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The back bone of an organization is its human resource management thus within an organization HRM activities include human resource planning, staffing, performance management, Training and development, compensation and benefits, Industrial relations. Having these things in hand HRM then walks in to International with IHRM.
The class discussion was lead under the main topics of Defining key IHRM terms (HRM, IHRM, HCN, PCN, TCN, Expatriates and impetrates) which gave me a broader understanding on the basis of what IHRM really meant. The lecture further explained on review expatriate management evolution which gave us the understanding of the review trends in the international management. Then the discussion moved in to understanding the difference between domestic and international HRM, the functions and the differences these two has was then clearly brought out with examples. Then the discussion linked in to discovering the increase complexity and potential challengers of current IHRM.
The importance of the topics guided me to think critically on how it could be implemented to the work place performance. Having being able to use the knowledge what I learnt in class at my work place gave me a real life experience. Learning outcome of the increased travels, advancement of global technology telecommunication, the rapid development of new technologies, the impacts of free trade, the effectiveness of new education system further helped me to advance my knowledge in IHRM context.
Learning of "global village" lead me in further search on new market performance when a company is thinking global and it helped me to significantly comprehend when I need to converge with global lifestyle and values during my performance at my work place. Most importantly at the use of E- Commerce to lower the cost being business globally helped me when I had to communicate with the upstream customers in negotiation on purchasing products.
When working in a multinational company IHRM can be implemented in many ways thus it would implemented to my work by assisting me when I need a broader perspectives on curtain things. When handling the boarder external influences this would be very important. I will also be exposing to risks in the field and this knowledge would enhance me with what I have to do when an IHRM issue comes up.
In analysis the learning outcome of the session brought out a vast knowledge in IHRM mainly focusing on the IHRM in the multinational context. The inter relationship in approaching to the field with the idea of domestic and international IHRM brought out a very argumentative yet very interesting points and examples to prove the importance of it as a whole.
3.0 Cultural differences
Sri Lanka is a country which is originated from a collectivist culture however the counties culture has now evolved more in to individualistic subcultures which had become more powerful in certain cities i.e. Colombo compared to Anuradhapura. The cultural dimensions in a country has a greater impact when discussing, the focusing on the individualism vs. collectivism, power distance, short term vs. long term orientation, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity and femminity. (Hofsted)
The video which was showed to us in class on Saudi women and their ability to educate themselves cleared us on that they have their own freedom to learn, "Islamic word" explains it to everyone. The discussion then moved to understanding limited dimensions as a critical analysis and brought out the fact that conquering nature is an approach to certain societies which lead to an interesting argument on how nature can bring out different dimensions.
Then the atmosphere of the class turned in to an exciting point where counter agreements came up with general beliefs and how it deprives with trust. I.e. when the society is driven as being bad it is a good opportunity for the lawyers to succeed. The discussion further evolved around how Japanese's people around the world has more respect to the history of them and how people believe that they are more trustworthy.
Understanding of different cultural dimensions in IHRM context helped me significantly as I had to communicate and make purchases from different cultured individuals around the world at my work place. Knowing from what country that supplier comes from and what context he belongs to I can adjust the way I think when dealing. I now have an understanding on the cultural differences globally and it helps me to respect each culture as it is a crucial thing in culture. My broader perspective helps me to make a difference in day to day work place performance.
In analysis the overall cultural differences which are unique to each country brought up the idea that it is significant when communicating and making agreements globally and how human nature would effect to the overall outcome of the company cultural perspective.
4.0 The organizational context
This week's lecture was based on organizational context and the class discussion went ahead relating to a case study on how Chinese companies work in western counties. Then we discussed on how the global matrix structure coordination and corporation is highly needed in an organization. Then the organizational context as a whole was discussed with regard to the path to the global status. Then the class argued on how does a networked organization bring strength and good will to a company and the answer was with a lot of understanding and negotiation companies can differentiate work, responsibilities and authorize them across the network subsidiaries only then a company could cherish its strengths and good will.
Controlled mechanism was then added in to the discussion to see how the formal and informal mechanisms within the organization coordinately function when going global. Global area division structure became the next sub topic conversation in relation to how it is geographically implemented in the organizational context i.e. within these structures political problems occurs turf battle is one of those on which colleagues fight on who get the opportunity first and on the contrarily when a hot issue comes along nobody will be waiting to take it which will cost in loss of accountability.
