Human Resource Management in a Global Company
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Groups of people see the world through their own set of assumptions, attitudes, beliefs, and values. Learn about their culture and how it formed them, and aim to understand how other culture work so that everyone can be an effective global manager.
Organization from every part of the world is reaching out beyond their domestic markets to become international players. Not only is this very challenging on the business them, but it also creates a challenge for individual managers who must cope with working across geographic and cultural borders. Managing globally provides clear systems and approaches to help manage global networks and teams, and it examines the skills needed for dealing with different cultures. It teaches how to succeed in this new world.
This is widely recognised that an organisational diversity is obvious and necessary nowadays because of increasing pace of economic and technological development. Organisations need to be flexible if they seek to remain competitive and want to survive in a long run. This research explores the phenomenon of diversity in one of UK’s leading super market named Sainsbury’s (London Colney). The researcher intends to examine what the policy to work with different culture people and how management manage working with diversity people in workplace in the store in last two years I have seen.
1.1 What we think about culture:
Hofstede, (1991) defined culture as ‘the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one category from another’. It’s about share your beliefs, values, expectations of a particular group of people and differentiates them from a member of other groups. It can be found at many different levels. Each cultural world operates according to its own internal dynamic, principles and its own laws. As individuals, we generally only become aware of our own culture when confronted by others. Cultural differences are significant differences which have been identified across countries based on observed cultural dimensions.
1.2 Why culture consider in a multinational company:
Multinational companies are completely different from export-based firms not least because of their foreign subsidiaries. Not only does physical distance pose a challenge for effective communication, but also there is the challenge represented by cultural differences. Some MNCs have regarded cultural differences as so important that they have chosen to operate as multi-domestics with decision-making, management style and product development. The attitude is that people in the subsidiaries know best and should be allowed to go their own ways. For example, the attitudes in the Dutch electronics firm Philips for most of the previous century.
The downside of this approach is the fiefdom and ‘not-invented-here’ mentality, which resulted in Philips’ North American subsidiary refusing to adopt the Philips video recorder (V2000) and opting instead for the rival Japanese model. However, many MNCs, including Philips since 1987, require a much greater degree of coordination, particularly in regard to learning. To do so, these firms must develop common practices and common values. If foreign subsidiaries are to be integrated for knowledge-sharing purposes, a starting point is an understanding of the mindsets of subsidiary management and employees in terms of their work-related values. The management challenge for many MNCs is to be able to adapt their organizations to culturally distinct environments without losing organizational stability.
1.3 About an organisation:
Sainsbury’s is one of the leading retail super markets with approximately 792 stores all over the UK. There are some others supermarkets (Tesco, ASDA, Iceland and Somerfield) in UK which are the competitors of Sainsbury’s. All of them are trying their best to provide good services to their customers and working under diversity workplace. For the present research the researcher has taken Sainsbury’s London Colney to study about diversity. There were many reasons to select Sainsbury’s London Colney for this research. One of the reasons was that this is a big store with 350 employees working in different shifts (morning, evening, day, night and some are working as seasonal employees).
The management of this store comprises on around 20 to 30 people. This is a 24 hours store, located in the retail park and is very busy because of its location and also because this is close to M25 and people can get everything from the same store and also there is some other shop near to Sainsbury’s like M & S, Next, Boots and so on.
The second reason to select this store as a case study was that the researcher is working in this store in its customer services and checkouts department so the researcher as a participant has enough experience to work with different culture people in the store in the last two years. The sample size of this research (which includes on management and employees) was also easily approachable to get the relevant data. The researcher was quite hopeful that management and employees will cooperate with him for collecting data.
1.3.1 Company policy and commitment to colleagues:
There is much legislation surrounding the area of diversity and at the same time this provides a minimum standard for this policy, it is the company’s intention to move beyond simple legal compliance where appropriate. This policy exists to enable a working environment in which everyone feels valued and respected in everything that they do.
Innovative thinking and different ideas are critical to Sainsbury’s success and their ability to develop new ways of adding value for their customers will be greatly enhanced by the diversity of experiences and perspectives amongst their colleagues.
Their ability to attract and retain the highest ability of colleagues from the widest community is essential in sustaining a leadership position. The aim of the company is that all colleagues will be able to work in a diversity environment, where they will be free from discrimination. They are managing their colleagues under the principles of fairness and objectivity, which is integrated into all of the ways.
According to Sainsbury’s policy, they will not accept or ignore unfair decisions, practices or requirements that qualify or exclude an individual from meeting essential employment requirements. They include, but are not limited to, a person’s age, race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion.
The equal of men and women are monitored and action taken where necessary and appropriate to ensure parity. In line with their flexible working policy, they will make it possible for colleagues to achieve a balance between their work and home commitments. They will ensure that the opportunities presented through diversity will be integrated into the development of new products and services that add value for their customers. The performance and effectiveness of Sainsbury’s diversity commitment and demographic colleague make-up of their stores are continuously reviewed and where improvement is identified, action has been taken. Any breaches of this policy have been treated seriously and also dealt with under their disciplinary policy.
1.4 Background/Current situation:
As we know, now a day’s diversity is a one of the inclusive concepts and based on valuing everyone as a unique individual and celebrating this difference.
The management of diversity is about individuals. The management of diversity goes beyond equal opportunities, instead of simply allowing a greater range of people getting more opportunity. The concept of diversity embodies the belief that people should be valued for their difference and variety. Diversity is supposed to enrich an organization's human capital, whereas equal opportunity focuses on various ethnic groups.
