To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Human resource development practices, managers and multinational enterprises in Australia: Thinking globally, acting locally

Gitika Sablok (College of Business, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Pauline Stanton (College of Business, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Timothy Bartram (College of Business, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia)
John Burgess (College of Business, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Brendan Boyle (University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 12 June 2017




The purpose of this paper is to examine the HRD practices of multinational enterprises (MNEs) operating in Australia to understand the value that MNEs place on investment in their human capital, particularly managerial talent.


Drawing on a representative sample of 211 MNEs operating in Australia, this paper investigates the extent (using frequencies) and determinants (using logistic regression analysis) of training and development expenditure, management development strategies, talent management and succession planning policies.


The findings suggest that less than 20 per cent of MNEs operating in Australia are investing over 4 per cent of their annual pay bill on training and development. Furthermore, almost a quarter of firms invest less than 1 per cent in training and development. However, most MNEs invest in their managers and those with high potential through the use of management development programmes, talent management strategies and succession planning. Interestingly, in comparison to US MNEs, Australian MNEs were less likely to use management development or talent management programmes for senior management or high performing staff.

Research limitations/implications

The current study is cross-sectional and represents a snapshot of MNEs’ HRD practices at one point in time. The study measured the perceptions of the most senior HR manager and did not include the views of other organisational participants. The authors suggest the need for future research studies that incorporate longitudinal research designs and the views of different organisational actors.

Practical implications

HR managers or HRD specialists need to develop a strong understanding of the Australian institutional context, as well as demonstrate the importance/business case for an integrative approach to HRD.


This paper fulfils an identified need to study the HRD practices of MNEs operating in Australia, particularly focusing on the value that MNEs place on their human capital.



Declaration of conflicting interests: the authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

The authors acknowledge the support of the Australian Research Council (DP120103071).


Sablok, G., Stanton, P., Bartram, T., Burgess, J. and Boyle, B. (2017), "Human resource development practices, managers and multinational enterprises in Australia: Thinking globally, acting locally", Education + Training, Vol. 59 No. 5, pp. 483-501.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles