MNEs are unique and complex types of organisations (Sundaram and
Black, 1992) and face particular problems in managing their elaborate
structures. One difficulty is the need to co-ordinate their diverse
activities and the various units or subsidiaries in which these
activities take place. The issues involved in the management of
these interunit linkages have been seen as representing a major
influence on strategic international human resource management
(SIHRM) issues, function and policies and practices (Schuler,
Fulkerson and Dowling, 1991; Schuler, Dowling and De Cieri, 1993).
The notion of organisational learning has been accepted as critical
in understanding the processes involved in managing these interunit
linkages (Ghoshal and Nohria, 1989; Doz and Prahalad, 1991), but
this paper suggests that it is the contribution of learning
theory that is the crucial [if missing] factor in interpreting
the processes involved in interunit relationships. The paper begins
by considering some of the literature on learning theory and its
application to strategic management before considering how learning
takes place in an international context. A research agenda and
some preliminary findings are then presented.
Beyond the HRM domain, however, organisational learning has made
many other significant contributions in the management discipline.
The concept can now be considered as having moved centre stage
in attempts to explain competitive advantage and is beginning
to appear as the integrating mechanism in resource based views
of interfirm competition (Moingeon and Edmondson, 1996; Nanda,
1996). The field has long relied for inspiration on its original
seminal founders, drawn from disciplines such as organisation
theory, cybernetics and culture - March and Simon (1958); Cyert
and March (1963); Forrester (1965); Schein (1985) and Argyris
and Schon, 1978).
More recently, important contributions have been made by many
commentators. It was De Geus (1988) who made the by now memorable
statement about learning faster than one's competitors being the
only sustainable competitive advantage and Senge (1990) who argued
for five component 'technologies' of learning organisations -
systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, shared vision
and team learning. Pedler et al, (1990) have become key influences
of the 'learning as self-development' agenda, believing that within
rapidly changing, knowledge-intensive contexts, managers need
to rely on themselves as much as, if not more than, corporate
HR departments for continued skill enhancement. Cohen and Levinthal
(1990) suggested that 'absorptive capacity' was a significant
influence on the amount and nature of organisational learning
ability, indicating that structural impediments to individual
learning need to be removed in order that such learning spreads
throughout the organisation. Such structural mechanisms would
also be central to the views of Prahalad and Hamel (1990) who
argued that the building of core competencies as 'bundles' of
long-lasting skills and intelligences represented the most important
strategic issue facing organisations. Starkey brought the co-ordination
issue to the individual level when he suggested that: 'The crucial
leadership skill in the MNC will be the ability to synthesise
difference and interdependence' (1996: 379).
Nonaka (1991) argued that individual and organisational knowledge
which was often tacit needed to be made explicit within organisations
- his suggestions that metaphor and 'redundancy' could be utilised
in this process appear too great a challenge for many, if research
in these areas is any measure. Argyris (1992) has attempted both
to link individual learning and organisational routines by focusing
on what might prevent effective learning i.e. 'barriers' to organisational
learning and on how making managers' attempts at learning success
and learning failure more evident can help improve an organisation's
overall ability to learn. Garvin (1993) proffered a definition
of a learning organisation, a set of different stages of knowledge
- as moving through a cognitive-behavioural-performance combination
of steps and a systemic approach to organisational learning:
Learning organisations are skilled at five main activities: systematic
problem solving; experimentation with new approaches, learning
from their own experience and past history, learning from the
experience and best practices of others and transferring knowledge
quickly and efficiently throughout the organisation. Each is accompanied
by a distinctive mind-set, tool kit and pattern of behaviour.
Many companies practice these activities to some degree. But few
are consistently successful because they rely largely on happenstance
and isolated examples. By creating systems and processes that
support these activities and integrate them into the fabric of
daily operations, companies can manage their learning more effectively
From this much referred-to analysis, typical of much writing in
this field, at least four questions present themselves: what
are these 'systems and processes', what is 'integrate(d)
into the fabric of daily operations' and how is this achieved,
and perhaps most important of all, who decides that this
overall approach is necessary and begins the process of recognising
the importance of organisational learning? In other words, who
will act as the 'learning entrepreneur'? This raises the intriguing
question of whether we are where Penrose (1959) was when she argued
that the only obstacle she could then find to firm growth [which
must also, we contend, mean learning] was the supply of entrepreneurial
management to the firm and the rate at which it could be assimilated?
