This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book presents the Cranet surveys point to both continuity and change; however, the empirical findings, based predate the 2008 economic crisis. It also presents the variations in firm level practices according to national setting. No single approach is without limitations or contradictions. At the same time, each has some merit in explaining the relative incidence of some or other dimension of firm level Human resource management (HRM) practice in a particular locale. This would confirm the view that institutions are polyvalent, and that their effects vary not only according to setting, but also according to specific dimensions of human and organizational relations. The extent to which conventional political processes have largely failed to generate viable electoral alternatives to parties broadly espousing neo-liberalism would suggest that, in the short term, espoused ideologies and electoral mechanisms will continue to exert a weak effect.