chapter  5
Foundations for understanding the legal environment of HRM in a global context
ByMark V. Roehling, Richard A. Posthuma, Stacy Hickox
Pages 19

At a general level, the role of the legal environment as an important context for human resource management (HRM) is well recognized by both practitioners and researchers. In addition to an awareness of laws directly regulating day-to-day HRM activities,HRM managers providing input into strategic decisions must have an understanding of the broader legal environment associated with their area of professional expertise (Bagley, 2008; Florkowski, 2006). An awareness of how the legal environment may influence the phenomena they study is also important to researchers investigating a wide range of HRM topics (e.g., HRM decisionmaking, diffusion of practices, the HR practices-organizational effectiveness link, crosscultural differences). However, for both practitioners and researchers, the challenge of understanding and effectively taking into account the legal environment of HRM is both considerable and growing.Across countries, the legal regulation of the workplace has increased significantly in recent decades.As a result, in many countries, almost all aspects of HRM are now potentially affected by workplace laws, regulations, and/or the risk of litigation.Employers with operations that cross national boundaries face a legal environment with additional layers of complexity. Which country’s or countries’ laws apply? Must highly publicized international labor standards be complied with? To what extent can “private law”be used to shape employers’ and employees’ legal obligations?