In this context, we might also add the problems we perceive in
what has developed into one of the more popular ways of answering
this core question - an emphasis on 'experiential learning' (Mumford,
1988). Mumford reported from his empirical study of 144 company
directors in the United Kingdom how important learning while doing
was to his survey participants:
Learning from doing the job was the most frequent, pervasive and
intimate experience of learning. The reason for this was well
expressed by a famous American bank robber Willie Sutton. When
asked why he robbed banks he replied 'That's where the money is'.
Managers' perception of why they learn from doing the job offers
the same kind of perception, 'that's where the real learning occurs'
At least four questions present themselves here: what kind of
experiences do managers have? Can we be sure that at least some
will be positive? In what ways do managers learn from experience?
How does the organisation benefit from the experiential learning
of its individual managers? Add to this set of questions the additional
pressures arising from doing business internationally and the
problems raised here surely become more difficult.
More recent work in organisational learning has attempted to answer
some of these questions. Edmondson and Moingeon (1996) pointed
to the distinction between learning how [the process improvement
of skills and routines] and learning why [the definition
of causality]. DiBella et al, (1996) suggested that identifying
organisational learning styles - in a range from rugged individualism
via communal to evangelical - helped in understanding how learning
was likely to be characterised in specific organisations. Spender
has added to the debate about hidden knowledge debate by arguing
for the 'unpacking' of tacit knowledge into three types - conscious
practical, automatic practical and collective practical, each
with a different required strategic architecture. Collis (1996:
157) contends that learning is the connection between an organisation's
overall capability: '
the dynamic routines that produce continual
improvement in the efficiency or effectiveness of the performance
of the product market activities' and profit. Orton (1996) has
used Weick's model of organising [which suggests that past structures
contain present actions] to argue that focusing on the processes
rather than on the structures within organisations might yield
more practical insight into how organisations learn. Phills Jr
(1996) put forward the view that the notion of generic analytical
activities [or GAAs], defined as comparison, explanation, prediction
and prescription: 'provides a more detailed view of the epistemological
foundations for strategy development efforts, particularly as
conducted by management consultants' [p. 217] and can shed light
on why change efforts can be frequently frustrated by the inertia
inherent in so many organisations.
Notwithstanding this welcome deepening and broadening of the research
literature, there still exists much criticism of how little we
know of what it is and how firms actually learn.
Further, the bulk of research on the learning organisation has,
to our knowledge, been conducted on firms within assumed national
borders [or where internationality was not considered important
enough to highlight] and in relation to managers as individual
learners in situ. A key question, therefore, is whether organisational
learning is any different in an international context, i.e.
in the multi-national enterprise or MNE, especially given the
unique nature of the MNE as outlined in the first section above.
While the notion of organisational learning in international contexts
has been identified (Dibella et al, 1996; Starkey, 1996) this
part of the organisational learning field appears largely unexplored.
While understanding the nature of organisational learning is complex
enough when considered in a domestic context, this complexity
is multiplied in an international setting. There is now a very
extensive literature on MNEs and various attempts have been made
to categorise and understand the processes which take place within
these large and complex organisational structures (e.g. Dowling
and Schuler, 1990; Bartlett and Ghoshal, 1989; Ghoshal and Bartlett,
1990; Doz and Prahalad, 1986; Edwards, Ferner and Sisson, 1996).
One of the central issues in these analyses is how the relationships
with subsidiaries should be managed; the relationships or 'interunit
linkages' (Schuler et al., 1993) that exist between subsidiaries
themselves as well as between subsidiaries and headquarters. The
issue has been variously described as one of managing differentiation
and integration (Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967), globalness and localness
(Bartlett, 1992), isomorphism and consistency (Rosenzwieg and
Singh, 1991), differentiated fit and shared values (Nohria and
Ghoshal, 1994), and controlled variety (Doz and Prahalad, 1986).
However, this management process in not an end in itself; Schuler
et al. (1993: 729) suggest that the major objectives in interunit
linkages for SIHRM is:
Balancing the needs of autonomy (thereby facilitating variety
and diversity), co-ordination and control for the purpose of global
competitiveness, flexibility and learning through the use of relevant
SIHRM policies and practices.
This issue is examined by first by all considering the frameworks
put forward for understanding the relationships and then by examining
the ways in which these relationships are managed in practice.
