The Labour Market And Its Internal And External Dimensions

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It is often asserted that recent globalization has engendered flexibility. Production needs to be responsive to changes in global demand so the workforce must be flexible. However it is also argued that flexibility is not new and has long been a part of the structure of the labour market (Hakim as cited in Pollert, 1988). Perhaps flexibility is just seen as more relevant because it is promoted by the contemporary neo-liberal agenda. According to Meager, there may be a shift in ‘the rationales underlying the use of temporary workers’ (1985: 19). Whatever the case may be, there is a feeling that flexibility is an increasingly relevant characteristic of the labour market. Whether or not there is evidence to support this in empirical terms, the sentiment of change in labour demand must be addressed.

The notion of flexibility has many dimensions, and defining it is problematic. This essay will include all types of flexibility, namely functional, numerical, financial, temporal in their internal and external dimensions. There has been extensive debate surrounding labour flexibility and its implications on the international management of human resources. The problem is: how does flexibility affect the international human resource management? What are the implications for those involved?

This essay will first assess whether there has been a shift in IHRM practices regarding flexibility. Has the international management of human resources been transformed in light of
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