Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Call for papers. Special Issue on: Management of Human Resources in MNCs from the BRICS Countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa): Emerging Patterns, Challenges and Research Agenda

Journal of International Management 

Special Issue Call For Submissions

Management of Human Resources in MNCs from the BRICS Countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa): Emerging Patterns, Challenges and Research Agenda

Guest Editors:

  • Pawan S. Budhwar (Aston University, Birmingham, UK),
  • Rosalie L. Tung (Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, CANADA)
  • Arup Varma (Loyola University, Chicago, USA) 
Ever since the publication of the Goldman Sachs report (Wilson and Purushothaman, 2003), the world has been carefully watching the growth and developments in the BRIC nations. South Africa sought membership to the BRIC Forum and was officially admitted as a member nation in December 2010. Since then the group has been renamed BRICS to reflect the five-nation membership. Not surprisingly, we have witnessed a number of critical developments in these five markets, such as creation of massive new markets for foreign firms; ever-increasing levels of both outward and inward FDI to and from them; and lately, the growth of MNCs from these markets which are challenging global players and even acquiring them. While research exists on HRM practices of MNCs from developed countries and their subsidiaries – including their operations in developing economies (e.g., Schuler et al., 2009), there is a dearth of publications on HRM systems in emerging market MNCs (EMNCs). Given the increasing awareness of the impact of HRM on organizational performance, the context-specific nature of HRM, the trend towards cross-vergence of HRM systems across the globe and the scarcity of reliable research evidence on HR policies and practices of MNCs from BRICS nation, it is both timely and topical to pursue a special issue on this topic.

Apart from the creation of useful information and knowledge for researchers, practitioners and policy makers, this special issue is expected to test the relevance of existing theoretical frameworks (e.g., OLI – ownership, location, internationalization; global standardization versus localization perspective; resource based view of the firm; institutional theory) to examine the nature and emerging patterns of HRM systems in MNCs from BRICS nations. Further, due to a combination of factors such as the heterogeneity of the BRICS nations, the motives for the growth of their respective MNCs being different, and the ownership of MNCs from these nations being different from developed nations MNCs, this special issue is expected to provide researchers the opportunity to examine and confirm the usefulness of new theoretical perspectives such as the LLL (linkage, leveraging, learning) (Mathews, 2006), dynamic capabilities perspective (Cazurra and Genc, 2008), ambidexterity perspective (Luo and Rui, 2009), ambicultural mode (Chen and Miller, 2010), reverse diffusion, spring board strategy (Luo and Tung, 2007), liability of country of origin, liability of foreignness and late mover disadvantage (e.g., Contractor et al., 2007; Guillen and Garcia-Canal, 2009), and hybridization or move towards the best practice model; contributing to developments in the fields of international HRM, international management, comparative management, and organizational learning (e.g., Tung, 2008; Horwitz and Budhwar, 2014).

The aim of this special issue is to create an opportunity to fill the above highlighted gaps in the existing body of literature by assembling conceptual, theoretical and empirical developments related to the topic of ‘management of human resources in the MNCs from BRICS nations’. HRM is generally acknowledged to be context-specific; and to better understand the nature of HRM systems relevant for EMNCs in different settings, it is important to analyze the business environment of the country of origin of these MNCs and the country of their operations (e.g., Khavul et al., 2010). Also, over the years, there has been an ongoing debates in the field of international HRM on topics such as the suitability of specific approaches to IHRM; global standardization versus localization of HRM policies; transfer of HR across subsidiaries and global sharing of best practice; global talent management; reverse knowledge transfers; the role of country specific HR centers in coordination and transfer of knowledge across the MNE operations; and convergence-divergence or cross-vergence of HRM across subsidiaries of MNCs operating in different parts of the world (see, e.g., Budhwar et al., 2009). However, the majority of these debates have been tested in MNCs from developed nations. In light of the rapid growth of MNCs from BRICS countries, a number of questions need addressing, such as what is the role of the HRM function in the internationalization of EMNCs? What IHRM approach(es) do EMNCs adopt? Are these similar to or different from those of developed countries MNCs? What kind of theoretical frameworks are suitable to investigate the emerging patterns of HRM systems in MNCs from BRICS nations? Do EMNCs emphasize global standardization, localization or glocalization of HRM systems? What are the key HRM challenges facing MNCs from emerging markets? This special issue is designed to address the aforementioned issues.

