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Liam Doherty

Degrees obtained:  BA(Mod) Economics and Business Studies, Trinity College Dublin; MA (Industrial Relations and Human Resources) Keele University.

Country of Origin: Ireland

Research Title and a short description of project:

Human Resource Management in Subsidiaries of Non Union Multinational Corporations in the Republic of Ireland – the Case of Conflict Management, Problem Solving and Dispute Resolution.

Foreign-owned multinationals are a dominant feature of the Irish economy. Over the years, there has been an on-going debate about whether or not the subsidiaries of these multinationals conform to established ‘Irish’ approaches to the management of the employment relationship. One influential view is that non-union multinationals, particularly those of American origin, have transplanted a range of innovative HRM practices into the country, with the effect of helping to fragment the traditional industrial relations system in the country. Remarkably, little comprehensive evidence exists to support or bring into question this view. To address this shortcoming, this thesis reports the findings of research that investigates the conflict management strategies of 83 non-union multinationals and a second stage research phase that explores the reasons behind the approaches adopted in relation to conflict management systems. The main finding of this research is that most non-union multinationals are not transplanting innovative conflict management strategies into Ireland. It is suggested that the longstanding tendency of categorising multinationals mainly into ‘ethnocentric’ and ‘polycentric’ (and sometimes geo-centric and regional-centric) organisations is not keeping pace with the growing sophistication of international strategic human resource management: multinationals can simultaneously pursue ‘ethnocentric’ and ‘polycentric’ HRM polices.