As I said before that researcher is working in Sainsbury’s (London Colney) and have seen lots of differences about diversity. There are most of the people from Asian ethnic. But we have some Irish, African, Chinese and British as well. As I work in this store I have found some favour for same ethnic group. And for that other ethnic became sometime very aggressive. And from management level, there is also some gender valuing problem.
We have seen lots of female managers rather then males. But other, like they don’t differentiate between ages, disabilities, colours and so on. So far you can say, they follow the procedures and that’s why they are success in business now a days. My research is about how they manage, and do they really follow the diversity policies?
So, I intend to demonstrate, how a human resource manager can manage all those area and successfully complete company’s mission with different people.
All overall, a self assessment for international human resource managers to evaluate and improve their global management skills.
The primary aim of the research is therefore:
- To examine diversity, equality and discrimination issues in a multinational company, in particular, the way of HR managers to manage work with different culture people.
The research objectives are:
- To determine what’s the company policy about diversity to manage work with different culture people and to become a successful global manager, aim to develop a global outlook.
- To outline the development of approaches to organizational analysis.
- To explore a multicultural company from the perspectives of diverse social groups.
An international human resource manager needs to know the way of managing people in twenty first century. We are going to take an overview of what a manager needs to do in relations to managing people in a changing environment. I will be looking at:
- Diversity issues.
- International Human Resource Management policies.
- Managing people in a practical way.
- To examine the way of recruiting, and selecting the right people.
- As a human resource manager, we are likely to manage other people on a one- to-one basis. This involves understanding people as individuals and recognizing their differences as well as drawing up some general principles for managing them like motivates them, job satisfaction, and job design.
- Having accepted that there is a range of reasons why people behave differently in a work situation and that cannot make wild and generalized assumptions about any individual’s reasons for performing better or worse than average, we will recognize that when we put individuals together into a group, the behavior of that group is likely to be changeable. So it is important that they understand about the behavior of groups.
So, all overall I will be going through with literature review to practical experiences to find my research project.
Everyone is different in age, gender, nationality, and ways of thinking. These differences are a source of strength. The concept of diversity means respect and acceptance. It means understanding each individual is unique and recognizing our individual’s differences. It can be the aspects of race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political views and so on. It is exploration of these differences in a safe positive and development environment.
Diversity is about creating an all-inclusive work environment that values and benefits from different human attributes, experiences, and skills at all levels and enables all employees to develop and contribute to their full potential.
It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple acceptance to implementation and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.
Diversity and equality has become a key driving force in government policies. The concepts of diversity and equality are common but still there are some differences. Diversity is the acknowledgement and respect of differences within and between groups of people. And equality is the framework that enables access, participation, opportunities and contribution that is fair and inclusive.
According to Lew Platt (1993-1995) “I believe the word “diverse” includes not only different genders and races, but also different cultures, lifestyle and ways of thinking”.
2.1 Diversity Management at work:
The concepts of workplace diversity include the principles of equal employment opportunity. Equal employment opportunity policies address continued disadvantages experienced by particular groups of people in the workplace, including people with disabilities and those who mistreated by co-workers on the basis of race or ethnicity. These policies remain an important foundation for workplace diversity policy.
Diversity management involves systematic and planned programs or procedures that are considered to improve interaction among diverse people, especially people of different ethnicities, sexes, or cultures. And to make this diversity, a source of inspiration, complementarities, and greater organizational effectiveness should be provided rather than a source of tension, conflict, miscommunication, or limitation on the effectiveness.
2.2 Diversity Approaches:
The issues that diversity representatives focus on vary by country. In some countries, the question of language is important, some countries depends on ethnic group, or may be depend on ages. ‘Managing Diversity’ is a term that entered UK debates on equality approaches in the mid-1990s. While it is becoming increasingly common in the UK, there is still disagreement about its meaning and the extent to which it differs from previous approaches.
One of the things which do seem to be distinct is the way these approaches deal with differences between employees. The traditional approach to equal opportunities seeks to treat everyone the same. Managing diversity approaches recognises that employees are different and suggest that workplace can get benefit from those differences. What this means for organizations is that they need to adapt to employee characteristics rather than simply expecting from employees to fit with pre-existing policies.
The more fundamental alternative would be to restructure the way work is carried out so that everyone can be flexible for that. Another example would be the approach taken to ensuring that appraisal was carried out in a fair manner. A diversity approach would take a more radical look at what types of behaviour and activity are valued by the organization to see whether these are more commonly practised by members of one group rather than another.
Business case arguments for diversity share many elements with equal opportunities approaches but they tend to stress additional arguments. These have included claims that diverse teams are more innovative than ones composed of homogeneous individuals and that non-traditional workers can reflect the needs of a wider customer base.
Diversity approaches also place a strong emphasis on creating a culture within which everyone feels they belong and are empowered to reach their full potential. One aspect of this inclusiveness is an attempt to find policies which seem equally relevant to all employees.
The second alternative is seen as the more radical approach. It argues that there are multiple sources of difference which are as important as those based on gender or ethnicity. People are not defined by whether they are from European or Asian background but instead vary along a numerous of dimensions including personalities and tastes. This approach to managing diversity is strongly focused on individuals as the objects of equality policy and as such is in line with wider trends to individualise employee relations.
2.3 Managing people:
Management is often defining as “getting things done through people” Michael Armstrong (1998). By definition, managers cannot do everything themselves. They have to rely on other people.
