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Global HRM and the dilemma of competing stakeholder interests

  • Satu Lähteenmäki
  • Maarit Laiho
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    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to study the meaning of socially responsible human resource management (HRM) in the global business context. Design/methodology/approach – This paper is based on a multiple case study and is descriptive. The study focuses on four case studies of two Finnish multinational companies. The data sources are company documents and web sites, newspapers, financial periodicals and web-based open communication channels. Findings – The study shows the contextual nature of socially responsible HRM and highlights the need to recognise the magnitude of the issues and viewpoints that affect the evaluation of social responsibility from the HRM point of view. The study also reveals the gap between the rhetoric used by top management and the messages given out by the HR function. Research limitations/implications – The four cases examined in this study do not allow for empirical generalisations. Practical implications – The study stresses that the costs and consequences of unethical behaviour cannot be overlooked when aiming to maintain the image of a socially responsible company. Originality/value – This study addresses a research gap in HRM studies by adopting an ethical perspective and suggesting that instead of balancing global integration with responsiveness to local customs companies should find a balance between profitability and responsibility. The study provides rich material for discussion and illustration.

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    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Social Responsibility Journal.

    Volume (Year): 7 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (July)
    Pages: 166-180

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    Handle: RePEc:eme:srjpps:v:6:y:2010:i:2:p:166-180
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    1. Kolk, Ans & Van Tulder, Rob, 2004. "Ethics in international business: multinational approaches to child labor," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 49-60, February.
    2. Randall S. Schuler & Susan E. Jackson, 2005. "A Quarter-Century Review of Human Resource Management in the U.S.: The Growth in Importance of the International Perspective," management revue. Socio-economic Studies, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 16(1), pages 11-35.
    3. Eddy LEE & Marco VIVARELLI, 2006. "The social impact of globalization in the developing countries," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 145(3), pages 167-184, 09.
    4. Merita Mattila, 2009. "Corporate social responsibility and image in organizations: for the insiders or the outsiders?," Social Responsibility Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 5(4), pages 540-549, October.
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