Frameworks for Understanding Interunit Linkages
Doz and Prahalad (1986) describe four types of subsidiaries: export
platforms, large integrated subsidiaries, large self contained
subsidiaries and small importing subsidiaries. Although each provides
a different challenge, for Doz and Prahalad the key consideration
is how to combine 'strategic variety and strategic control'. Thus,
in the case of the large integrated subsidiaries, 'the challenge
is to ensure active and effective participation of these subsidiaries
into the formulation of global strategies and the transfer and
sharing of their information, knowledge and expertise' (p. 57).
Bartlett and Ghoshal (1989) suggest that there are four types
of organisation: the multinational with its dispersed and loosely
co-ordinated subsidiaries which tends to be highly decentralised;
the 'global' company with its more co-ordinated and centralised
approach to international operations; the international company
which focuses on the adaptation of parent-company skills; and
the transnational in which there are different contributions from
each national team, with knowledge shared and a structure based
on a matrix rather than a traditional hierarchy. Bartlett and
Ghoshal argue that organisations move from one model to another
as situations change and see the transnational as the model that
allows for both local and global needs to be served: the transnational
must be a flexible, innovative organisation that encourages learning.
In a later paper, Ghoshal and Bartlett (1990: 604) sees the MNE
as 'a network of exchange relationships among different organisational
units, including the headquarters and the different national subsidiaries'.
Here the power of the subsidiaries is determined not solely by
the role allocated by headquarters, but also by the positions
they occupy within their local networks of customers, suppliers,
regulators and others.
Another approach to understanding this issue has been made through
a reappraisal of the integration-differentiation debate which
originated with Lawrence and Lorsch (1967). Kamoche (1996) refers
to this as the IN-DI puzzle and defines this as 'how firms balance
the internal/headquarters demand for integration with those of
responsiveness at the subsidiary/unit level' (p. 231). Kamoche
extends the integration-differentiation debate by using a resource
capability view of the firm to offer new insights into the management
of expertise in an international context. The value of the resource-based
view in the context of the MNE is that this perspective focuses
on the heterogeneity of resources: that to have the potential
to generate sustained advantage, resources must meet the criteria
of value, rarity, imperfect imitability and non-substitutability
(Barney, 1991). Thus, the diversity of the units comprising the
MNE is not a disadvantage but rather a potential source of competitive
advantage. But this diversity must also be harnessed in some way.
For many writers this may be achieved through a process of organisational
learning and Hamel and Prahalad (1993) suggest that it is a firm's
ability to learn faster and apply its learning more effectively
than its rivals that give it competitive advantage.
Managing the Interunit Linkages in Practice
There are many examples of how organisations try to manage their
inter-unit linkages and thereby achieve organisational learning.
Many commentators (Evans, 1992; Tichy, 1992; Scullion, 1993) argue
that management development is the key to the success of the MNE,
that it is the 'glue' (Evans, 1992) to bond together the otherwise
separate entities. Yet managers may be used for various purposes.
Bartlett and Ghoshal (1992: 131) describe different types of global
manager who have the knowledge, skills, expertise and vision to
implement cross-border strategies. Such managers act as conduits
in this learning process 'by scanning for new developments, cross-pollinating
best practice and championing innovations with transnational applications'.
But there is also evidence that international managers may be
used as part of a control strategy. Scullion's (1994) study of
45 British and Irish international companies indicated that in
33 of these firms, control was identified as a key reason for
the use of expatriates. However, no matter the value placed on
international managers, they are not easy creatures to create;
there is ample research evidence indicating the difficulties involved
in expatriation and repatriation (e.g. Barham and Oates, 1991;
Other measures are also used to enhance this learning. For example,
Pucik et al. (1992) suggest that having some units serve as centres
of excellence, i.e. creators of knowledge, thus becoming benchmarks
for the other units for specific practices, may serve to benefit
all units. Rosenzweig and Singh (1991) indicate the role that
the headquarters can play in both identifying innovations and
good practices in subsidiaries and then acting as an instrument
for diffusing these to other units.
