Industrial relations and human resource management practices in Australian and overseas-owned workplaces: global or local?

Peter McGraw, Bill Harley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper compares human resource (HR) and industrial relations (IR) practices in the workplaces of predominantly Australian and predominantly overseas-owned organisations. It advances understanding of HR/IR in Australia and elsewhere by considering two questions. First, whether Australian-owned workplaces have different HR/IR practices from overseas-owned workplaces. Second, whether there has been a convergence or divergence of practices between the two groups in recent years. The analysis is conducted using the Australian Workplace Industrial Relations Survey data from the years 1990 and 1995 (AWIRS 90/95). The main findings are that there are significant differences in HR/IR practice between Australian and overseas-owned workplaces. Both groups have increased their use of sophisticated HR/IR practices, but the overseas-owned workplaces have increased their usage at a faster pace. On the basis of these findings, we suggest caution in accepting the argument that globalisation pressures necessarily lead to a uniform convergence of HR/IR practices across the globe. While it appears that globalisation has stimulated local and overseas-owned firms to move in qualitatively similar directions, they are doing so at rates sufficiently varied for the gap to be increasing when measured quantitatively. In this sense, the locals might best be described as lagging behind the overseas firms in the adoption of HRM practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Industrial Relations
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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