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American Multinationals in EuropeManaging Employment Relations Across National Borders$
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Phil Almond and Anthony Ferner

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199274635

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199274635.001.0001

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The Role of the International Personnel Function

The Role of the International Personnel Function

Chapter:
(p.248) 12 The Role of the International Personnel Function
Source:
American Multinationals in Europe
Author(s):

Hartmut Wächter

René Peters

Anthony Ferner (Contributor Webpage)

Paddy Gunnigle

Javier Quintanilla

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199274635.003.0012

There is a dearth of existing literature on cross-national variations in the organization, role, and boundaries of the personnel function. This chapter explores the evolving role and structure of the personnel function within the different national subsidiaries of US multinationals, and how these fit with the multinational company’s conception of the function’s role at an international level. It is argued that personnel departments in US multinationals face mounting pressures to reduce costs, leading to structural innovations such as shared service centres. Subsidiary personnel departments have pursued a more strategic role as ‘business partner’, and as contributor to the design of international HR policies. The management of tensions between the US approach and different host-country traditions of personnel management are examined, as well as the way in which subsidiary personnel managers ‘negotiate’ with higher levels of the international HR function, drawing on the institutional resources of their local environment.

Keywords:   US multinationals, structural innovations, shared service centres, personnel management, international HRM function

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