The value of employment relations in multinationals: Finding the right balance

J.J. Rodwell, S.T.T. Teo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Internationalisation poses important employment relations challenges that are often difficult to resolve. The complications that arise at the level of the national subsidiary suggest that the key test of employment relations depends on being able to balance the demands of efficiencies at the international level with simultaneously maintaining the operational life of the organisation. This paper explores the different mechanisms and processes used by medium and large private sector organisations to internationalise and finds that there are employment relations issues that are country-specific and domestic, respectively. Multinationals appear to be balancing their strategic human resource management issues by following host-country norms for operational issues and adapting the style in which those practices are carried out to parent-country norms. For those practices directly associated with productivity, relative productivity and costs levels, there appears to be little difference between the various international groups. However, for the systems and structures that allow the parent-country “style” to be reflected there are some differences. Further, many of the practices that were similar across firms appeared to reflect a set of “global” practices that were necessary to be internationally competitive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-321
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Business Review
Issue number3
Early online date29 Apr 1999
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1999
Externally publishedYes


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