Globalization can have far reaching implications for human resource management (HRM) and management practice in general. For some, globalization creates pressures for a common, often taken as 'best', transferable set of HRM practices that can spread around the world. These best practices are considered powerful enough to override existing systems. In contrast, others see national based HRM systems as more resilient, partly because of the systemic underpinnings of particular cultural and institutional milieu. Both views contain important implications and lessons. We outline these, a framework for viewing them and the case of HRM in South Korea to demonstrate the issues, contradictions and dilemmas and ways of thinking so that practitioners can make informed choices concerning HRM practices to develop competency enhancing HRM systems.