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Modes of integration of human resource management practices in multinationals

María Jesús Belizón (IR&HR Subject Area, UCD College of Business, University College Dublin, Ireland)
Michael J. Morley (Management and Marketing, Kemmy Business School, Univesity of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland)
Patrick Gunnigle (Personnel and Employment Relations Department, Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland AND Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 4 April 2016




The purpose of this paper is to examine variations in the use of international integration mechanisms across individual human resource management (HRM) practices in MNCs.


Drawing upon data from a sample of over 450 MNC subsidiaries located in Ireland and Spain and an ordinal regression methodology, several models were tested.


The findings provide evidence that people, information and formalized-based mechanisms are positively related to the use of centralization-based integration processes. The results also demonstrate that the use of personal-based integration mechanisms is uniform across the suite of individual HRM practices among those MNCs where an international HRM committee is present, while the deployment of expatriates does not prove to be particularly significant in achieving integration across the range of HRM practices examined in the model. Information- and formalization-based mechanisms hold explanatory power in relation to performance appraisal systems and compensation practices.

Research limitations/implications

Broadening the scope of the analysis the authors offer here, drawn from just two institutional environments, to a broader set of locations may contribute to future research in this area. Further analysis using longitudinal and quantitative methodologies may also prove important in unearthing integration patterns in HRM domain areas.


This paper offers a comprehensive analysis of the preferred modes of integration across HRM practices in MNC subsidiaries located in two different institutional environments. The authors reveal how modes of integration vary for different HR domain areas and the authors provide explanations for this variation.



This research received financial support from the European Commission International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (FP7 IRSES-GA-2008-230854 INTREPID). The Spanish node of this project was funded by Fundación BBVA and the Ministry of Science and Technology. The authors would like to acknowledge Professor Javier Quintanilla (IESE Business School) for facilitating access to the Spanish data used in this paper. Regarding the Irish data, the authors wish also to acknowledge the financial support provided by the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) and the Irish Research Council.


Belizón, M.J., Morley, M.J. and Gunnigle, P. (2016), "Modes of integration of human resource management practices in multinationals", Personnel Review, Vol. 45 No. 3, pp. 539-556.



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