The IHR department and the role and future of IHRM
In the first edition of this book, this chapter began with “In many ways, the future of IHRM is now.” Well . . . this is still pretty true. As was said then, and is still true, this is a new field. It is still in its developmental stages, even though some aspects of it have been around for some 100 years, or as long as there have been modern businesses operating in the global arena. The second edition has been written to update the first and to add new material and experience that has developed since the first edition. Most of what has gone before (as reported in the first edition) has not been replaced. Rather, as this edition describes, IHR practices are evolving alongside with new ideas and approaches. Thus, this edition includes new chapters on global culture; global organizational design; cross-border acquisitions, joint ventures, and
partnerships; global employment law; global ethics, codes of conduct, and labor standards; an introduction to an expanded concept of global staffing, including global workforce planning; and global performance management. As a consequence, this is a larger book. But the field is still in its infancy with many challenges still in front of it.
As stated in the first edition, there are some aspects of IHRM that have achieved a lot of attention, particularly international assignee management – IA selection, preparation, compensation, and repatriation, and, to a lesser extent, their performance management and health and safety (even though many firms don’t yet use what is known about how to improve the probability of success in IA assignments). Yet many other aspects of IHRM have not received the same level of attention. This chapter, then, provides both a view of the profession and its practice as of today and a speculation about what the issues are that are likely to confront IHR managers in the future, as this discipline further develops in its role of becoming a major participant in the strategic management of at least the human resource aspects of the everincreasing activity of international commerce.