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Indicative Current Research Projects

Multinational corporations, sub-national governance and human resources


This is an Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences supported project led by Professor Patrick Gunnigle, and involving Dr. Jonathan Lavelle at the Kemmy Business School. This project aims to investigate the mutual relationships between subsidiary units of multinational corporations (MNCs) and sub-national patterns of governance and infrastructure. There are two key aims. First, is to identify the key governance actors in different sub-national institutional settings, how they engage with MNCs, and their impact on MNCs' local embeddedness. Second, the effects of this relationship on the supply and demand for human resources (HR) by MNC subsidiaries will be explored. The project proposes to examine how MNCs' local HR strategies are shaped by the competencies available on the local labour market, and the extent and nature of coordination between MNC units and other sub-national actors (e.g. regional developmental bodies). The issue of how MNCs become 'embedded' within the local environment is an important consideration. Indeed questions around embedding MNCs assumes great importance given the contemporary dynamics of international competition for investment, where industrial policy has tended to be devolved to sub-national levels and regions compete for high value-added investment. This could not come at a more opportune time, considering the difficult economic conditions now faced, where the need to retain existing and attract new investment is crucial. It is a collaborative project involving researchers based at De Montfort & Warwick Universities (UK), University of Montreal and Laval University (Canada), IESE, University of Navarra and University of Oviedo (Spain) and University of Bochum (Germany).

Employment Relations in Multinational Companies in Comparative Perspective
The analysis of multinational companies (MNCs) is limited by the lack of systematic data on employment practices and how these are influenced by organisational characteristics. This collaborative international research project seeks to map employment practices (ER) in multinational companies in six countries (Australia, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, Spain and the UK) and to relate these to such organisational factors as corporate structure, degree of international integration, nationality of ownership, and sector of operation. This is the first study based on a large-scale representative sample of multinationals in Ireland and focuses on four key areas of employment practice: performance management and rewards, employee representation, organisational learning and employee communication and involvement.
Report Available: "Human Resource Practice in Multinational Companies in Ireland: a large-scale survey" http://ssrn.com/author=348145

Intercultural Transitional Adjustment and Expatriate Transfers
This stream of research is dedicated to generating empirical data on working and living abroad. Particular emphasis has been placed on exploring the experiences of expatriates and sojourners working and living in Ireland and also Irish expatriates working and living abroad. The papers and volumes generated represent a mix of both the quantitative and the narrative and provide insights into the lives, the experiences and the frustrations of employees on foreign assignment.

Cranfield Network ('Cranet') Project on International Human Resource Management
The Cranfield-University of Limerick (CUL) Study of Human Resource Management (HRM) in Ireland forms part of the Cranfield Network (Cranet) Survey on International HRM, first established in 1989. This study forms the basis for the most authoritative analysis of HRM practice involving, in the latest phase, some 8000 organisations in over thirty countries.

Research on Human Resource Development
Sponsored by the CIPD and other sources, a number of research projects are ongoing in the field of HRD, as follows:

Training & Development in Ireland 2007 - Trends and Future Prospects
This survey of HR practitioners analyses current training and development practices in Ireland and tracks changes from the 2001 and 2003 surveys and seeks to identify national trends in organisational practices.

Advances in e-learning in Irish Organisations - Drivers, Strategies and Effectiveness
Here we focus on the effectiveness of e-learning as a training and development tool in Irish organisations; the perceived benefits of e-learning by end users; and what barriers currently exist in leveraging e-learning.

Who Learns at Work 2007 - Employee Participation in Training and Development
This report tracks change in employee participation in training and development activities since the first report was published in 2003. We look at how opportunities for participation in developmental activities are distributed amongst employees and the resulting policy implications.

U.S. multinational corporations and the management of human resources in Europe
This research project comprises a comparative study of US multinational companies (MNCs) in Europe. Led by Professor Anthony Ferner and a research team based at De Montfort and Warwick universities and also involving partner universities Germany and Spain, this study asks the following questions: (i) What HR practices and policies do US MNCs transfer abroad and why? (ii) To what extent are US MNCs' overseas practices influenced by the characteristics of the American business system? (iii) How do US MNCs design their global HR policies? (iv) What mechanisms do US MNCs use to transfer practices and policies to foreign subsidiaries? (v) What happens to such policies and practices once they arrive in the foreign subsidiary.

Sample of Recent Texts published by Faculty

Garavan, T.N., Hogan, C. & Cahir-O'Donnell, A. (2009) Developing Managers and Leaders: Perspectives, Debates & Practices in Ireland. Dublin, Gill & MacMillan.

Morley, M., Gunnigle, P. & Collings, D.G. (2006) Global Industrial Relations, London & New York: Routledge
Gunnigle, P., Heraty, N. & Morley, M. (2006) Human Resource Management in Ireland, Dublin: Gill and Macmillan.

Morley, M., Gunnigle, P. & Collings, D.G. (2006) Global Industrial Relations, London & New York: Routledge.

Morley, M., S. Moore, N. Heraty, M. Linehan & S. McCurtain (2004) Principles of Organisational Behaviour (2nd ed.), Dublin: Gill & Macmillan.
Wallace, J., Gunnigle, P. & McMahon, G.V. (2004) Industrial Relations in Ireland, Dublin: Gill & MacMillan
Garavan, T.N.,Hogan, C. & Cahir, A. (2003) Making Training Work: A Best Practice Guide, Dublin: Oak Tree Press.