Kiessling, T. and Harvey, M. (2014), "Human resource management issues associated with the globalization of supply chain management and logistics", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 44 No. 8/9. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPDLM-05-2014-0115Download as .RIS
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Human resource management issues associated with the globalization of supply chain management and logistics
Article Type: Guest editorial From: International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Volume 44, Issue 8/9
Business has been transformed by a number of critical events in the last ten years (i.e. globalization of markets, the growing importance of emerging and transition economies, the knowledge-based economy, accelerating exchange and flow of technology among countries, and the growing importance of global e-commerce through the use of the world wide web). It would be difficult to argue that the future of business is not going to look significantly different from the business of the past. Nowhere is this difference going to be more pronounced than in staffing global channels of distribution and logistics functions of global organizations.
The magnitude of logistics complexity and importance is illustrated by international shipping volume alone (not including plane, truck, auto, bicycle, etc.): 86,000 ships moved more than 9 billion tons of products in a single year. Even more noteworthy, is that over 80% of all shipping is intra-corporate transfers requiring sophisticated global coordination in MNC subsidiaries. Although information technology has evolved considerably and is essential for global logistics, logistics personnel are now required to be highly trained and need to be prepared to take on many new roles beyond lostistics. Following up on Hohenstein et al. (2014) systematic literature review on human resource management issues in supply chain management research that is published in Issue 6, this special issue presents six manuscripts that examine multiple issues associated with the globalization of SCM and logistics.
The first article, “Psychological Capital: A New Tool for Driver Retention”, notes that the northern hemisphere faces talent shortages in a number of occupational clusters along every point of the supply chain. Manufacturing, distribution, and transportation companies will continue to face shortages of qualified individuals to fill the growing need for skilled employees. In order to develop an adequate supply of talent and skills, organizations must focus on the recruitment and retention of their employees globally. This empirical research suggests that psychological capital can be utilized to improve retention of truck drivers.
While it is predicted there will be a shortage in the United States of 400,000 truck drivers by 2014 alone, not including all the other global logistics positions requirements, the timely article “Using Social Media to Recruit Global Logistics Recruitment” explores how to attract the new multi-role supply chain employee. Unfortunately the article’s research findings suggest global logistics organizations, particularly those engaged in B2B activities; lag other industry sectors in adopting new ways of recruiting talent. The article presents models of how the global logistics industry should move to adopt web-based technologies and the steps needed to engage fully in social media recruitment. The findings extend previous research by proposing that recruitment is a necessary precursor to selection and training of staff in global logistics organizations. The manuscript further suggests that the SCM industry risks missing out on attracting talent and high quality employees if it does nnot adopt social media networks for recruitment.
After examining how to retain and attract supply chain employees, the article “Delegation Revisited: How Delegation Can Benefit Globally-minded Managers” examines how to manage in the new high velocity global environment. The article suggests that training aimed at understanding cultural differences and utilizing this understanding to lead and manage culturally diverse employees is crucial for today’s global logistics managers. This training is particularly important when considering that certain cultures are more accepting of certain leadership styles and leadership tactics. Utilizing the social cognitive theory of leadership, which posits those leader individual characteristics (e.g. cognitions) and the environment interact to contribute to the effectiveness of the leadership process. The article proposes a model that suggests the effectiveness of delegation in a local context is a function of the global leaders’ cognitions and perceptions of their subordinates. Further it is suggested that this relationship is moderated by the local cultural context in that some cultures may be more opposed to being delegated authority than others.
The new roles that logistics human resources will need include that of a boundary spanning role as there is compelling evidence to suggest a global knowledge-based economy. Competition is now characterized by the ability of firms to convert knowledge into value. In that conversion formula, human resources are the media through which knowledge and skill create value-things do not have knowledge and skill, but people do. Human resources, and the manner in which they integrate complementary core competencies, are therefore pivotal to the success of global enterprises.
The research of “Converting Knowledge into Value: Gaining Insights from Service Dominant Logic and Neuroeconomics” examines the confluence of Service-Dominant Logic (S-D logic), Supply Chain Management (SCM), Human Resource Management (HRM) and neuroeconomics to describe the conversion of knowledge into value. S-D logic suggests that knowledge, embodied in human resources, is the raw material of value creation. HRM will use knowledge that can be converted into value. This is directly analogous to SCM’s sourcing raw materials and converting these raw materials into products. To compete in a knowledge-based market, firms source materials and people globally. Thus SCM and HRM should be integrated and not separated in the global marketplace.
Recent supply chain management research suggests high levels of interdependent supply chain partners coordinating flows of raw materials and goods, as global firms now take a systems approach to manage the various organizations in the supply chain as a single entity. These independent entities are now seen as proactive and interdependent interacting for long periods of time. As exchange partners are now co-producers of value and their performances are dependent upon each other much research has now shifted from a transaction-oriented marketing focus to a relationship-oriented marketing focus.
Due to the relationship-oriented focus, the article “The Evolving Role of Supply Chain Managers in Global Channels of Distribution and Logistics Systems” suggests that the widely held conventional wisdoms of the past relative to channels of distribution/logistics will need to be modified and globalized. The economic and cultural context of global markets have been found to have significant consequences for institutional aspects of channels of distribution as well as the need to examine the role of channel/logistics managers in these systems. The article explores the concept of strong-form trust as a theoretical foundation for viewing global channels of distribution and logistics management due to the evolving role of managers as boundary-spanners.
To review the importance of HRM in supply chain management/logistics the article “Global Organizations and Supply Chain: New Research Avenues in the International Human Resource Management” analyzed 174 papers published in 101 journals focusing on supply chain management and 280 articles from 70 journals covering international human resource management (IHRM) issues. This article exposed the importance of the interaction of supply chain management/logistics and IHRM through six key overlaps: context, culture and institutions; CSR, economics, innovation and change; Knowledge management and information technologies and performance; globalization; industry; strategy.
Some of the conclusions from this article suggest that one of the most challenging issues is how to cope with innovation and change in global organizations. In logistics, the velocity of changes requires IHRM practices that can cope with organizational change without losing sight of economic efficiency. Human Capital (HC), as the enabler of an organization’s competitiveness, can be linked with Social Capital but with the moderation of the local specificities. Moreover, an intangible-based competitive advantage is more difficult to be appropriated by competitors because of its inherent nature of intangibility, as provided by HC.
Emerging and developing markets are growing rapidly, often without the required infrastructure, complicating the distribution/logistics of MNCs. By 2050, seven-eighths of the world’s population is forecasted to be living in developing and/or emerging economies and these markets are now the focus of most MNCs. The increasing importance of logistics and supply chain management in strategy and to firm performance will be dictated by the ability to attract and retain the new multi-talented logistics professionals. This special issue illustrates some of the challenges, as well as direction, for both the researcher as well as for the practitioner.
Dr Michael Harvey, University of Arizona, Tuscon, Arizona, USA
Dr Timothy Kiessling, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey
Hohenstein, N.-O., Feisel, E. and Hartmann, E. (2014), “Human resource management issues in supply chain management research: a systematic literature review from 1998 to 2014”, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 44 No. 6
Dr Michael Harvey can be contacted at: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org