The following are illustrative questions/themes that are consistent with the spirit of this special issue. Authors are encouraged to contribute papers with wider perspectives, as long as the papers are in line with the broad theme of the proposed special issue.
  • What is the nature of HRM systems of foreign firms originating from emerging markets, specifically Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa? 
  • What are the major factors that affect HRM policies and practices from EMNCs in their overseas operations? 
  • What theoretical frameworks are relevant to examine and highlight the context-specific nature of HRM in EMNCs? 
  • Are HRM systems of MNCs from BRICS countries convergent with systems of developed nations? 
  • How do MNCs from BRICS countries share their best HRM practices and transfer them between headquarters and subsidiaries? 
  • What is the experience of expatriates from MNCs of BRICS countries, and to BRICS countries? 
  • How can HR policies and practices affect organizational performance of EMNCs? 
  • What is the role of HR in the formation and implementation of global strategic alliances (e.g., mergers and acquisitions)? 

Key dates for the Special Issue:

  • Submission Deadline: 31 July 2015
  • Review Completion: 30 April 2016
  • Publication: 2016/17

For enquiries please contact


  • Budhwar, P., Schuler, R. and Sparrow, P. (2009) (Eds.) Major Works in International Human Resource Management. London: Sage (4 Volumes).
  • Chen, M.J. and Miller D. (2010) West meets East: toward an ambicultural approach to management. Academy of Management Perspectives, 24(4): 17‒24. 
  • Contractor, F.J., Kumar, V. and Kundu, S.K. (2007) Nature of the relationship between international expansion and performance: The case of emerging market firms. Journal of World Business, 42: 401‒417. 
  • Cuervo-Cazurra, A. and Genc, M. (2008) Transforming disadvantages into advantages: Developing-country MNEs in the least developed countries. Journal of International Business Studies, 39: 957‒979. 
  • Gullién, M.F. and Garcia-Canal, E. (2009) The American model of the multinational firm and the new multinationals from emerging economies. Academy of Management Perspectives, 23 (2): 23‒35. 
  • Horwitz, F. and Budhwar, P. (2014) (Eds) Handbook of Human Resource Management in Emerging Markets. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar (In Press).
  • Khavul, S., Benson, G.S. and Dutta, D.K. (2010) Is internationalization associated with investments in HRM? A study of entrepreneurial firms in emerging markets. Human Resource Management, 49(4): 693-711.
  • Luo, Y. and Rui, H. (2009) An ambidexterity perspective toward multinational enterprises from emerging economies. Academy of Management Perspectives, 23(4): 49‒70. 
  • Luo, Y. and Tung, R.L. (2007) International expansion of emerging market enterprises: A springboard perspective. Journal of International Business Studies, 38: 481‒498. 
  • Mathews, J.A. (2006) Dragon multinationals: New players in 21st century globalisation. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 23: 5‒27. 
  • Schuler, R.S., Sparrow, P. and Budhwar, P. (2009) Major Works in International Human Resource Management. In P. Budhwar, R. Schuler and P. Sparrow (Eds.) Major Works in International Human Resource Management – Volume 1. London: Sage, xxiii - xxviii.
  • Tung, R.L. (2008) The cross-cultural research imperative: The need to balance cross-national and intra-national diversity. Journal of International Business Studies, 39(1): 41-46.
  • Wilson, D. and Purushothaman, R. (2003) Dreaming with BRICs: The path to 2050. Global Economics Paper Number 99. Goldman Sachs Global Economic Website,