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The 23rd EGOS Colloquium 2007  

General Theme


Postdoctoral pre-colloquium workshop

PhD pre-colloquium workshop

Roland Calori Prize

EGOS Best Paper Award
EGOS Best Student Paper Award

Colloquium program

Sub-theme programs

Panel discussions


Organizational details

Registration and hotel reservation


City maps



Sub-theme 33:
Critical approaches to international human resource management



Eero Vaara, Swedish School of Economics
and Business Administration/Helsinki (Finland)

Tuomo Peltonen, University of Oulu (Finland)

Johan Berglund, Stockholm School of Economics (Sweden)

Call for papers

Rationale for the sub-theme

In the recent years, International Human Resource Management has been emerging as a new sub-specialism of management and organization studies. It typically encompasses issues such as comparative HRM and industrial relations, HRM in MNC's, management of internationally mobile employees, and also management of diversity. Themes associated with international human resourcing have attracted a lot of attention in the research communities as diverse as international business studies, strategic management and human resource management. There has been a steady increase of scholarly contributions in this area, however, at the same time concerns about the lack of a rigorous conceptual and theoretical base informing the empirical analyses and normative ideas have been raised. While the majority of the studies employ functionalist perspectives inspired by strategy research and to some extent by psychological adjustment theories, recent developments in the broader circuits of organization studies have not been systematically assessed and explored in order to advance the field. One of the most interesting advancement has been the growing interest in critical debates, originally inspired by streams such as labor process theory and critical theory, and more recently vitalized by the introduction of new non-standard social science perspectives including poststructuralism, feminism and discourse Analysis. At the same time qualitative methods are increasingly used alongside positivist research designs. These novel approaches to organizations and organizing have been already used to critically re-frame disciplines such as human resource management, strategic management, and cross-cultural management. However, the discourse of and management techniques and practices associated with International Human Resource Management have not been systematically approached from critical perspectives, despite of the contemporary investigations of individual scholars into issues topical for the development of a critical research agenda for IHRM (e.g. power relations and new worldwide socio-economic orders, identity and globalization, postcolonial perspectives, critical approaches to multinational corporations).

Topics addressed

This sub-theme aims to attract papers that explore the links between critical organization theory and international human resource management. We are keen to welcome both conceptual and empirical papers from a range of disciplines (international business, human resource management, organizational behavior, industrial relations, anthropology, geography, sociology, political science) although we would like to encourage submission of papers that draw upon critical approach/es on organizations and organizing as they analyze the workings and effects of the multitude of practices and discourses associated with international human resource management. The list of potential topics may include but is not exhausted to themes such as:

  • Discourse/s of international human resource management: what are the linguistic repertoires and ideological formations managers and other organizational actors draw upon as they make sense of IHRM phenomena

  • Power relations embedded in and provoked by IHRM: what kinds of power relations and asymmetries empower and constrain action in the context of IHRM?

  • Reframing a critical IHRM practice or debate: how can a critical theoretical perspective (e.g. feminism) be used in obtaining a deeper understanding of a particular aspect of IHRM (e.g. discourse on expatriates)?'

  • Globalization and the new employment forms in subsidiaries: how does a multinational corporation impose a new, market-oriented employment frame into subsidiaries with "European" institutional settings?

  • Expatriates as agents and subjects of "soft" power: how expatriates act in unnoticed ways as reproducers of corporate hegemony? How expatriates from "marginal" regions narrate their own subjugation? Is there a relationship between different types of positionings in the organizational webs of power?

  • Critical methods for international human resource management research

  • (Neo)colonialism as a mythical subtext of IHRM: in what ways do the colonial identities and power relations continue to affect the academic and professional discourses of IHRM`?

  • Deconstructive readings of classical IHRM texts: how benevolent texts imply the opposite to what they intend to profess? How hierarchy, ethnocentrism, cultural prejudice and discrimination is inscribed into writings normally understood as "progressive"?

About the convenors

Eero Vaara is Chair of Management and Organization at Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, Finland, and permanent Visiting Professor at Ecole de Management de Lyon, France. His critically tuned work on organizational change, industrial restructuring and globalization has appeared in leading journals, and he has also published books on these topics. His work has focused on the human side of mergers and acquisitions, and he has just edited a Special Issue on mergers and acquisitions for Organization Studies. Professor Vaara is a member of the Editorial Boards of Organization, Organization Studies and the Journal of Management Studies.

Tuomo Peltonen is Chair of Management and Organization at Oulu University, Finland, and a Visiting Professor at Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, Finland. He is also adjunct professor at Helsinki School of Economics and Turku School of Economics. Professor Peltonen has written extensively on international human resource management, identity and power, and is currently co-editing a Special Issue of Academy of Management Review on International Management. He is in the editorial board of Organization Management Journal.

Johan Berglund is a researcher at the Centre for People and Organization at Stockholm School of Economics. His main research interests are managerial discourses and professional identities. One particular area of interest is what passes for knowledge in different contexts. He teaches in courses in organization & management, human resource management and qualitative methodology. Internationally he has published articles in journals such as Organization and Scandinavian Journal of Management.