While there is plenty of evidence that some MNEs do pursue strategies
to enhance learning, there are also indications that many find
this a difficult and tortuous process while others actively encourage
rivalries among their subsidiaries. Edwards et al. describe two
studies, one which examined the car industry (Mueller and Purcell,
1992) and one which involved a US-owned pharmaceuticals firms
(Frenkel, 1994). Here, direct inter-plant productivity comparisons
were used to decide investment decisions. A study of nine multinationals
operating in Ireland (Monks, 1996) found that while learning did
occur within some MNEs, in others subsidiaries saw themselves
as being in direct competition with other subsidiaries. Many of
the policies and practices within these organisations were pursued
in order to ensure that the subsidiary retained its position within
the MNE. In addition, while some subsidiaries had become the centres
of excellence that Pucik et al. (1992) identify, this process
was perceived more as a mechanism for ensuring the continual survival
of the subsidiary rather than as a means to encourage the dissemination
of learning. This attitude is not surprising, as Ireland's economy
is heavily dependent on multinational investment and recent years
have seen major job losses where MNEs have suddenly withdrawn,
particularly from plants with excellent track records (e.g. Digital,
Some explanations for the diversity of strategies pursued by MNEs can be found in case studies of two British MNEs (Edwards et al., 1996), one in the engineering sector (Components) and one which manufactured chemicals and related products (Process). The study explored some of the mechanisms operating within MNEs including the extent to which synergy was important and how it was pursued, and the interplay between synergistic and financial models. The study indicated that although both these firms exemplified moves towards the transnational model depicted by Bartlett and Ghoshal (1989), both firms were involved in 'trying to balance financial and synergistic economies' (p. 37) within the context of their very different organisational histories, cultures and market structures. In this regard, Process appeared to be more successful, a fact which Edwards et al. suggest is a reflection of this company's historical legacy and the growth and predictability of its markets. As Edwards et al. point out, synergy is not something which can be prescribed, but depends 'on a degree of stability, for it takes time for co-operation and trust to evolve' (p. 37).
The Role of HRM in Generating Learning Capacity
The resource-based view of the firm also gives an insight into
how HRM might assist in the process of enabling the MNE to generate
a learning capacity. Boxall (1996: 67), in his analysis, cites
a variety of studies which indicate that competitive success does
not come simply from making choices in the present; it stems from
building up distinctive capabilities over significant periods
of time. Boxall argues that by taking a resource-based perspective,
HRM 'can be valued not only for its role in implementing a given
competitive scenario, but also for its role in generating strategic
capability (Barney, 1991); for its potential to create firms which
are more intelligent and flexible than their competitors over
the long haul, firms which exhibit superior levels of co-ordination
and co-operation (Grant, 1991)'. Boxall (p. 67) suggests that
in resource base terms, HR policies and practice may be valuable
because they are socially complex (competitors may not be able
to replicate the diversity and depth of linked processes that
sustain them) and historically sensitive (it takes time, for example,
to build high levels of workforce trust. Employee know-how was
rated as one of the most durable resources and one of the most
important contributors to business success in studies undertaken
of six successful companies in the UK (Hall, 1993) and core competencies
of employees are highlighted by Prahalad and Hamel (1990).
In a later publication, Pucik (1992) also identifies how specific
HR roles are linked to the development of competitive advantage
for the global firm, competitive advantage that is seen as being
gained through organisational learning, continuous improvement
and competitive culture. Table 1 identifies the HR roles involved
in the organisational learning element of this activity.
Beer et al. (1996) describe a strategic human resource management
process developed by them. This process was designed to integrate
the perspective of business policy/organisational theory and organisational
behaviour/development in order to achieve a strategically aligned
organisation. Their work in one MNE suggests that SHRM is 'a powerful
tool for motivating, guiding and furthering the individual and
organisational learning needed for strategic alignment to take
place'. Its value is that it puts process ahead of content'.
Table 1: Direction and Criteria of Global HR Activities
|HR Roles||Organisational Learning|
|Organisation design||Integrated network|
|Staffing and selection||Slack resources, organisational competence|
|Performance appraisal||Teamwork, initiative|
|Reward system||Co-operation, information sharing|
|Management development||Multifunction and multicountry careers|
We are particularly interested in two ideas in relation to international
organisational learning: (i) the notion of how knowledge and learning
are managed in MNEs between and among headquarters and subsidiaries
and (ii) how unlearning of 'old' knowledge happens alongside learning
of 'new' knowledge, as Pettigrew and Whipp (1991) have argued.