Managers are sometimes said to spend their time planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling. In practice, the work of managers is quite fragmented. It depends demand on the situation and on the people concerned than on any academic division of the task into clearly differentiated elements.
Managers dealing with people: internally with their bosses, their colleagues and their staff; externally with their customers, suppliers, professional advisers and national and local government officials.
A leading writer on management, Henry Mintzberg has suggested that managers have:
Interpersonal roles: acting as a leader, providing guidance and motivation and maintaining a web of relationship with many individuals and groups.
Informational roles: continually seeking and receiving information as a basis for action, passing on factual information, and transmitting guidance to subordinates in making decision.
Resource allocation roles: making choices about scheduling their own time, allocating task to people and authorizing actions.
Disturbance handling roles: dealing with involuntary situations and change beyond their control.
The human resources of an organization consist of all people who perform its activities. In a sense, all decisions that affect the workforce concern the organization’s HRM function. Human resource management concerns the personnel policies and managerial practices and system that influence the workforce. Regardless of the size-or existence-of a formal HRM or personnel department (many small businesses have no HRM department).
So as an example, line managers will spend more than 50% of their time involved in human resource activities such as hiring, evaluating, disciplining and scheduling employees. But the jobs are not done yet. As a manager they need to look after employees’ performance. On the based of performance they need to motivate them, understand them and evaluating them.
2.4 Key concepts for Global Managers:
The following concepts contain the underlying message of this article. These concepts have direct relevance to the effectiveness of global managers. An understanding and utilization of these concepts are critical to one’s successful global performance.
Global leadership- being competent of operating effectively in a global environment and respectful of cultural diversity. This is an individual who can manage accelerating change and differences. The global leader is open and flexible in approaching others can cope with situations and willing to re-examine and alter personal attitudes and perceptions.
Cross cultural communication- recognizing what is involved in one’s image of self and one’s role, values, standards, values, and expectations, which are culturally circumstance. Such a person understands the impact of cultural factors on communication. Most of the people are aware of verbal and non- verbal differences in communication with persons from another culture. Not only does such a person seek to learn another language, but also they are aware that, even when people speak the same language, cultural differences can alter communication symbols and meanings and result in misunderstanding.
Cultural sensitivity- a person understands the cultural influences on behaviour. This individual behaviour translates such cultural awareness into effective relationships with those who are different.
Acculturation- effectively adjusting and adapting to a specific culture, whether that be a subculture within one’s own country or abroad. Such a person knows the impact of culture shock in successfully managing transitions. Therefore, when dealing with employees from diverse cultural backgrounds, this person develops the necessary skills and avoids being ethnocentric.
Cultural influences on management- understanding that management philosophies are deeply rooted in culture and that management practices developed in one culture may not easily transfer to another.
Effective intercultural performance- applying cultural theory and policies to specific cross-cultural situations that affect people’s performance on jobs.
Changing international business- coping with interdependence of business activity throughout the world as well as the subculture of the managerial group. The global manager appreciates the effect of cultural differences on standard business practices and principles, such as organisational loyalty.
Cultural synergy- building on the very differences in the world’s people for mutual growth and accomplishment by co-operation. Cultural synergy through collaboration emphasizes similarities and common concerns and integrates differences to enrich human activities and systems.
Work culture- applying the general characteristics of culture that how people work at a point in time and place. In the macro sense, work can be analysed in terms of human stages of development. In the micro sense, work culture can be studied in terms of specific industries, organizations or professional groups.
Global culture- understanding that, while various characteristics of human culture have always been universal, a unique global culture with some common characteristics might be emerging. Global managers are alert to serving this commonality in human needs and markets with strategies that are transnational.
2.5 Construct area of diversity:
Diversity is “the representation, in one social system, of people with distinctly different group affiliations of cultural significance” Cox (1993). Deresky (1994) also highlighted that, the differences between group members illustrated in terms of the extent such as culture, age, race, sexual orientations, gender and ethnic.
There are three characteristics of construct area of diversity, which are classified employees differences. These are Demographic, organisational and socio-cognitive diversity.
Demographic diversity: According to Jackson et al (1995), diversity such as ethnicity, age, nationality and gender those are considered visible attributes that can be easily characterised in particular individuals.
Organisational diversity: The second category is organisational diversity. It may include: a) Staff job security in the firm. b) Work or professional experience. c) Occupation, functional or job portfolios of the employees such as marketing, production, and finance.
Socio-cognitive diversity: The last category is socio-cognitive diversity, which includes cultural and religious values, knowledge level, beliefs and personalities characteristics.
By establishing and organising the staff according to their distinctive attributes, it will facilitate business managers to have a more objective understanding and appreciation of their diverse staff’s behaviours, attitudes and values, given the implications for interpersonal and organisational processes and outcomes when staff members work together. As peoples values and beliefs vary individually as a result of their socio-cultural differences, this will affect organisational processes and configurations. For examples:- cross-cultural communication, management-subordinate relationships, international team management, leadership and decision-making styles, staff motivations, staff recruitment, selections and development, and other managerial functions.
Apart from the jobs, employees also have differences based on their position within society. Whether an employee a man or women, from a particular ethnic group, is of a particular sexual orientations, has a disability may affect what they want from employment and what are able to offer. Some of these differences may also affect people’s access to jobs and their progress within organisations.
2.6 Discrepancies between academic research and HRM practice:
While HRM executives and managers are more educated and professional than in the days when they were in charge of personnel, the level of knowledge in practicing HRM in another part. Many companies hire MBAs for HRM jobs when not even a single HRM course is required in the typical curriculum for an MBA.
