This paper explores the possibility of combining rational-economic and institutional approaches to understanding the diffusion of human relogicalTitle management and industrial relations practices within MNCs. I propose one broad and one focal research question: "In what circumstances is the competitive context more salient than the institutional context to managerial decision making (and visa versa) and how do they interact?" and "In what circumstances, by what processes and with what effect are HR/IR practices and routines transferred from MNC parent company to subsidiary?" I go on to discuss some possible methods for addressing these questions empirically.