Multinational Management Strategy and Human Resource Decision Making In the Single European Market*


  • *

    This research was funded by the Leverhulme Trust. I would like to thank David Spilsbury from IFF Research and Paul Marginson, University of Warwick for making available the sample and survey data on the firms involved, and Gianni Zappala for assistance in the collection of the interview data. I am also grateful to Stephen Deery and the anonymous JMS referees for helpful comments on an earlier draft.

Address for reprints: Janet Walsh, Department of Management & Industrial Relations, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia.


There has been considerable academic interest in the consequences of European integration for multinational companies and their subsidiaries, and the co-ordination and control of human resource decision making. Against the backdrop of this debate, this paper examines the impact of European integration on management organization and human resource decision making in 13 British multinational companies. Although there were partial moves towards the development of European managers, a European-wide approach to human resource matters was not yet a conspicuous feature of this sample of multinationals. the global preoccupations of the companies, as well as the persistence of national variations in consumer markets and modes of product regulation, were clearly major constraints on the emergence of European forms of corporate organization and underpinned the lack of enthusiasm for distinctively European approaches to employee management.