As an Academic research finding, quantitative analysis of recruitment sources using yield ratios can facilitate in recruitment.
On the other hand HRM practices, less than 10% calculate yield ratios and less than 25% know how.
According to academic research findings, realistic job previews can reduce turnover and weighted application blanks reduce turnover.
Alternatively, HRM practices, less than 20% of companies use RJPs in high-turnover jobs and less than 30%.
According to academic research findings, do not use traits on rating forms, make appraisal process important element of manager’s job.
On the other hand, more than 70% still use traits, less than 35% of managers are evaluated on performance appraisal.
2.7 International HRM:
Domestic HRM is involved with employees within only one national boundary. And we define the field of IHRM broadly to cover all issues related to the management of people in an international context. Hence our definition of IHRM covers a wide range of human resource issues facings MNCs in different parts of their organisations. Additionally, we include comparative analyzes of HRM in different countries. The complexity of international HR can be attributed to six factors:
- More HR activities.
- The need for a broader perspective.
- More involvement in employee’s personal lives.
- Changes in emphasis as the workplace mix of expatriates and a local varies.
- Risk exposure.
- Broader external influences.
In addition to complexity, there are four other variables that moderate differences between domestic and international HRM. These four additional moderators are:
- The cultural environment.
- The industry with which the multinational is primarily involved.
- The extent of reliance of the multinational on its home-country domestic market.
- The attitudes of senior management.
2.8 International HR policy:
In spite of the corporate business strategy unique to each company that they will drive the specifies of an international human resource policy, there are certain objectives that any effective IHR policy should aim to accomplish. And these objectives are:
The policy should attract and motivate employees to accept international assignment.
It should provide competitive pay plans to ensure the assignee can maintain his or her accustomed lifestyle.
It should promote career succession planning and include guideline on repatriation and additional overseas assignment.
It should facilitate relocation between home and host location.
And finally, it should be cost-effective, understanding and easy to administer.
To meet these objectives, we must have internal and external programs functioning to handle the following six areas.
In addition to the required technical and business skills, key traits to consider include: cultural sensitivity, interpersonal skills, and flexibility.
Document and formally communicate the assignee’s specific job requirements and associated pay in an assignment letter.
Identify the compensation, benefits and tax approach that meets company objectives. Some common approaches to pay include: home balance sheet, destination-based, net-to-net, flexible.
Assist the assignee with disposition or management of home and automobiles, shipment and storage of household goods, work permits and pre-assignment visits.
Provide cultural orientation, language training, spousal support, education assistance, home leave, and emergency provisions.
As the average cost of sending an expert on an overseas assignment is between three and five times the employee’s pre-departure salary, quantifying total costs for a global assignment is essential in the budgeting process.
2.9 Integrated HR systems to develop global leaders:
Companies with global human resource information systems are likely to be far better positioned to succeed in the highly competitive international market.
Multinational companies often discover that, especially in newly emerging markets, local management talent is rarely available to establish and build operations. Consequently, many companies conclude that the only way to start doing business in these markets is to relocate experienced managers from around the globe. Companies doing work in the international marketplace have discovered that providing pre-departure screening and orientation is essential to achieving the highest rates of success.
A human resource information system might include data on the potential training needs and past technical and cross-cultural experiences. Having such data would enhance the probability not only of selecting the best candidates, but also chances for success on the assignment, as a result having a great impact on the future development of global leaders. Because most multinational companies now require international experience in order to move up the corporate hierarchy, tracking information related to international assignment can make a important contribution to management development.
2.10 Diversity in multinational companies:
The rise of multinational companies and increased global diversification by even small companies has resulted in people of diverse background and cultures working together in the same office or for the same organization. Conflict in such situations is expected, but understanding the diversity issues can help to minimize the conflict and take benefits from diversity group of people brings to an organisations. To understanding how diversity is manage in multinational organizations, try to understand the concept of corporate culture, which defines organisational diversity programs and their use to minimize conflict among employees.
Companies and countries can no longer operate as if the rest of the world did not exit. New trading blocs, based on regional, not national, interests have formed with the European Economic Community and the North America Free Trade Agreement. There will be increased pressure influenced by the country culture. For examples, some corporate cultures may encourage women and men gathering together socially after work while country culture would prohibit this. A female executive from the USA might well have difficulty adapting to the rituals of her own company in a foreign country, particularly when the country culture differs greatly from the American cultures. In the case of working mothers, it is usually the woman who is responsible for picking children up from childcare (Deal &Kennedy, (1982, p. 80).
2.11 Understanding crosses cultural communication:
Some cultures communicate most readily via written messages, while others prefer talking. To relate successfully, understand what communication is, how it works, and how to tailor it to the cultural context into which it will be received.
When we “deliver” a message. We assume that we have “communicated”. But it is often the case that what has been said is not the same as what has been heard. Although the communication may feel in control, it is the receiver who determines whether communication takes place. The outcome of successful communication is agreement about meaning. This can be difficult to achieve in cross-cultural communication where some degree of misunderstanding is expected.
In relationship-focused cultures, such as those in Asia, words only convey a small part of the message; the listener infers the rest, based on their knowledge of the speaker, the setting of the conversation, and any body language. Task-focused cultures such as Germany or the United States prefer to use words as the key form of communication.
Autonomy cultures prefer explicit and precise communication, with little use of body language. Consensus cultures tend to be more indirect: meaning depends on the wider context, such as who says what to whom. In status cultures, communication tends to be rhetorical and emotional, using exaggeration and repetition.
