A Review and Conceptualization of Global Work Integrating IB and HRM Research

[We’re pleased to welcome authors B. Sebastian Reiche, Yih-teen Lee of IESE Business School, and David G. Allen of Texas Christian University and University of Warwick. They recently published an article in the Journal of Management’s latest Special Issue on Multinational Enterprise entitled “Actors, Structure, and Processes: A Review and Conceptualization of Global Work Integrating IB and HRM Research,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they reveal the inspiration for conducting this research:]

We set out to organize the special issue and write this introductory article because the concept of global work remained insufficiently understood, despite important advances in the literature. This was surprising to us given an ever-increasing number of individuals are engaged in different forms of global work. More surprising still was that the International Business (IB) and Human Resource Management (HRM) literatures, which serve as the focal domains to study global work phenomena, have thus far treated global work largely as separate research streams. We felt that integrating the two domains and offering a review and shared conceptualization of global work was therefore both timely and relevant. Our review of and integration across the two domains suggests that global work scholars ought to consider not only who is involved in global work (i.e., actors) but also how global work is designed (i.e., the global work-related structure and processes). To that end, the articles in our special issue all elucidate the importance of actors, structure and processes in global work, focusing each on different global work phenomena and contexts.

We therefore argue that only by clearly specifying these three dimensions can researchers unambiguously position the specific phenomenon of global work under study. Our conceptualization is meant to serve as a platform to better align the diverse set of studies on aspects of global work and help further our understanding of this emerging field of research. Based on our review and shared conceptualization of global work, we offer several directions for future research, from encouraging studies to model and test cross-level relationships inherent in global work to considering more explicitly the impact of novel contextual characteristics such as digitalization and platformization on global work. We hope that these will stimulate both doctoral students and junior faculty as well as seasoned scholars in devising related empirical studies that can further advance the field.themselves. Our holistic perspective of multidimensionality is vital for organizations to effectively manage the multidimensional diversity of the workforce and provides a practical framework to help organizations benefit from their employees’ multidimensional diversity.

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