The international business context is changing rapidly, driven by international mergers, cross-border alliances and joint ventures, with consequent demands and increased competition for readily available, skilled and qualified labour to staff emergent global business needs. In such a dynamic context, the role of IHRM has grown more important and complex and yet arguably remains undervalued. This book has set out a multilevel framework for recognising, explaining and understanding the important role of HR in an international context, forming an introduction to IHRM for those new to the field.
The contributors have shown how multiple scales of analysis are connected, through the lenses of macro-, meso- and micro-level contexts, and in doing so they have challenged the dominant approaches of the academic literature on IHRM, with its tendency to silo work into a focus on country, region, city, industry, organisation, group or individual. The bulk of the scholarship has largely neglected the role of multiple stakeholder arrangements, with the focus placed almost exclusively on IHRM processes. For example, there has been much emphasis on the context of particular countries and on the perspective of employing organisations, but this has largely neglected prominent literatures around key concepts such as ‘boundaryless careers’, the ‘war for talent’, the importance of ‘reputation’ and new labour market ‘intermediaries’. Equally, the electorates of national governments and supranational organisations continue to debate IHRM issues and, accordingly, we find their legislation surrounding the attraction and retention of foreign talent alters through changing immigration and citizenship policies. Such policies affect what types of worker can move into a country and therefore the types of worker international HR managers can access. The examples depicted throughout this book highlight that while it is valuable to understand IHRM in the context of organisations, there are other significant actors who affect and are affected by the attraction, recruitment, retention and development, performance management and reward of international assignees. Finally, the book has also demonstrated the unique regional challenges and opportunities by presenting dedicated discussions of regions and countries, particularly the Asia–Pacific, Europe, Africa and the United States.