The discussion became very interesting as I could relate some of my work experience to the debate as I know that having a good knowledge of the organizational context I can make decisions which could bring profit to the organization. This would further enhance on my experience when I relate what I have learnt in class without any issue. Having a good understanding on the organizational context it is easy for me to avoid risky situations where I might end up doing something that would ruin the image of the organization and my skill level.
In my point of view I believe that understanding on the organizational context is very important to a business personal as they should be trained to face any problems within the organization through such a thing. The structural responses to international growth, Control and coordination mechanisms, including cultural control and effect of responses on human resource management approaches and activities had critically analyzed on how the organizational context should be functioning.
5.0 HRM in the Host Country Context
International human resource management has become one of the most important subjects in the degree as it had brought many of us the intelligence of how to deal with human resources when working in a subsidiary. The class discussion took off with describing the Standardisation and localisation of HRM practices,Factors driving these, Retaining, developing and retrenching local staff, The HR implications of language standardisation and Monitoring the HR practices used by int'l subcontractors.
The hamlets question "standardize or not to standardize HRM?" Was put across to the students to argue by bringing up their own justifications. As Mr. Chandana would always recommend the students to do so. He expects us to answer with deep understanding of the broader perspective.
The breakdown of IHRM was then elaborated to us with its segments of Host country, parent country and third country nationals.
When elaborating the Host country national HSBC (the world's local bank) can be taken as an example where HSBC practice a standardized culture as a host country company. This is done in order to capture the market within a shorter period of time. Uniliver is another company which would use the localization aspect when it comes to marketing as they bring out the village atmosphere in most of their advertisements. Nestle however stands at standardization in marketing methods. The strategy most of the foreign company s uses to get close to the host country is by getting along with their culture and lifestyles i.e. HSBC. Thus it will lead a very strong business relationship among the country and the company as well as the parent country. In contrary at some point even though they make it visible to the out sides that they are using the customs in with the host county culture, It comes out otherwise when they malpractice cultural values.
Then standardization vs. Localization took in to discussion making everyone speak up of their own view. Where everyone understood that companies go through various marketing campaigns to localize their product yet keep the internal culture standardizes i.e. the dress code, believes of standard charted bank is standardized all over the country
The best part being a student of Mr. Chandana Kumara is that for every answer or argument we come up with we are presented with some marks. This motivates a lot of students and at the same time it helps the students to understand on the topic much more clearer than when he just teach the subject.
When foreign companies start recruiting the local human resource they would first mold the local the way they want this is done so that they can practice the same policy's around the world, It will further help them and to us to make the decision making process easier. This is done in order to retain and develop the person as well as the organization.
Furthermore we were asked to come up with what extend the localization is imposed and to what extend the standardization is imposed. It is a must for a HRM to support the corporate Operations and HRM should go line in line and to an extend both localization and globalization should go in order to retain the market leadership. Thus it's the only way to have a successful approach. Companies move in to villages as a strategic objective i.e. HNB "gami pubudu". Branch managers being recruited with different criteria's. I.e. Salary, expertise and culture. HR has described on 5 s, quality circle, 6 sigma. (High quality products) Sunlight is another global product where global products' being localized has brought out significantly.
It was truly a privilege to have being in the class as I have learnt a lot out of it and at the work place I saw certain things that can be implemented and this discussion helped me to understand the process and way . The overall class has knowledge and we believe that Mr. chandana has done a very great job.
In the analysis of the day's session we can now come to a conclusion that even though a company can stay standardizes it is essential for them to look in to Host-country culture & workplace environment in regard to Mode of operation, involved Size and maturity of the firm, Relative importance of the subsidiary. Only then a successful host country context can be seen through a company.
6.0 Sustaining International Business Operations and staffing
As a full time working student Thursday nights seem to be long but the moment I step in to the class our lecture pitch a high note. This had always being a wakeup call for me. Thus the discussion took in to place and this time it's quite different as Staffing approaches, Reasons for Int'l assignment, Types of int'l assignments, Role of expatriate, non-expatriates and corporate HR took off and I loved it because I can imagine what is happening at my work place and relate it to the lecture. As Mr. Chandana would say "relate my lectures to real life experience"
The discussion took lead with understanding PCN (Expatriates) to understand the talent available from them impact to the performance of the organisation and how it could be of use to greater control over the others. PCN's could bring alot of company experience and their special talent of mobility has a greater impact in the organisation. On the other hand this could be looked in to as experience provided to corporate executives. I.e. The CEO at Ceylon Tobacco Company is British and he is an expatriate who has given a task from the British American Tobacco company. Working with him at CTC has made me understand the true nature of an expat the way he behaves and the way he relates to the company culture is just the right experience I get. Speaking of HCN (Locals) it is quite a different approach as they would know what is happening in the culture aspect preference aspect and the intimate knowledge of the environment. They would be masters in language skills to make the company perform well when working with HCN's and TCN's. Our supply chain director is from Bangladesh and he is the best example I could find for a TCN he has Broad experience as he worked in Pakistan Tobacco Company and now working at Ceylon Tobacco Company with a broader perspective in international outlook, & multilingualism.
