Human resources managers are a business
organisations ‘people’ managers, responsible for managing a wide range of employee responsibilities. The human
resource manager in a multi-national company with divisions or subsidiaries in foreign countries has all the normal HR responsibilities
plus a brace of additional tasks that are specific to offshore operations of his department. He is literally responsible for
international human resource management.
International human resource management
functions cover many different activities related to a business organization’s employees and contractors. The first
and most important is the staffing needs of the company whether staff members are company employees or outside contractors.
Other functions include recruiting and training employees, ensuring that they are performing at expected levels or better,
handling performance issues and making certain that personnel and management policies conform to laws and regulations. IHR
management is also involved in how the company manages employee compensation and benefits, employee records and personnel
policies and practices. (hr-guide.com, 2007).
The primary difference between domestic
human resource management and international human resource management is the added knowledge and responsibilities required
due to foreign operations. These typically include language (in non-English speaking offshore organisations), the local and
national regulations and laws governing business operations within a foreign country; currency exchange rates, career outlooks,
company benefits and incentives and, perhaps most important. The ethics and etiquette expectations of foreign business contacts.
IHR management people must understand these differences clearly and stand ready to keep other company people informed of them
to prevent embarrassing situations and unintentional ‘affronts’ from occurring
Basic human resources are a management
activity while human resources development is considered a profession. The latter is targeted more specifically to developing
personnel inside organisations through career development, organizational development and training activities. Both functions
have undergone very-significant evolutions during the past several decades so that they now play major roles in staffing,
managing and training people so that the will perform in an optimum manner for the organisation. Today, international human
resource management is the fastest-growing subset of HR due to the growing trend for global business operations.
Still other international human resource
management activities include ensuring workplace safety through dealing with drugs and drug problems, employee assistance,
ergonomics, spirituality and diversity. In these efforts multiple sets of regulations must be used as guidelines; those of
the company and those arising from being in a foreign nation with different laws, regulations and etiquettes. (managementhelp.org,
The multi-national responsibilities of international human resource management require schooling
in psychology as well as the culture and customs of business in offshore nations. MBA programs at more than seventy universities
currently offer International MBA programs carefully tailored to match the needs of students who plan on careers with multi-national
business organisations. Courses are also offered in international human resource management and development for the same purpose.
It is clear that IHRM is a growing field in multi-national business operations that will continue to offer excellent employment
opportunities for people well versed in its international operations.
HR-Guide.com (2007) “Human Resources Internet Guide”
Available from: http://www.hr-guide.com/
McNamara, C. (2007) “Human Resources Management” management help. Org
Available from: http://www.managementhelp.org/ hr_mgmnt/hr_mgmnt.html