).&nbspHandbookof research in international human resource management.Cheltenham, UK, E. Elgar Pub.http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&ampscope=site&ampdb=nlebk&ampdb=nlabk&ampAN=142537.

THOMAS,D. C., &amp LAZAROVA, M. B. (2013).&nbspEssentialsof International Human Resource Management: Managing People Globally.https://nls.ldls.org.uk/welcome.html?ark:/81055/vdc_100025421488.0x000001