Analysing Comparative And International People Management Business Essay


According to Torbiorn (1997), workforce issue is very complex in the international environment. For the successful implementation of international businesses, effective workforce strategies are very important. There is often competition between multinational companies and local organizations to recruit and develop such talent and mobile workforce (Collings D.G., Scullion H. and Michael J. Morley M.J.,). However, because of the "boundaryless" careers (Tung, 1998), companies have to execute efficient polices to retain these people after successful hiring and nurturing these talent. Therefore, more and more pressures are faced by the corporate international Human resource functions in developing a role beyond that of managing an internationally mobile workforce. In this essay, I would like to outline some problems or challenges that these functions should pay attention when implementing their company's polices.

In the context of international Human resource management, challenges and opportunities arise simultaneous. The functions of international Human resource management are affected by the environmental and institutional of the national where the companies are operating. Drawing upon the findings of Vance C.M. and Paik (2006), there are external factors and internal factors that should be considered in developing a role beyond that of managing an international workforce:

External factors

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First, the economy (Vance C.M. and Paik, 2006).

This is not just local economy where the companies are operating. It is about the local, national, regional and global economic strength. The economies condition of businesses has significant influence on workforce policies.

Second, the social preferences (Vance C.M. and Paik, 2006).

This includes a set of beliefs, values, norms, customs, attitudes and expectations in group, communities and societies. In this factor, culture is considered as a major impact on what the company should do or want to do. Besides, today's communication technologies lead to new issues and opportunities for the international mobile workforce (such as the internet), and rapidly changing traditional norms and expectations.

Third, competition (Vance C.M. and Paik, 2006)

The competition in the international market increase market share and profitability. Every company has to find the most appropriate way to lower the price of service and highly satisfy their customers. In this process, for maximizing their profit, greater accessibility to cheaper labour markets is a significant competitiveness. Besides, the ability of successfully attracting and retaining human resource through their workforce management is also an advantage of the company in global competition.

Forth, demographics (Vance C.M. and Paik, 2006)

Demographics or general labour characteristics such as age, gender, ethnicity and skill have an important impact the nature of challenges and practices of workforce management. For example, in such a rapid changed global market, a company must consider replacing the aged workforce for adapting the environment or attracting skill labour form other countries.

Fifth, innovations (Vance C.M. and Paik, 2006)

In order to survive and compete successfully in the times that the world of work change rapidly, companies has to monitor and anticipate changes and learn how to adjust appropriately. Innovations play a significant role in this process by improving the companies' performance and lead the way for change in workforce management.

Sixth, Government (Vance C.M. and Paik, 2006)

Government has active role in improving national infrastructures, developing education and labour force skill and establishing tax to successfully attract multinational companies that can provide new jobs for their national workforce. Therefore, through government agencies, it implements employee protection and specification of workforce management policies, law and regulations. Besides, the agreements and treaties between two or more governments also affect the operation of all governments involved. All these influence the way companies manage their mobile workforce.

Seventh, intergovernmental organisations and employee-interest organisation (Vance C.M. and Paik, 2006)

Similarly to the government factors, intergovernmental organisations such as United Nation, International Labour Organisation, Organisation for economic cooperation and development, World Trade Organisation, World Bank, International Monetary Fund also have impact on the operation of multinational companies and the way these companies manage their workforce as well. Besides, the labour unions, employee and professional Associations, non-governmental organisations play important role in developing the human resource plans and policies related to mobile workforce of corporate international Human resource functions.

Internal factors:

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First, company cultures (Vance C.M. and Paik, 2006)

This is the set of assumptions, attitudes, beliefs, norms, priorities and values within the company. Therefore, when developing a role beyond that of managing an internationally mobile workforce, the human resource functions must carefully consider.

Second, company climate (Vance C.M. and Paik, 2006)

It reflects the satisfactory of the employee about the company. Climate of a company can change easily such as by the necessary of downsizing. Besides, this has a major impact on employee retentions and key component performance measures as well.

Third, company strategy and structure (Vance C.M. and Paik, 2006)

This includes an identification of the values of the company; align with company policies, activities and programs. Effective workforce management is key point to successful company strategy implementation.