The discussion then moved to factors affecting approaches of staffing which elaborated on Ethnocentric, Polycentric, Geocentric and Regiocentric which focuses on positioning subsidiaries. The reasons for international assignments was then taken in to consideration with regard to Position filling, Management development and Organizational development , when an expatriate is working in an organization to full fill above reasons they would also undergo mental stress as Home and family issues - frequent absences , Work arrangements - domestic side of position still has to be attended to, Travel logistics - waiting in airports, etc., Health concerns - poor diet, lack of sleep, etc. and Host culture issues - limited cultural training come in to action.
The role of expatriates differ vasty when compared to the role of non expatriates who do not relocate to another country, the only reason they would go to another country is for business meetings and periodic visits to foreign operations , so the stress level is less.
Therefore we can now understand the importance of expatriates in a sustaining international business operation as his unique effort of playing different roles Agent of direct control, Agent of socialization, Network builder, Boundary spanner, Language node and Transfer of competence and knowledge leads the company to a better passion in the global market situation.
According to Charles M. Vance (2006) as with all other management decisions and practices, global staffing should be linked to the overall strategy and the objective of the multinational enterprises. These strategies and objectives are of cause influenced by and set within the context of overall business environment.
This week's lecture was an interesting and a important leasson about recruiting staff for international assignments. working and exposing my self in a forign country as an employee will give me a different experience rather than being a tourist. Working in a alian soil wont be a simple task due to the culture, demographic, social interfierences and the mantality has to compete with their environment. according to Dessler (2003) he has identified five important personalities that would need to be considered when selecting a manager for a foreign assignment they are job knowledge and motivation, relational skills, flexibility, extra cultural openness and finally family situation. If we consider Dessler's points almost all the recruits have an idea about the job they also motivated and they also have relational skills but most of them don't have flexibility in the sense they can't adjust to the alien environment. Also most of the recruits go through a cultural shock which almost led them to withdraw for the host country. And finally the family situations, as we all are from the Asian region; we belong to a collectivist cultural dimension we expect and like to live with the family and be a part of it. Especially when it comes to a female's perspective unlike the western world most of the Asian women are married and committed to their family and children, in a situation like this most of Asian woman will be reluctant to take the opportunity even it's a better offer or else they make an early return. Mr. Chandana also explained the above mentored criteria's also can be known as expatriate failure.
He also mentioned most of all cultural shock plays important role in expatriate failure. Cultural shock also can turn a good employee to a worst employee. Also he explained how some employees adjust themselves with the culture and overcome the situation. Basically in a phase on cultural adjustment there are four stages, those are entering the culture, facing the cultural shock, accepting or exiting the culture, adjusting to the host culture.
By reviewing the class discussion I understood when a company selects its employee on a foreign recruitment it has to spend fair amount of time in selecting the correct candidate also they have to take some counter measures like training the candidate properly and making awareness of the host culture and the job specification. By taking these counter actions the company can increase in its productivity and efficiency. As a conclusions from this discussion I learnt how important is to select a proper candidate for an international assignment. Also as an IHRM student I understand the importance of knowing the alien culture and work environment and adjust to accomplish my goals and to do a better job.
7.0 Training and Development
The lecture took off at 6.00pm and everyone is ready for another session of arguments examples and real life experience stories. This week's lecture was based on Training and developing the individuals who falls under International Human Resource management. We were thus made to understand that within a global market more firms are focusing on human resources as a critical part of their competence and as a source of competitive advantage. In order to do so a firm must focus on the Role of expatriate training, Components of effective pre-departure programs, The effectiveness of pre-departure program, Developing staff though int'l assignment and Trends in Training and development.