2.12 Avoiding cross-cultural blunders:
“Brand blunders” when brand names travel abroad can have terrible results, risking being politically or culturally insensitive or sometimes amusing. In all cases, however, it makes brand-owners look silly at best and as branding is all about image, this is damaging. The Absolute vodka company, for examples, came to regret an advertising campaign that showed the south-western part of the US as forming part of Mexico, as it had done in the 1830s, before the 1848 Mexican- American War. The ad was designed to please the Mexican market, but offended some Americans who called for a boycott.
2.13 Sources of conflict in organizations:
For all kinds of reasons, some people don’t get on with others; you can’t expect to like everyone you meet or work with, or to be liked by everyone else. There are differences in personality, temperament, outlook and beliefs which make this impossible. Recognizing these differences are half the battle and, as a manager, trying not to force people with real interpersonal differences which cannot be resolved to work together.
Misunderstandings can arise because of different languages or accents or simply because people genuinely didn’t understand what was said or implied. Often, misunderstandings can be cleared up if a third party realizes what has happened and can persuade the protagonists that it was, simply, ‘a misunderstanding’.
Differences in Values and Beliefs- Values and beliefs are shaped by experiences and upbringing and, thus, are likely to differ considerately. For example, in a manager course run by Swedish company, SAS, participants were asked to list the values most important to them.
Most of the Swedish managers chose honesty as the most important whereas North American managers chose competition, liberty, and freedom and did not mention honesty in the top 15th. Same, competition is not important for Swedish managers. Values and beliefs are usually difficult to change; again they need to be recognized and respected if conflict is to be avoided.
2.14 Managing conflict:
Legislation and the high profile of equal opportunities in the UK has had both positive
And negative effects on the way people view each other. On the one hand, there is now widespread recognition that discrimination at work on the grounds of gender, race or ability alone is unjust, although the practice still continues. However, the grouping of minorities such as disabled, women or ethnic has produced responses.
For example, there has been a considerable increase in course for women returning to work after a career break; but not all women require courses, nor are they all likely to need courses on the same topic. More recent thinking has moved towards managing conflict-recognizing and valuing differences in people and their unique contributions to the workforce.
However, differences particularly if not well managed or recognized can create conflict which may develop into formal grievances or require taking some form of disciplinary action.
In many cases, it is the manager’s responsibility to deal with cases of grievance or to become involved in disciplinary action when this becomes to be expected. It is also his or her responsibility to offer help and advice to staff who have work-related problems and, where necessary, to recommend that they seek professional advice.
Managing diversity focuses on individuals rather than on groups. This does not mean that all the work done in the name of equal opportunities is not valuable and that positive or affirmative actions, such as women -only training or targeted recruitment, are not sometimes necessary as remedial actions. It does mean that they should not be considered necessary as a matter of course.
Kandola and Fullerton (1994) argue that an organization that manages diversity effectively should adopt a non potential treatment view that does not give individuals preference only because they are members of minority group. For example, assertiveness training is very often provided only, or mainly, for women. If assertiveness is a valued organizational characteristic, training should be provided for anyone who needs it. And then we can manage conflict.
2.15 Contingency matrix approach to IHRM:
According to Luthans and Stewart (1977), the contingency matrix is based on “If-Then” relationships that are then used to analyze and provide practical guidelines for effective IHRM. Specifically, the “If” in the contingency matrix is the country or culture and the “Then” is the human resource management concept or technique that will best meet the goals of the multinational corporation. In strategic management, the contingency matrix approach to IHRM attempts to make the best “fit” between the country/cultural environment and HR concepts and techniques that will strengthen the HR core competency of the multinational companies.
2.16 The cultural side of the contingency matrix:
There are some comprehensive research that can be used in diagnosing the cultural dimensions of given countries in constructing the contingency matrix.
Hofstede suggested that a country’s culture can be depicted along five cultural dimensions, which can be summarized as follows:
Power distance: The extent to which members of a society accept a hierarchical or unequal power structure. In large power distance countries, people consider themselves to be naturally unequal and there is more dependence by subordinates on bosses. In small power distance countries, people tend to see themselves more as equals. Asian, Latin American and African countries tend to have large power distance, while northern Europe has relatively small power distance.
Uncertainty avoidance: How members of a society cope with the uncertainty of everyday life. High levels of stress and anxiety denote high uncertainty avoidance countries. These cultures tend to be more expressive and emotional than those of low uncertainty avoidance countries.
Individualism: Individuals perceive themselves as independent and autonomous beings. At the opposite pole is collectivism, in which people see themselves as integrated into ‘in-groups’.
Masculinity: The extent to which a society is liable towards aggressive and materialistic behaviour. This dimension tends to present stereotyped gender roles. At the opposite extreme is femininity, which denotes sensitivity, caring and an emphasis on quality of life.
Long-term vs. short-term orientation: People’s time perspectives in their daily lives. Hofstede added this dimension as a result of work by another researcher, Michael Harris Bond, who found different time orientations between Western and Eastern ways of thinking.
Similar to Hofstede, Trompenaars also have used individualism and collectivism but also added some new dimensions, which are briefly summarized below:
Universalism vs. particularism: Cultures with high universalism place more weight on formal rules, whereas more particularistic cultures value relationships more than formal rules or agreement.
