Globalizing Human Resource Management

By Paul Sparrow; Chris Brewster et al. | Go to book overview
4
The impact of technology on global HRM

Introduction
A series of generic international management issues involved in globalization inevitably create a search for optimal HR practice that it is hoped will, if managed appropriately, increase the importance of the international HRM function. In other words, globalization of itself brings the HR function closer to the strategic core of the business and also leads to considerable changes in the content of HRM (Pucik, 1992). The effective management of human resources internationally is a major determinant of success or failure in international business (Stroh and Caligiuri, 1998). Therefore those organizations that underestimate the nature and complexity of the HRM problems involved in managing increasingly international operations face avoidable implementation problems (Dowling et al., 1999). In their search for the changing role of the corporate human resource function in international firms Scullion and Starkey (2000) consider that the answer has to do with unique competencies. The bottom-line question faced by all corporate centers is: "What is it that the corporate HQ can do that cannot be done by financial markets or the business units, acting as independent market contractors?" (Foss, 1997:314). For Ghoshal and Gratton (2002) the answer has to do with four important integration activities that the corporate HR center can make a unique contribution to. These are noted below, along with some reference to analogies found in our research:
1 Operational integration through standardized technology. We look at the impact of technology throughout this chapter when we consider the e-enablement of HR on a global scale. Portals can provide a common front to employees and help integrate the HR function around common processes. This is a form of information-based integration within the HR function (see Chapter 3 for an outline of the different forms of functional integration). However, we also consider operational integration in Chapter 6 when we look at the challenges of globalizing talent management processes, particularly those to do with recruitment, selection and assessment.
2 Intellectual integration through the creation of a shared knowledge base. By focusing on creating, sharing and exchanging knowledge both within and beyond the HR community, corporate HR functions can ensure that the intellectual capital of the

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