In order to develop the Human resource a company must focus on Expatriate orientation, Cross-cultural training and Development of global managers. The firms originally use expatriates as trainers because they show how system and procedures work and they would monitor the performance of (HCN). We were thus enlightened on that the use of job rotation is a form of management development. The training is done to have a better skilled manager whom is capable of developing with various procedures. Before going in to training programs the trainers undergo training mainly on cultural awareness and language skills furthermore for successful cross cultural Intercultural business skills are highlighted and looked in to with greater concern and also making them understand the cultural variations for those with regional responsibilities.
Reflective my learning to my work experience our supply chain director Mr. Khalid is always full of questions. The moment we step in to quotation committee meetings he would unfold his set of questions making all of us very uncomfortable but the learning at class has now made me understand that they are trained to put across such questions in order to showcase their global managerial skills. His experience in other country operations speaks through his questions and it is important for him to ask them and make everyone understand what to be inquired before purchasing a product i.e. the country of origin, The make , the brand , the part number why is it cheaper in India than china etc in regard to a machine .
IHRM had made me feel that I am not a fresher to the multinational world as now I understand why certain managers behave that way and why they would question such things and so on. Thus I can happily say that the discussion at class are very effective as it made me understand the real concepts behind training and developing an individual in order to make him a successful global manager .
8.0 Performance management
Its Thursday again and I am ready to learn IHRM, listening to all arguments justifications broader perspectives and so on. A class a session a time period full of hot arguments and explanations. This week's discussion was based on the differences between performance appraisal, performance evaluation and the broader perspective of Performance management. Re entry and career issues were discussed along with this Performance appraisal is used to evaluate the output of the behavior of an individual within a company A format is sketched in order to showcase the way in which appraisal is conducted Difference appraisals could come in with appraising with different languages i.e. English is spoken with different accents/ pronunciations. According to the performance the company will decide whether to keep a specific individual or not.
However the performance appraisal has its drawbacks too since it is capable of demotivating individuals. This happens if performance appraisal is used in a wrong country context the employees will suffer due to the fact that they are demotivated with evaluation of their own behavior. However using the correct format one can overcome this situation. The discussion thus moved in to Factors which makes the Performance evaluation critical. I.e. Culture of an organization the Language they use in day to day work environment, the format they follow in the work area and the specific believes the company has from years.
Taking Performance appraisal discussion with regard PCN s and HCN s I came to the understanding of that they will be affected when the format changes according to the TCN s further in to consideration how we understand the emotional attitude of them is by understanding who gets appraised and who matters. Then we moved on to discuss on the concepts of whole Vs part. whole is when the company is taking decision as a whole which will give them a long term perspective and Part is when the company is taking subsidiary dictions as a part which will give the company a short term perspective Dowling & Welch (2004)
However when performance appraisal comes in to action the performance management can be used when evaluating. If this is such you cannot expect a good evaluation. In this factor year on year increase and decrease is not relevant
Substitutes are made open to make yourself felt to your clients. You can get company information then it is possible to learn the strengths weaknesses of the competitors as well as the customer behavior even though it won't give a financial contribution. In performance network the contribution of the substitutes are not handling in good grounds when compared to other subsititiues i.e. Airtel being expand to Sri Lanka they are still running at a loss for 5 years. This how ever could be a different strategic approach, in order to research the market
For my account this information has helped enormously as a trainee at a multinational company my performance has also being evaluated to see who can do better and who has the capacity in doing a project and what is the limit I could go at a stretch. The discussion in class assists me in a greater perspective as I can understand how the performance appraisal and performance evaluation is done with regard to performance management
Therefore Performance management is a combination of individual performance and subsidiary performance and the outcome could motivate or demotivate an individual of an organization and it would also give the current status of a company
9.0 Re-entry and Career Issues
This week's discussion was in relate to re entry and career issues in IHRM and MR. Chandana began to explain that the expatriate process also includes repatriation which is the activity of bringing the expatriate back to the home country . This process needs careful management as re entering in to a country and to an organization is not as easy as it seems. As global managers it is with great difficulty they struggle to settle down in their assigned country and when returning they will have to face culture shock again for what they have missed while they were away. It is very challenging for them to re enter as they would face the reverse culture shock this will also lead some individuals to exit the company. If an expatriate need to repatriate first he needs to prepare himself by developing plans for the future and gathering information about the new position however if this is done accordingly he would have a less cultural difficulties when adjusting back. We were them made to understand that physical relocation, Transition and readjustment are some of the crucial aspects a repatriate should look in to.
Say the repatriate adjusted to the culture of the home country again but he will again face career issues when he needs to look for a job to settle down. He will thus have a career anxiety which post will he be assigned to do will he get the same job back or will he get a lesser position and will his experience be enough to compete with others repatriates.
