International Human Resource Management: A Review of Three Texts/International Human Resource Management/International Human Resource Management: Managing People in a Multinational Context/Human Resource Management in Europe: Evidence of Convergence?

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International Human Resource Management: A Review of Three Texts,

Anne-Wil Harzing, Joris Van Ruysseveldt (eds.): International Human Resource Management Sage, 2nd edition, 2004, 499 pp., S 150,-, euro 128,50

Peter J. Dowling, Denise E. Welch (eds.): International Human Resource Management: Managing People in a Multinational Context Thomson, 4th edition, 2004, 333 pp., $ 58,95, euro 50,50

Chris Brewster, Wolfgang Mayrhofer, Michael Morley (eds.): Human Resource Management in Europe: Evidence of Convergence? Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, 2004, 486 pp., $ 80,-, euro; 68,50

This special issue is dedicated to exploring the convergence and divergence of national systems of industrial relations (IR) and human resource management (HRM). Faced with increasingly competitive environments, multinational firms may adapt certain management practices which are then transmitted across countries. Parts One and Two of this special issue have explored the convergence-divergence debate in international human resource management (IHRM) research.

We now turn our attention to three texts published in 2004 which attempt to synthesise and integrate IHRM research for researcher, student and practitioner audiences. The two entitled International Human Resource Management are theory-based review texts situating IHRM in the greater context of international management. The first IHRM is the long-awaited second edition edited by Anne-Wil Harzing and Joris Van Ruysseveldt; the other a fourth edition textbook now authored by Peter Dowling and Denise Welch. HRM in Europe: Evidence of Convergence? is edited by Chris Brewster, Wolfgang Mayrhofer and Michael Morley and reports twenty-three European countries' research findings from the Cranet survey. We now review the three texts separately, paying special attention to contributions to comparative IHRM and the convergence versus divergence debate.

International Human Resource Management, edited by Anne-Wil Harzing and Joris Van Ruysseveldt

IHRM is an ambitious research-based text with the explicit goal of providing a comprehensive, integrated and international perspective on cross border HRM. The editors have extensively revised and expanded the first edition (1995) into 18 chapters written by 24 eminent scholars from around the world. With international breadth of authors and research, the result is considerably less 'Dutch' than the first edition.

The book is divided into four parts. Part one provides an overview of the context, strategy, structure and processes of internationalisation. The second part examines HRM from a comparative perspective. Part three focuses on issues in the management of expatriate and international staff. Finally, part four takes a comparative and international perspective on industrial relations. As this special issue is dedicated to comparative IHRM, we focus on the relevant parts (2 & 4) and respective chapters (5-9 & 15-18) in this tome.

Part two is completely revised from the first edition and examines HRM from a comparative structure beginning with chapter 5's 'societal analysis' framework integrating the dominant institutional and culturist approaches to explain HRM differences. Chapter 6 provides an overview of multiple means to quantifying cultural differences across borders. There is an uneasy transition from this review of positivist research and into the predominantly qualitative approach to HRM processes in Europe put forward in chapter 7. In chapter 8, "HRM in East Asia," the authors compare and contrast HRM practices in the capitalist markets economies of Japan and Taiwan with those in the socialist market economies of China and Vietnam. Finally, chapter 9 covers HRM practice in developing countries in terms of perceptions, current understanding, and emerging approaches.

Part four takes a comparative and international perspective on IR, attempting to integrate understanding of these areas into the greater body of IHRM and international management research. …