If unlearning (see Hedberg, 1981; Argyris, 1982; Mumford, 1988)
must occur as part of the organisational learning process, what
is unlearning like in the MNE, how is it efficiently achieved
in this context, who manages it and what are the effects on the
MNE of not 'unlearning' properly? (See figure 1 below).
Figure 1 Learning and Unlearning in the Multinational Company
Our second concern lies with the apparent gap between the current
practice of quasi-messianic support for the importance of organisational
learning and the theoretical base on which sound management strategy
can be built in the use of learning concepts and practices. Why
has such a gap appeared? How might it be closed? There are a number
of important issues here. First, it appears that the bulk of attention
has been on the apparent goodness of the learning idea and its
portrayal as the 'holy ghost' of organisational management - a
'trust that it is good and thou shalt obtain powerful results'
approach. This is a stance which borders too closely on faddism,
in our view. Second, it is also evident that the overwhelming
bulk of research in organisational learning has concerned itself
with how organisations can learn - i.e. the assumed value of the
exercise is given and attention directed on the means of learning.
In attempting to reconsider the theoretical origins of the field
and their useful impact on international organisational learning,
however, we suggest that a focus on what organisations
can learn might be useful. Such a question directs attention on
to the outcomes or goals of organisational learning, and, ultimately,
to the classic dilemma of the field: it is individuals who learn
but it is organisational routines which need to be 'taught' or
changed by individual learning - the systems thinking loop within
organisations (Senge, 1990). After all, it is how what individuals
learn ends up being adopted as effective new routines by the organisation
which is the fundamental organisational learning question.
In conclusion, we have raised a number of questions in this paper:
4. Is 'asking' what can an organisation like an MNE learn
a useful way of progressing the field?
5. What is the role of human resource management in encouraging and facilitating the transfer of learning within a multinational enterprise.
Some Preliminary Research Findings: Learning within EDS
In order to explore some of the questions raised by an analysis
of the organisational learning literature, case studies are being
undertaken in MNEs engaged in the development of learning capacity.
Four in-depth analyses are planned and to date one has been completed
in Electronic Data Systems (EDS).
EDS was established in the USA in 1962. Today, the company is
a world leader in information technology services and employs
more than 90,000 employees in 41 countries. It is a highly profitable
company and reported record revenues of $2 billion for 1995. In
1992, EDS began an extensive strategic planning exercise. This
was undertaken by the Director of EDS Corporate Strategy, Greig
Trosper, in collaboration with Gary Hamel of the London Business
School. Employees, customers and external advisers were asked
to discuss business opportunities in the information industry
and to consider the competencies required to remain competitive
within that industry. EDS was changing from 'being a provider
of technology services to being a provider of services based on
technology (vice chairman, Gary Fernandez, Kirkpatrick, 1996)
and in so doing had to try and revamp the reputation acquired
during the 1960s and 1970s of 'being overly aggressive, cut-throat,
brutal Green Berets' Merrill Lynch analyst, McClellan (Kirkpatrick,
Analysis of these issues identified learning as a key competency:
learning as individuals, teams and organizations. Alongside the
strategic planning exercise, attention was also given to leadership
development. A course was provided by the Center for Organizational
Learning at MIT for a small group of the EDS executive team. This
course was taught by Peter Senge and Fred Kofman and was followed
by a number of awareness raising sessions at EDS. From the combination
of the strategic planning and the leadership development exercises,
'organizational learning and leadership were deemed to be two
capabilities critical to EDS's future success' (Moorefield and
Losada, 1995:9). From this, a plan was developed to transform
leadership at EDS.
There is an acceptance within EDS that there are different types
of learning. A distinction has been made between incremental learning,
just adding to what you already know, and transformational learning.
While incremental learning is inherent in quality manuals, all
documented processes etc., the focus in EDS has been on transformational
learning: developing the capacity of individuals to learn for
themselves, on building 'learning-to-learn skills', on development
processes for leadership, teams etc.
Learning between HQ and Subsidiaries
Although there is no formal architecture in place to support learning,
i.e. they haven't mapped out a precise structure, there are lots
of structures in place to support and encourage learning. In part,
these are derived from the four programmes that were initiated
from the strategic review process. For example, Action Learning
Teams are brought together to redefine and create corporate policies
and methods such as the HR practices. The group is an international
team which draws on people in the subsidiaries and they have assignments
to do within the subsidiaries as part of the process.
