Global Human Resources

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Global Human Resources

Global Human Resources


The role of the human resources (HR) department is shifting, and that means that the roles and responsibilities of HR professionals are changing, too. Increasingly complex organizational needs are placing high demands on the HR function and the ability to integrate the basic HR disciplines is essential to success. HR professionals will possess a bevy of business and financial skills; employers will need to make sure these talents are put to good use. New HR professionals expect jobs that let them use the skills they developed both in academic programs and at previous jobs. A recent symposium on the future of HR, hosted by the Society for Human Resource Management, confirms that challenging jobs and clear career paths are keys to attracting high-caliber students to the profession.


The levels of business in globalization can effect the major international agreements on HR, and the five most important international HR topics. International business is no longer reserved for a few large, multinational corporations. Recent international developments in the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), formation of the European Union have led to increased overseas business for more U.S. companies. This increased activity has generated new concepts, terms, practices and regulations that all human resource managers should understand regardless of their organization's level of international involvement.

Three Levels of Globalizations

National companies do not suddenly become global companies. Involvement in international HRM depends greatly on a company's phase of globalization; thus, HR policies and programs need to coincide with that phase. There are at least three distinct phases of globalization that companies can go through, each with unique international HR practices. Import-export firms in the first phase of globalization simply move products across national boundaries. The firm does not employ people in other countries, except a few managers responsible for negotiating business agreements. These agreements usually involve buying or selling complete products or services. Import-export firms need to understand their trading partners' cultures and usually must overcome communication barriers to negotiate agreements. Expatriate representatives usually do negotiations, but import-export firms do not employ expatriates as extensively as by multinational enterprises. HR policies and practices remain relatively unchanged from the company's traditional home-base practices.

Multinational enterprises (MNEs)

Firms in the second phase of globalization have strategic corporate units located in foreign countries. Part of the firm's goods and services may be produced in one country, then possibly moved to another country for additional assembly, and ultimately distributed to other countries where employees of the firm sell them. MNEs typically make extensive use of expatriate managers who are sent from headquarters to oversee foreign operations. Expatriate managers play important strategic roles. They coordinate between subsidiaries and headquarters, implement strategy, ensure the quality and effectiveness of organizational control systems, and manage global information systems. They also gain expertise in international business skills that are critical to ensuring that top executive positions are held by competent replacements with the necessary international experience and perspectives.


According to NAPA, the increasing importance information technology (IT) has had ...
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