This article reviews the present state of research on multinational corporations (MNCs) in the international human resource management (IHRM) literature. Drawing on 342 articles from 39 English journals in the business and management field published over the period of 2000–2014, we identify three key strands within this section of the IHRM scholarly field (MNC country of origin/domicile effects; expatriate management; and, intra-organizational knowledge and strategy flows). Building up on our detailed assessment of trends in the literature based on a systematic review, we propose areas where the field could be developed and extended through drawing on insights from, and building synthesis with, cognate fields. We conclude that major developments on the ground – the increasing numbers of unskilled expatriate workers, the rise of MNCs from emerging markets, and the growth of transnational alternative investors – have the potential to transform the field of enquiry, yet are only starting to appear in the IHRM literature. In developing new major areas of enquiry – and in extending existing ones – insights may be drawn from the literature on comparative institutional analysis to take fuller account of trans-national actors.
- Alternative investors
- Cultural perspectives
- Institutional theories
- International human resource management
- Multinational corporation