Struggling to organize across national borders: the case of global resource management in professional service firms

Mehdi Boussebaa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

63 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A growing body of research has challenged the commonly accepted view that multinationals have evolved into globally integrated networks, demonstrating instead that such organizations are sites of conflict between competing rationalities emerging from distinctive national institutional contexts. However, this research has neglected professional service firms (PSFs) in spite of them often being held as exemplars of the integrated network model. This article redresses this imbalance by focusing, in particular, on how PSFs seek to coordinate the horizontal flow of their human resources as a mechanism of inter-unit knowledge sharing. Drawing upon interviews in four PSFs, I show that these organizations have developed resource management systems that cannot simply be reduced to national institutional contexts. However, I also demonstrate that the process of resource management is subject to inter-unit conflicts that undermine its raison d'être. I argue that these tensions are symptomatic of both the Anglo-American model of multinational management and cross-national differences in market conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829-850
Number of pages22
JournalHuman Relations
Volume62
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009

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