Individualism vs. collectivism: This relationship mirrors one of Hofstede’s four dimensions, but the findings were somewhat different. Trompenaars found Japan to be much further towards the collectivist extreme. On the other hand, Mexico and Czech Republic, which had found to be more collectivist, now tend to individualism.
Neutral vs. emotional: In a neutral culture, people are less inclined to show their feelings, whereas in an emotional culture, people are more open in showing emotion and expressing their views. In the findings, Japan has the most neutral culture and Mexico the most emotional.
Specific vs. diffuse: In a specific culture there is a clear separation between work and private life. In diffuse cultures, the whole person is involved in a business relationship, not merely the contracting role.
Achievement vs. ascription: In an achievement culture people derive status from their accomplishment and record. In an ascription culture status is what matters, which could relate to birth, family, gender or age. The US and UK are achievement cultures, whereas China and other Asian cultures are ascription cultures.
Trompenaars’ dimensions seem to go beyond Hofstede’s and can provide relevant guidelines for now a day IHRM. The above discussion of the “if” cultural environment provides a point of departure for filling in the cells of the IHRM contingency matrix. The real challenge, however, lies in drawing from the body of relevant research and practical experience in developing the matrix.
2.17 Culture and Market:
People point to McDonalds or coca-cola or TESCO as examples of tastes, markets and therefore cultures becoming similar everywhere. There are many products and services, which is universal to world markets. It is not important that what the product are and where they are found physically, but it is important that they mean to each culture. The real meaning of culture is not what is visible on the outside. It is the collective ways groups of people understand and interpret the world. So the fact that we all can listen to Walkmans and eat Hamburgers tell us that there are some novel products that can be sold on a universal message, but it does not tell us what eating hamburgers or listening to Walkmans means in different cultures. (Trompenaars, 1994).
2.18 Cultural awareness:
Growing cultural awareness has also brought into the international public interest between national self-awareness and existing state institutions. There are two different examples of nationhood and cultural identity:
- Japan, an old state with a consistent culture.
- The new states of Eastern Europe, where diverse cultures present challenges for nation-building as well as for constructing new institutions of state.
2.19 The role of cultural Diversity training:
Most companies tackled diversity as a way to comply with government equal employment opportunity and affirmative action regulations. Because of growing importance, companies are integrating diversity management into how they conduct business rather than having stand-alone programs. The increasing cultural diversity in the workplace has significant implications for human resource management and development programs and leads to important questions. According to Laurent (1983), cultural differences more pronounced among foreign employees working within the same multinational organisation than among employees working for organisations in their native lands.
When they are working outside their native land, it seems that Germans become more German, Japanese more Japanese, and so on. The implications of this cultural diversity in the workplace for HRD are already felt. While such programs with cultural awareness content are important in the workplace, it is equally critical that training professionals concern themselves with the process of training for this changing trade. All too often, it is merely assumed that, by learning a new language and joining a new learning environment, participants will naturally adapt to new learning styles.
The role of cultural diversity training means different attitudes and behaviour are more often that not conditioned by values, assumptions, culture and perceptions that are expressed in the way we behave and interact. These cultural influences are so deep those we upon them unconsciously- in everything we do, from the way we stand and talk, to the way we deal with superiors, conflict management and decision-making. Since these differences are so deep and sensitive, they can often lead to substantial misunderstanding and miscommunication. Nowhere this is more damaging than in an international workplace, where misunderstanding based on culture can make business deals, international mergers and any other type of cross-cultural working.
2.20 Speaking different languages in the workplace:
Nowhere in the workplace do some differences show up more dramatically than in the area of communication. Not only people from different cultures speaking different languages, but they don’t realize it; they think they are speaking the same language. Although the words are the same but the meaning can be completely different. The same expression can easily have a different emotional emphasis. Misapprehension is so common and consistent that ultimately we develop limiting perspectives of each other.
Although no federal law specifically supports or prohibits English-only rules, states have determined that it could be illegal to prohibit employees from speaking in a foreign language at work (title VII of the 1964 Civil Right Act). Therefore, it’s best not to create any specific hard-and-fast rules without gaining appropriate legal counsel first.
One of the more balanced interpretations taken by certain states is to allow employees to speak with each other in a foreign language during breaks and meal periods, while requiring them to speak English during the normal work shift. This reasonable approach allows co-workers to converse in their own language during their free time, while permitting management to supervise and maintain control and safety during the regular shift.
2.21 How religion impacts on business life:
Religious beliefs and practices may have direct or indirect influences on many aspects of business life, including:
- Particular foods that are forbidden for example pork for Muslims
- Ban or restrictions, on consumption of alcoholic drink.
- Religious festivals, during which work may be forbidden or curtailed.
- Requirement for daily prayers.
- Weekly day of religious observance for example Saturday for the Jewish faith.
2.22 Motivating Across Cultures:
A global Human resources manager needs to identify the needs of individual employees, within the context of the culture in which he or she is working. Recognise the personal priorities of the diverse individuals in your team and apply the appropriate motivational tools.
People worldwide work to satisfy their needs and wants. These vary according to the circumstances of the individuals, and on factors such as cultural values. It is difficult to generalize but research suggests that professional in a range of countries value challenge, and the opportunities to use their skills. Not surprisingly, lower level workers place high importance on security, earnings, benefits, and working conditions. Make sure that as a global manager you are sensitive to the different priorities of the individuals in your global team.
Beyond personal circumstances, individuals are influenced by wider cultural values. For example, in Latin America, job status and good personal life are key motivators. But in Saudi Arabia, family esteem is more important than public recognition. In one country, a job may be viewed as an economic necessity, in another country it may be tied to self-identity.
