Strategies for International HRM

Assignment Proposal

This requires you to develop a research proposal. This will include a research question, research objectives [where appropriate] and a literature review which explores the critical debates in the field of International HRM or diversity; corporate socials responsibility and ethical behaviour and IHRM

The Research Proposal counts for 25% of the module marks.

The feedback on the proposal will provide guidance and advice to ensure you proposal is at the right level before you move on to carry out the main research study.

The two page (1500 words)proposal should contain the following;


You should say why the topic you have chosen is important to you and why you feel it is important to research this area of International HRM or diversity. You should carry out an initial search of the literature to make sure that there is sufficient research available to enable you to complete the assignment.


Please include the title of the research here which should be in the form of a question.


These should break down the research questions into a number of objectives. (No more than ¾ objectives. These should be worded in academic language, so terms such as;

  • Critically analyse ….
  • Explore and evaluate …
  • Investigate …
  • An evaluation of …


This is the main part of the proposal where you start to present the research literature that you feel will inform the main research study.

Here you discuss and analyse the range of research papers, text books, case studies and other research materials that you think you will use to help answer the question.

You should present a justification for why you feel the literature you have chosen will help in carrying out the research.

Remember this is just the proposal on which you will be given feedback. The tutor will give you more guidance on other literature that you might refer to in your work.

This proposal should follow the normal academic requirement for referencing (Harvard System) and you can include a 3rd page which lists all the references used in the proposal.



Selecting a research topic:


We have listed below some of the general topics that could form the basis for a research study. It is important that you view these as the starting point for research and that in developing the research question you expand on these to focus on some specific objectives.


Indicative topics for investigation are as follows:


Ethics and social responsibility for multi-national organisations


A research study on this subject could explore the role of HR professionals in influencing, informing, designing, monitoring and promoting social responsibility and ethical behaviour in organisations. Using case study material can you build a case for whether HR has a role of not in CSR?


Cross-border mergers and acquisitions


A research study on this subject might explore the role of international HR in managing the process of mergers and acquisitions. How successfully do organisations manage the many HR policy areas that need to be considered when bringing similar industries but possibly different culture together?


Global reward systems


A research study on this subject could explore the nature and variance of reward and compensation systems and policies in a country of your choice. What factors do HR reward specialists need to consider in designing a reward policy which has to operate across a multi-national corporation?


Recruitment & Selection  of international managers


A research study on this subject could focus on the recruitment of international managers and the role of HR and line managers in the design of the process. Here choosing a specific sector e.g. banking or insurance would help in critically analysing the effectiveness of the range of recruitment policies and processes. You might prefer to explore the selection process using the same criteria or combine them into one study.

The use of expatriate staff


A research study on this subject could explore how HR professional resource staff to work on international assignment. What issues and challenges do those working abroad face in terms of adjustment to new country cultures and how can HR prepare them for this experience. Grounding you study in good case studies will help apply the research.



The exploitation of child labour


A research study on this subject could study the role of HR in designing, implement and monitoring policies that ensure sub-contractors so not contravene the employment law requirement of the country of study.  It could alternatively research the economic, political and social factors that give rise to workplace child exploitation and explore possible strategy to resolve such exploitation. Whichever approach you choose make sure your research uses examples of organisations who act ethically and those who make statements on ethical working but allow such exploitation to continue.


Discrimination against ethnic minorities


A research study on this subject could explore the diversity literature and consider the business case versus the social justice case for diversity. To what extent does discrimination take place in terms of the employment of those from ethnic backgrounds and how HR does act to ensure that all employees are treated fairly e.g. organisational justice. Is there a case for affirmative action, can you manage diversity and should you?



Cross-cultural management & HRM


A research study on this subject could explore the issues of national and organisational culture and the complexities of managing a diverse workforce. How does HR drawing on the research in the field help in designing management development programme to raise awareness of cross-cultural issues.  What are the factors and issues that those working on international assignment need to be aware of and how can HR help in supporting managers? Look for case studies that exemplify the management behaviours in a multi-national environment.



Women as international managers


A research study on this subject can explore the issues that may prevent women reaching director and senior management level. Does what is called the’ glass ceiling’ exist and if so how can HR influence and support more women in to management roles.  Is this an area for affirmative action or should promotion be based on merit not gender?




Here are some examples of research questions which have been set by past students;


1.       Women as international managers: opportunities and challenges they face in today’s globalized world with special reference to the United States

2.       How does the national culture impact on reward practices in Japan?

3.       Critically evaluate the business case for an increasing trend in workforce diversity in Australia.