Multinational corporations and industrial relations research: A road less travelled

Collings, David G.
Collings, D.G. (2008) Multinational corporations and industrial relations research: A road less travelled. "Journal of Management Reviews" 10(2) 173-193
While there is a large body of academic debate surrounding human resource management issues in MNCs, industrial relations issues often fail to receive the same degree of attention. This paper attempts to move the debate forward by critically reviewing some of the key debates surrounding industrial relations (IR) in an international context. Firstly, some key themes surrounding the comparison of industrial relations across borders and IR in multinational companies are delineated and defined. We then consider the reasons why an international IR (IIR) perspective has been under-represented in the literature to date. The paper then explores the contribution which an international IR perspective can bring to the study of management practices in MNCs. This is discussed in terms of IIR¿s potential contribution in terms of an alternative analytical approach and also differences in its substantive coverage. The impact of IR systems on MNC location and relocation decisions, key issues for employees, trade unions and managers of MNCs, is then discussed as an example of the former. We then consider the potential for, and evidence of, international collective bargaining as a potential counter-balance to the power the MNC in the global environment as an example of a differing area of substantive coverage of IIR. Finally some avenues for potential study are outlined.
Publisher DOI
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland