Human Resource Management in Multinationals


Multinational organizations are the kind of enterprises that do undertake business in more than one nation. Aliber (1996) argues that such a corporation does manage the production process across the international boundaries and it has central offices in one of the countries that do coordinate the other branches. Multinational corporations have a wide variety of issues that do affect them which are span across all the departments. Crucial issues that are discussed below face human resource management.

Critical issues

Changing roles. The roles that are critical to the managers are in greater extent changing due to the multinational perspective of the organization. According to Buckley (2002) the related professional roles have in time been changing from the traditional ones and this has led to a change in the skills that are paramount to an efficient management of the dramatic implications of the Human resources staff that are in the organization to date. As a result of such a challenge the Human resource leaders have been compelled to have a positive relationship with the line managers, the employees and members of the community that are within the organization area with the aim that it shall be effective in the realistic management of the human resources as a better solution to the varied roles.

Poor depart mentation. Buckley& Casson (1996) argues that poor shaping of the departments does affect the running of the corporations. For a more effective way of managing the organization the Human Resource professionals have proposed the reshaping of the human resource section and their functions redefined solely to better service to the various stakeholders which will on the other side better the management of all members of staff and organization in general. A better case example involves core and company associates.W.L Gore and associates is one of the companies that do have a very reputable way of managing people. This is an enterprise that has neither bosses nor employees and it does work with sponsors and associates that operate on a flat structure with no specific titles. This is an organization that was started by the founder on the home basement but at recent it operates in over 45 nations and it has been able to give a reflection of the core values of fairness, freedom that is relative to growth of the knowledge and skills, ability to make and keep commitments and the consultations amongst the associates before one gets into actions that are likely to impact on the organization. To achieve this Human Resource managers are supposed to oversee it all the time and their championing would facilitate culture building based on the fact that people considerations stretch to business decisions.

Multiple roles. The human resource specialists are faced by the multiple roles that are supposed to be done by them in a multinational enterprise. Caves (2001) says that some of the critical roles include the linking role which traditionary was applicable to the confines of the organization but due to the growth in business enterprises it has to be span in multinationals. There is a growth in demand of the roles that the human resource department should play for the success of an organization and hence the managers concerned should be more into business. Assumption that the department does realize the business needs does demand them to work an extra mile in multinationals as they try to assist in the addressing of the related needs. The linking role is a very critical concern in multinational enterprises and it demands an increase in involvement in the strategic as well as long-term perspectives of any organization.

Human resource professionals, the employees and line managers’ triad. Human resources partnership triad is another critical issue that is faced by the Human resource team. From Swedenborg (1999) this involves the incorporation of the line management team, the other Human resource professionals and the employees that are not necessarily based in the same location or branch of an entreprise.Line managers are brought into the organization as it grows to manage specific projects though they are not fully in charge of the same and the HR professionals are in most cases the consultants that are deemed to have an outstanding expertise on the matters that are related to Human resource management based on the services that an organization does offer to its market portfolio. Employees are equally critical and they are in most of organizations responsible for writing their own job descriptions and sharing of responsibility as well. Effective production and performance requires the assessment of the employees needs and related values which can only be done effectively by employees themselves.This demands an effective understanding of the Human resource practises. As a result of all three critical areas of the organization, the human resource managers need to ensure that the triad is well formulated and controlled for an effective operation of the multinationals.

Diversity of culture.In a study by McManus (1972) cultural diversity is also one of the issues that do face the management of the Human resources in multinational enterprises. Culture is fully complex and it does incorporate into it people beliefs and arts, the likely morals, the laws that do govern the community at large as well as the customs and habit of the people within. To run operations of a multinational corporation which operates in different cultural backgrounds is not easy and it’s an issue that does affect the management of such an enterprise. The diversity of the cultural preferences and the tastes of the nationality as well as the value standards of the respective nations have to be brought into account for performance to be realized. It’s not an easy task to do so hence the multinational enterprise has to put into consideration the issues that are cross cultural as they do business in the various nations.

