What are some factors which may require multinational headquarters to be involved in industrial relations?
Your response should be at least 200 words in length. You are required to use at least your textbook as source material for your response. All sources used, including the textbook, must be referenced; paraphrased and quoted material must have accompanying citations.
Dowling, P., Festing, M., & Engle, Sr., A. (2013). International human resource management (6th ed., 242-246). Andover, Hampshire: Cengage Learning.
- Discuss the formation of regional economic zones such as the European Union and the impact of opponents to globalization.
- Present issues of codes of conduct and nongovernmental organizations as MNEs.
- Discuss HR implications of offshoring strategies.
In this chapter we will use the more traditional term ‘industrial relations’ to describe the broad field of study that looks at wider issues of work and employment. We recognize that newer terms such as ’employee relations’ and ’employment relations’ are also used in the literature but prefer to use the traditional term in the global context because this is consistent with international organizations such as the International Organization of Employers and the International Labor Organization.1
Before we examine the key issues in industrial relations as they relate to MNEs, we need to consider some general points about the field of international industrial relations.2 First, it is important to realize that it is difficult to compare industrial relations systems and behavior across national boundaries; an industrial relations concept may change considerably when translated from one industrial relations context to another.3 The concept of collective bargaining, for example, in the USA is understood to mean negotiations between a local trade union and management; in Sweden and Germany the term refers to negotiations between an employers’ organization which represents the major firms in a particular industry and the trade union covering employees in that industry. Cross-national differences also emerge as to the objectives of the collective bargaining process and the enforceability of collective agreements. Many European unions continue to view the collective bargaining process as an ongoing class struggle between labor and capital, whereas in the USA union leaders take a very pragmatic economic view of collective bargaining rather than an ideological view. Second, it is very important to recognize in the international industrial relations field that no industrial relations system can be understood without an appreciation of its historical origin.4 As Schregle5 has observed:
A comparative study of industrial relations shows that industrial relations phenomena are a very faithful expression of the society in which they operate, of its characteristic features and of the power relationships between different interest groups. Industrial relations cannot be understood without an understanding of the way in which rules are established and implemented and decisions are made in the society concerned.
An interesting example of the effect of historical differences may be seen in the structure of trade unions in various countries. Poole6 has identified several factors that may underlie these historical differences:
The mode of technology and industrial organization at critical stages of union development.
Methods of union regulation by government.
Ideological divisions within the trade union movement.
The influence of religious organizations on trade union development.
Managerial strategies for labor relations in large corporations.