To understand fully what motivates an individual, take personal circumstances into account and allow for cultural changes.
Local knowledge enables a manager to determine the best motivators in the culture. In autonomy cultures, individual incentives are the most suitable. Use praise, promotions, and pay raises. In consensus cultures, group-based incentives work best. Distribute bonuses, formal recognition, competitive awards, and holiday awards throughout the team. Recognize that anything that enhances respect is motivational in status cultures- these include titles, position, and flattery, gifts for the individual and the family, and bonuses.
Thinking about Motivation
Understand the culture - What are the priorities of this culture?
Understand individuals - How different are the people I am managing?
Select motivators - How will people be most effectively motivated?
2.23 Giving Feedback:
Managers need to give and receive feedback on performance. There are various methods of providing feedback, some more direct than others. Choose the appropriate method, depending on the culture in which it is being received.
Formal, direct feedback is typical in autonomy cultures. The focus is on the performance and personal strengths of the individual. Use two-way communication so that the employee can give his or her point of view and negotiate new goals. In Britain and the United States, for example, encouraging words are said at the beginning and end of a performance review. In Germany, criticism is more direct.
This research critically examined the fact of diversity in one of the supermarkets in UK named Sainsbury’s (London Colney). The researcher explored the topic “How international human resource managers effectively manage diversity in a multinational company”. To achieve the objectives of this research, the primary as well secondary data has been collected. This chapter of methodology gives detail overview about the methods and techniques used to collect data for the present study.
3.1 What do we think about Methodology?
The first thing we need to do is to think about our research methodology. This is the philosophy or the general principles which will guide our research. It is the overall approach to studying about topic and includes issues we need to think about such as the constraints, dilemmas and ethical choices within our research.
Methodology refers to more than a simple set of methods; rather it refers to the rational and the philosophical assumptions that motivate a particular study relative to the logical method. “Methodology is the rationale and the philosophical assumption underlying a particular study rather than a collection of methods, though the methodology leads to and informs the methods” (Wisker, 2008).
It is believed that the success and failure of any research depends on its methodology. The selection of research methodology is one of the most crucial and a sensitive part of the research. Different research questions lend themselves to different methodologies. The research methodology used in the present study is based on ‘Constructivist Approach’ to study the role of management and attitude of employees. According to this approach “Human beings are subjects and have consciousness and mind, they raise knowledge and meaning from experience and from relationships between things, people and events” (Wisker, 2008). According to Wisker (2008), Methodology of any research explains ontological and epistemological views.
3.2 Research Design:
A research design provides a framework for the collection and analysis of data. A choice of research design reflects decisions about the priority being given to a range of dimensions of the research process. Research design is the rational structure of the research question.
There are two functions of research design: first, to develop an operational plan and second, to make sure that the procedures adopted within the plan are sufficient to provide valid, objective and precise solutions to the research problems. In this discussion of research design, five different types will be examined. These are – experimental design, case study, cross-sectional or social survey design, longitudinal design and finally comparative design.
3.3 Case Study design:
Case study research is widely used and very effective in management research. Furthermore, it is a very popular approach among students preparing their final theses, as it combines business practices with science and also allows them to supplement their studies, with gaining practical experience. Case study research is suitable for explanatory, descriptive and exploratory research, like the other approaches.
The basic case study entails the detailed and intensive analysis of a single case. A case can be; a single organization, a single location, a person, or a single event. The most common use of the term links the case study with a location, such as a workplace or organization.
Yin defines a case study as “an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context; when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident; and in which multiple sources of evidence are used”. This definition shows clearly how case study research differs from other research approaches.
Having examined different methods of research, I have decided that case study is the most appropriate method to get the answer of my research question. The current incident in my research is the organisational diversity happened in the store in the last two years. I am ‘investigating’ the role of management while implementing diversity in the store and exploring the impact of this diversity on employee’s attitude.
3.3.1 The Strengths of case study:
According to Bell (1993: 8), “the great strength of the case study method is that it allows the researcher to concentrate on a specific instance or situation and to identify the various interactive processes at work”. One of the natural characteristics of case studies is that they operate with a severely restricted focus. It is a truism that all social research simplifies the phenomena investigates. However, case studies can do this in ways that strongly relate to the experiences of individuals, small groups, or organizations.
One of the strength of case study approach is that it allows the researcher to use variety of sources and a variety of research methods as part of the investigation. A variety of data collection techniques may be used in this method and are likely to be used in combination. They may include, for instance, interview, participant observation, documentary analysis and questionnaire. This is also called ‘Triangulation’ which refers to the use of different data collection techniques (Saunders et al, 2007). In the present research, ‘literature review’ as a secondary source and ‘interview’ and ‘questionnaire’ as a primary source has been used to collect the data.
3.3.2 Limitations of Case Study:
Some people criticise the case study approach on its ‘credibility of generalizations’ made from its findings. The researcher needs to be particularly cautious to drive out doubts and to show the extent to which the case is similar to, or different with, others of its type (Denscombe, 1998). However, it was not my aim in this study to generalise. I was specifically interested in finding out that how management of Sainsbury’s, London Colney manage while implementing diversity and I was concerned with the impact of this diversity on employee’s attitude. Because I am also working in the same store and I just wanted to examine that how HR manager successfully manage diversity in the last two years in this particular store.