Learning between the Subsidiaries
1. Corporate Learning Programmes
These bring together executives and developing executives, leaders, and teams for the purposes of development and sharing and they are targeting key areas through these programmes e.g.
2. Web sites
These have been set up around knowledge areas in order to share
information around. They use the internet and also have intranets.
They have built these around centres of knowledge and expertise
in all their industries, e.g. healthcare, manufacturing.
3. Internal feedback system
They have an internal customer satisfaction index and HQ asks
the subsidiaries to report on this.
4. Web Site devoted to learning to learn skills
This is a knowledge net, so individuals can share learning through
The organisational learning efforts have spread from HQ to the
operational units 'to a great extent' and . ' Now HQ is regrouping
to redefine its role in the process, the subsidiaries are actively
promoting the LO approach and HQ is trying to find its own role'.
A conscious decision was made not to measure OL, but the results
of the learning are measured by mechanisms such as whether customers
choose EDS rather than a competitor and the 'balanced scorecard
is used and focuses on customers, people and productivity'
The Role of HR Practices in Generating Learning Capacity
The structure of the HR function and the operation of HR practices
both foster learning within EDS. A great deal of contact takes
place between corporate headquarters and the subsidiaries, and
between the subsidiaries: the communication is ongoing and utilises
every type of medium including email, video and tele conferencing.
A reporting function is part of this contact and the subsidiaries
provide regular information to corporate headquarters. However,
this contact extends well beyond a directive/reporting function:
the aim is to share ideas and experiences of HR practices. For
example, all countries will have a say in a major initiative such
as a ranking exercise; all will participate in conferences such
as expatriate administration which are held every quarter. If
a subsidiary develops a new approach to HR practice, there are
mechanisms to encourage the sharing and dissemination of this
A wide range of structures exist to promote learning and development and the company has invested millions of dollars in training and development and there are hundreds of different types of training programme. As part of the curriculum element of training and development, a career library has been set up on the EDS Web site and this is accessible by every employee. This identifies a variety of development activities for individuals including job changes, training courses, self-development and learning-in-place, and is seen as a repository of learning options. Although the career library was developed by the policy setting group at corporate headquarters, any HR manager can add to the library.
The Operation of HR Practices within EDS
One of the Action Learning Teams reviewed the HR system and developed
a new framework. Processes and measures to identify and encourage
learning are built into each element of the framework. For example,
at the selection stage behaviourally oriented questions are asked
in order to elicit the ways in which individuals approach and
manage learning and change situations. Individuals are expected
to improve and to increase their contribution to EDS and this
is facilitated through the numerous development opportunities
available within the organisation and assessed through the performance
review system. The performance review form includes sections on
'organisational learning' and 'dealing with complexity' which
enable individuals to identify the ways in which they have tackled
Individuals are expected to learn on a continual basis and to
learn from the experience of new situations such as expatriation.
Thus, senior managers will have worked all over the world and
international assignments are received as a key to development
because they foster different insights and views of the world;
diversity is therefore valued. The leadership profile features
competencies such as 'visionary', 'emotional bonding' and 'manage
complexity'. Coaching and mentoring are also major elements of
leadership: individuals are expected to contribute to the learning
Recognition is also given to the 'unlearning' and 'relearning'
that is part of both individual and organisational learning. Relearning
is identified as part of the transition process in the acclimation
of employees to new job situations and as part of the management
of change, complexity and innovation. Each employee is familiarised
with the concept of 'mental models' (Senge, 1990).
This article has considered the problem of how MNEs co-ordinate
their diverse activities and the various units or subsidiaries
in which these activities take place. The organizational learning
and strategic management literatures were taken as the starting
point for understanding some of the theoretical issues on learning
while the contextual issues were explored through the literatures
which have developed in the area of international management and
strategic human resource management. The literature analysis raised
a variety of questions about learning in the multinational enterprise
and the case study conducted in EDS in Ireland begins to shed
light on some of the questions posed in this paper. For example,
this particular company is focusing very much on a 'learning-to-learn'
philosophy, with an emphasis on changing the ways in which employees
view the world, as their strategy for the encouragement and facilitation
of learning within their organisation. In addition, this company
has embedded learning into its human resource practices and the
HR system is critical to the supporting infrastructure of organisational
learning. This initial research will be followed by studies in
other multinationals in an attempt to explore the complex web
of activities which takes place in the multinational enterprise.
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