Conflict management systems in subsidiaries of non-union multinational organisations located in the Republic of Ireland

Liam Doherty, Paul Teague*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Foreign-owned multinationals are a dominant feature of the Irish economy. Over the years, there has been an ongoing 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 human resource management (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 article reports the findings of research which investigates the conflict management strategies of 83 non-union multinationals. The main finding of this research is that most non-union multinationals are not transplanting innovative conflict management strategies into Ireland. We seek to explain this trend by suggesting that the longstanding tendency to categorise 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 HRM: multinationals can pursue 'ethnocentric' and 'polycentric' HRM polices simultaneously. A 'polycentric' approach was taken to the matter of conflict management as this HRM topic was not considered a strategic priority for non-union multinationals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-71
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • International human resource management
  • Irish industrial relations
  • Non-union organisations
  • The theory of multinationals
  • Workplace conflict management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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