Negotiating access to case study setting can be a problem for the researcher. Research process may put in danger if access is suspended or withdrawn. Some times in case studies, access to documents, people and settings can generate ethical problems in terms or ethical issues (IBID,1998). In regard to access to the setting, the management of the store cooperated with me a lot. People team manager discussed my questionnaire with me in detail and approved it and granted me access to approach to the management and employees.
3.4 Data Collection Methods:
Data for any research can be obtained either from quantitative methods or from qualitative methods or from both of them altogether. To collect the data for this research I have used both qualitative and quantitative methods. In qualitative methods, literature review and interview has been used and in quantitative methods questionnaire has been used to collect the data.
3.5 Quantitative Methods:
Quantitative data deals with the numbers and any thing that is quantifiable. The strength of the quantitative data is that since methods of data collection are well known and open it is easy for other researchers to follow the same procedure, check the statistical tests and, if those have been carefully done, arrive at the same result (Burnham et al, 2004). Quantitative approach is complementary.
Proceeding from the positive assumption that if something exists, it exists in some degree, and can therefore be numerically measured (Jankowicz, 1995). He further characterized quantitative research by following:
Involving you in concentrated attention on a limited number of variables and constants which are important to you and which are usually spoken in the language of your own investigation.
A search for the significance of relative proportions, in order to identify what is more important or significant and what is less so in the issue which you are exploring.
An attempt to understand the ways in which selected factors in a situation are structured or interrelated, in importance or precedence.
In the present research, I have used questionnaire as a quantitative data collection techniques. Advantages and disadvantages of questionnaire and why it has been used in this research for data collection has discussed later in this chapter. With quantitative data collection method, well structured questionnaire some time it is difficult for the respondents to understand the exact meaning of the word, phrase or statement in the same way as researcher understands it. To overcome these limitations, qualitative methods have also been used.
3.6 Qualitative Methods:
Qualitative research is common in social and behavioural sciences, and among practitioners who want to understand human behaviour and functions. It can be short list of responses to open-ended question in an online questionnaire to more complex data such as transcripts of in-depth interviews or entire policy document. According to Miles and Huberman (1994: 6), a qualitative approach has the following features:
- It demands that you take tour informants seriously in their own language, and from their own point of view, suspending your own personal and project related preconceptions while you are gathering data, no matter how legal those preconceptions might be.
- It seeks to discover how people understand the situation or issue you are investigating, and how that understanding guides their actions.
- It seeks to develop knowledge by linking the accounts people give to an underlying body of theory.
Qualitative approach provides useful methods for exploring and examining organisational events such as diversity. Qualitative approaches to data collection and analysis can provide the flexibility required for attaining an in-depth understanding of individual employee experiences of working with different culture people and the relationship and context in which these take place. The researcher seeks to find meaning in the respondent’s narratives of diversity and dialectical since respondents constructions of diversity can be elicited and refined only through interaction between and among investigator and respondent. With such a methodology, the participant and researcher can make sense of and interpret their shared understanding about diversity.
3.7 Data Collection Techniques:
In the present research, three techniques literature review, as a secondary data source and interview and questionnaire, as a primary data source has been used to collect the data.
3.7.1 Secondary Data (Literature Review):
In this research, I have presented review of the existing literature, as a secondary data to get the answer of my research question and in this regard collected data from different useful sources like, books, journal’s articles and professional websites. For certain types of research project, such as those requiring national or international comparisons, secondary data will probably provide the main source to answer the research question and to address our objectives. Secondary data is quite useful for most research project.
It refers to the information and data, collected by some one other than the researcher who is conducting a current study. These include such as personal documents, books, research papers, government and business reports and the mass media. The mass media involves a huge range of potential sources i.e. newspaper and magazine’s articles, television news, reports and documentaries, films, plays and novels. Secondary data include both quantitative and qualitative data, and they are used principally in both descriptive and explanatory research. The data you use may be raw data, where there has been little if any processing, or compiled data that have received some form of selection or summarising (Kervin, 1999).
Advantages and Disadvantages of secondary data which are as follow:
One of the biggest advantages of collecting secondary data is the enormous saving in resources, in particular time and money (Ghauri and Gronhaug, 2005). The researcher just needs to go to the library and locate and utilise the sources. To use secondary data, we can save our time as data will already be collected and subsequently we will be able to spend more time and effort analysing and interpreting the data.
To get data quickly, secondary data may be the only viable alternative. In addition, they are likely to be higher-quality data than could be obtained by collecting our own (Stewart and Kamins, 1993).
Another advantage of using secondary data is that it can be useful to compare data that we have collected with secondary data. Furthermore, it provides a comparison instrument with which we can easily interpret and understand our primary data.
In its disadvantages include:
One of the main problems is that these data are collected for another study with different objectives in mind and may not completely fit with our study.
Sometimes, where data have been collected for commercial purpose, to gain access, it may be difficult or costly. The variables might have been defined differently.
Another problem is that it is the responsibility of the researcher that data are accurate; inaccuracies can not be blamed on the secondary source. It is the researcher’s responsibility to check whether findings presented by another researcher are based on secondary or primary data.
3.7.2 Primary Data:
Because of some problems associated with secondary data, I have also collected primary data. Primary data is the one directly collected by the researcher.
One of the data collection techniques used in this research is the interview. Interviews are the most widely used source for collecting information for evidence. Interviews carried out with respondents to a survey, case study interviews are often unstructured, or even in the form of quite informal discussions with a key informant for the case. Semi-structured, or focused, interviews are another type of interview that is often used in case study research. In such cases, the researcher schedules interviews with people who possess relevant information on the cas
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