There are increasing highly skilled and qualified employees move to one country to another for career, personal or financial reasons. Thus, for survive and thrive in a global competition, the multinational companies have to effectively manage their mobile workforce. And this is nowadays the primary in global competitiveness when capital and technology cannot be transferred without people.

How are the problems or challenges for the function affected where the national operations range across three different 'worlds': established advanced (or old) industrialized, newly industrialized and developing

Different nations and regions of the world has different context such as different institutional, legal and cultural circumstances which is very important in creating cost-effective management practice. (Brewster C., Sparrow P. and Vernon G., 2007). When the organisation operations range across national boundaries, the functions will be affected by many problems and challenges that cause by the above differences, especially through three different "world": established advanced industrialized, newly industrialized and developing.

The three "world": established advanced industrialized, newly industrialized and developing have deeply differences in context from the background, development, technology, ideology. Therefore their human resource management is very different and the problems or challenges that they faced in operating process are different, too.

Established advanced or old industrialized world includes developed countries which consider as leaders the human world in almost areas. However, besides some similarities, the human resource management practices discuss and apply in these countries are distinct from each other in many regards (Pieper). For example, while Law, statues and high degree of State interference regulate human resource management in France, there are the dualistic regional structure (between the highly industrialized of the North and the traditional developing of the South) in Italy. However, despite many differences, often contradictory in many aspects of the countries in this world, it shares the two tendencies: "flexibilisation in work organisation, work place and the benefit system" and the "dimishing power of trade unions" (Pieper).

On the other hand, developing world has different situation of Human resource management. According to Cohen and Wheeler (1997) as well as Hilderbrand and Grindle (1997), it faces the case as: "low salary levels, lack of effective performance standards, inability to fire people, too few rewards for good performance, recruitment procedures that do not attract appropriately trained people, promotion patterns based too much on seniority or patronage and too little on performance, slow promotion and lack of reward for hard work and initiative, inadequate and demoralizing management by supervisors (ineffective leadership), underemployment and lack of simulating assignments". Futhermore, it is also trapped by "outdated and ineffective human resource management system that put unintended roadblocks in the way" (Bennell, 1994 and Budhwar and Debrah, 2001).

In the case of newly industrialized world which includes countries have low background of economy and society, however, from the early 1990 they have emerged as newly industrialized countries with high position in real world such as Hong Kong, Mexico, Korea, Taiwan. According to Rowley, human resource management in these countries give competitive advantage for their rapid development. However, they also have some challenges in operating their function. For example, Korea has changed from the old to the new human resource management. Because Korean society is rooted in seniority and collectivism, it is challenge for many Korea companies to pursue more individualistic human resource policies with a minimum of adverse effects. One main problem is the gap between the "rhetoric" of new human resource management and the "reality" of new practices (Rowley).

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In addition, a survey of over 200 organisations in over 35 countries by the World Federation of Personnel Management Associations (2005) make clearer the point that differences in context of the three worlds lead to differences problems or challenges for the functions affected. The survey identified a global agreement about a range of issues as well as some variations among regional. The top three global challenges were: change management (48%), leadership development (38%) and the measurement of Human resource effectiveness (27%). Besides the above common problems, each regional has its own issues. In Africa 31% of organisations cite that the major challenges are health and welfare benefit costs and learning and developing. In Asia-Pacific and North America 31% and 34% cite succession planning as a key issue. In Europe 34% of organisations cite the concerns are staffing, recruitment and availability of local labour. In South America 38% cite compensation. Thus, we can conclude that the problems or challenges faced by organisations in different regional and different world with different level of industrialized, skilled, managed, etc. are variations and complexity.

Organisations often have unpleasant experience when move to other countries because of the adverse action on what they do or want to do. Different country has different context so that it has different values. "These values have been institutionalized partly in the form of legislation (and in the way in which legislation is applied, which may differ considerably from what is actually written in the law); in labor union structures, programs, and power positions, and in the existence of organizations of stakeholders, such as consumers or environmentalists" (Hofstede G., 2001). The values may be invisible to newcomers, but visible in government decisions, press actions or "organised actions by uninvited interest group" (Hofstede G., 2001). Therefore, for the success of the operation, it is crucial for business know-how or know-how about local conditions.