In a highly globalised world with intensive cross-border networks, where businesses and institutions strive for worldwide efficiency, quality and innovation, evidence-led insights into leading-edge international human resource management (HRM) and careers are essential for individuals and organisations alike.

At Cranfield School of Management, we are world leaders in the research, consultancy and business application of international and comparative human resource management and careers.

Comparative human resource management and careers

Cranfield School of Management has long been a pioneer of research into comparative HRM and careers, having founded the world’s largest international comparative HRM policies and practices survey in 1989.

Since then, the Cranfield Network on Comparative HRM (Cranet) has continued to explore people management approaches around the world, with many books and articles published based on the knowledge generated by its research. Its insights have helped organisations to design and manage their national and international HR approaches, and have been incorporated into our programmes and consultancy advice for organisations.

We also play a leading role in a research network which examines careers in different national contexts – Cross-Cultural Collaboration on Contemporary Careers (5C). Comprised of scholars from around the world, this consortium explores how career success and career management vary with cultural differences and factors such as age, familial background, ethnicity, industry and institution.

Our knowledge and expertise in the area of comparative HRM and careers enables us to support organisations and individuals through:

  • Workshops and seminars aimed at exploring context-sensitive HRM and talent strategies, structures, policies and practices to help managers to reflect and refine their organisation’s people approaches;
  • Networking events to build further practice insights and connections required for leveraging successful global people management approaches;
  • Master’s and doctoral-level programmes with a comprehensive focus on comparative HRM and careers;
  • Customised research and consultancy in the broad areas of comparative HRM;
  • Cutting-edge academic research into context-sensitive HRM strategies and a broad array of global people approaches in the areas of talent management, international careers, and reward systems, to produce high quality academic and professional books and articles.

The Cranfield Network on Comparative HRM

The Cranfield Network on Comparative HRM (Cranet) is a worldwide network of more than 40 business schools that conducts research into comparative HRM. An acknowledged leader in all aspects of international human resource management – the theoretical and the practical – it has gained a distinguished reputation worldwide.

Launched in 1989, Cranet was established to meet the need for ready access to information on best practice and comparative performance within Europe, later expanding its focus worldwide. Its objective was – and still is – to gather hard evidence, in the local language, about the way HRM policies and practices vary between countries, and how they have been and are changing over time.

Through its regular international comparative survey, Cranet provides the benchmarks for systematic comparative analysis of HRM trends within employing organisations operating in different geographic regions. By collecting, analysing and disseminating this powerful representative data on a continuing basis, it offers academics, practitioners, government bodies and international institutions access to expert and informed research as well as guidance on international and comparative HRM practices.

Find out more on the Cranet website

Cross-Cultural Collaboration on Contemporary Careers (5C)

The Cross-Cultural Collaboration on Contemporary Careers – or 5C Group – is a non-profit consortium of faculty members from diverse cultural regions around the world that explores how career success and career management vary according to cultural differences and factors such as age (or ‘generation’), familial background, ethnicity, industry and institution.

The group exists to improve understanding of modern careers, with the aim of advancing scholarship, promoting appreciation of differences, and identifying progressive solutions for managing career issues such as work-life balance and fulfilment on behalf of individuals, career practitioners, organisations, and even societies as a whole.

Find out more on the 5C website

Career mobility and global careers

Having a diverse workforce is proven to have a positive impact on employee engagement and creativity at work. Added to that, uncertain and difficult times are requiring multinational companies and their global mobility departments to rethink many of their policies and strategies.

Yet, despite a favourable legal framework, there continue to be problems and obstacles that hamper cross-border labour mobility. Employment prospects for immigrants are below those of natives and over-qualification – i.e. employment below skill levels – is widespread in most European countries, meaning the growth potential of immigrants is far from realised. Little is known about transnational mobility patterns and the length of migration episodes, as well as about retention processes of foreign employees.

There is considerable scope to make existing labour mobility more efficient and beneficial for all parties involved.

Our research into this area looks at the value globally mobile individuals such as self-initiated and assigned expatriates and migrants bring to companies as well as to economics and society in their host country, with the aim of understanding and promoting labour mobility.

We focus on practical, tangible insights into how companies can support expatriates, repatriates and all sorts of other migrants – including war refugees – to settle and succeed, continuing to build their careers.

We also look at the topic from the point of view of the individual employee, seeking to understand the benefits of living and working abroad as well as the impact of ‘reverse culture shock’ when returning to their home country after an extended period of time working abroad.

We are part of the international Global Mobility of Employees (GLOMO) research project, a four-year, EU-funded study into global labour mobility that aims to tackle increasing labour and skills shortages in Europe.

Global Mobility of Employees (GLOMO)

The four-year, EU-funded Global Mobility of Employees (GLOMO) research project is an international study into labour mobility across Europe, and its impact on careers.

Part of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, the project involves eight partners from across Europe seeking to generate knowledge about the global mobility phenomenon while training and developing a unique network of experts in the field.

A total of 15 early stage researcher positions were created, with a focus on migration and expatriation. The researchers were trained on the theory, before gaining first-hand experience of global mobility themselves by participating in secondments to partner universities and institutions throughout Europe.

Promoting labour mobility across Europe is a central objective of EU strategy to tackle increasing labour and skills shortages. Cross-border labour mobility is known to benefit individual citizens, employers and the aggregate economy, while intra-EU mobility can be seen as a way of fostering European integration.

The project’s aims are:

  • To systematically generate knowledge about the mobility phenomenon and its implications, such as success factors, effects and added value,
  • To provide training to further develop early-stage and senior researchers understanding the complex, multi-disciplinary phenomenon of mobility,
  • To suggest relevant implications for individuals, organisations, European societies, and economies.

Find out more on the GLOMO website