Work place diversity is also an issue that does face multinational corporations. It does include the ethnicity compositions, the gender imbalance, marital status, the various people religious beliefs as well as the general work experience per individual. Any counts of the future success does relay on how well the human resources are managed and the opportunities availed to explore their talents that are linked to the coming up of innovative ideas paramount to performance improvement. Multinational corporations such as Coca cola do employ workforce from different nations with different backgrounds on ethics and culture thus forcing the Managers of the multinational to be more mindful and come up with approaches such as Think global and act local to enable them overcome the work diversity.

Span of control. This refers to the determination of how many members of staff should a particular manager oversee. This is a critical issue in regard to the management concerns of multinational corporations. Span of control does have effect on the work and how it is performed as well as the organizational structure. Determining the span of control in an organization is very critical in a multinational enterprise as the exact place to draw the line between the limits of the line managers and the overall management team operating in the corporation headquarters is not defined. The technicalities involved in this do advocate for a pyramid structure to ensure a low manager to the employee ration that would ensure that all resources are fully utilized to achieve the strategic goals within the time limits.

Technological concerns relative to work performance do also affect the multinational enterprises. McNamara (2007) states that different nations are at different levels as far as the technology issues are brought into concern. Technology needs expertise training to ensure that all people are able to do their job with ease. This variability in technology does require considerations during employee recruitment to make sure that the members of staff that are brought into the enterprise are able to do the job with very minimal mistakes. Technological knowledge does facilitate employee mobility as it does give a guarantee of fast adaptability in all areas that one has been transferred to.

An organization that operates in multiple countries will require the services of an experienced person in times when it has to open new branches elsewhere to oversee the market penetration and this is only possible of employee mobility practices. Due to this, the concerns of employee mobility and technology transfer do linger into the minds of the related managers with the sole aim of achieving success. Technological transfer did face Coca Cola Company as they tried to diversify their market in early 80s and the organization was forced to put resources into employee training to ensure that they will attain their targets. The efforts were realized a short while as the brand name become so popular in a very short while hence realization of the goals. This is one of the ventures that together with employee mobility have to date made the enterprise to enjoy a greater percentage of the world market.

Solutions to the crisis do involve the adherence to the management outlined practises. An ethical crisis should be taken as a chance to enable the practise of managerial skills as a way out of the crisis. One should act immediately, and offer support that does depict a sensitive way of addressing individual concerns as a bridge to focusing them to corporate personnel prior to facilitate the show of leadership. Through this the ethical effects shall be focused on the cultural goals of the organization and the business.

Ethical implications

The solutions such as the reshaping of the departments do have ethical concerns because some of the workers shall be moved from their office to better performance. Majority shall accept the fact that they are paving way for better performance while others shall feel demoralised by the whole procedure. Technological perspectives do also imply to the ethics of the organization as well. Adoption of new technologies by the members of staff is not easy and it’s systematic. Some would prefer the prior status then the current systems of operation. Such differing preferences do affect the operational standards of the corporate.


Human resource management in multinational organizations is a very critical aspect and it generally needs the services of the professionals and corporation of the employees to achieve success. Efforts that are brought into the organization are realizable through the growth in business across all the nations which are easy by the overcoming of the drawbacks.


Aliber, R. Z. (1996). The multinational enterprise in a multiple currency world. London, George Allen & Unwin.

Buckley, P. J. (2002). Is the international business research agenda running out of steam? Journal of International Business Studies, 33(2): 365–373.

Buckley, P. J., & Casson, M. C. (1996). An economic model of international joint venture strategy. Journal of International Business Studies, 27(5): 849–876.

Caves, R. E. (2001). International corporations: The industrial economics of foreign investment. Economica, 38(149): 1–27.

McManus, J. C. (1972). The theory of the multinational firm. Toronto, Collier Macmillan.

McNamara, C. (2007) “Human Resources Management” management help. Web.

Swedenborg, B. (1999). Multinational operations of Swedish firms. Stockholm: Almquist & Wiskell.

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