In reflection the same scenario is being evident at my work place our production manager just returned from his foreign assignment and he is yet again starting to readjust himself with the company culture and etiquettes. According to him what he misses most is coming to work from home and going back to his family every day. The understanding I got through this discussion further enhanced me in with what kind of procedure a repatriate would go through before completely feeling home again. The language the customers which were away for a long time is now right there in front of him and he still cannot practice them as he is taking time to readjust.
When analyzing on repatriation it is necessary to understand that in IHRM it is a must to take up such challengers as it brings positive aspects to an individual in both financially and also in career wise. The experience an expatriate gets cannot be compared with the person who had not begin assigned to such operations. However in order to help the repatriates to settle down in the home country they should be given counselling, their family also should go through counselling and it is important for them to have a family repatriate programmes. If such necessary actions are taken in to consideration settling a repatriate will not take such a long time.
This week the lecture is all about money, as for all I am also an employee at a multination company I was excited about the lecture today. That's because the subject is mainly based on how a compensation package is made, what are the elements that must include init and the problem which occurs when selecting a proper compensation package.
As we all know while working for a firm a good employee will expect a reasonable compensation from the employer. When preparing the compensation package the HRM manager has to consider many things mainly how it has to be, what are the benefits it must include and whom it will be most suitable for ?, are like some of the main questions to clarify at the first step.
When we consider the situation as an international compensation package a HRM manager must understand the environment before preparing. When a company recruits an employee from a foreign country or sending someone to a foreign country, the HRM manager's job is to find out some basic elements such as inflation, life style, cost of living, taxations, currency value and mainly the housing and education costs if the employee have any family. Mr. Chandana very clearly explained this point and also spotted us how to overcome this situation by arranging multiple paying schemes, compensating in multiple currencies, multiple taxations schemes and multiple expatriate benefits.
When selecting a compensation package it should be always designed wisely, as an example the CEO at C.T.C is an Englishman though he's working for Sri Lankan Tobacco Corporation he's been paid according to their compensation system while all the other employees are paid according to the Sri Lankan system. By this I understood the company has managed to fulfill the employee interests. Also it's very important to consider how the compensation package meets certain objectives that will motivate the employee to move to the host county. This can be covered by giving an incentive which will make the employee to consider the opportunity also considering to full filling family and other needs and facilitating them on their re entry.
When considering compensation there are two well recognized approaches one is going rate approach the other one is the balance sheet approach. As we all know, these methods hold its own advantages and disadvantages.
In order to simplify the methods the company can also follow an international compensation method which will include the base compensation, this consists of salary, benefits and other need depending on the job requirement. This can be added with more benefits or can be deducted according to the companies prospective with the addition of incentive components and equalities adjustments. By adding up these two components it's always easy to satisfy an employee.
As the final conclusion of this chapter I learnt how a HRM manager prepares the compensation packages for their recruits. I also understood when a employee is selected for a operation like this, the responsibility is high, risky and important, because not all the employee's gets a chance like that. Also I understood satisfying both the employee and the employer can be tough job for the HRM manager.
11.0 Business Etiquette & Social Custom
It is the final day of interesting IHRM lectures and the interesting arguments, IHRM related stories will come to an end. However to make the last class interesting the lesson played a huge role Business etiquette and social customs was explained in class with interesting examples of food fashion and lifestyle one would face in different cultures
"Manners and behavior considered acceptable in social and business situations" (Dowling & Welch, 2009) this is what business etiquette & Social custom means from the authors point of view. However Business etiquettes and social customers can be further elaborated under believes values and the way people think in certain cultures.
This lesson became more interesting as Mr. Chandana showed us a video of how culture can affect different personal globally. Having a basic idea of culture from a previous semester as I learnt cultural framework through a counties point of view. The discussion at this lecture made me clear out doubts and clearly understands on some of the concepts. The learning on netiquettes the electronic communication techniques further added on to the intriguing aspect of the discussion. The verbal expression and non verbal expression made me understand that when dealing with suppliers at work premises I should follow the same instructions in order to retain and attract more suppliers. The discussion also helped me to understand the high context and low context cultural aspect when dealing with expatriates in my working place.
In analysis I believe that if a business individual is looking for a successful relationship with their business partners they should follow every step of the business etiquettes and social customs which are inherited to that country. If this is well understood by each individual then International Human resource management is such an easy task to complete.
It was a privilege for me to be a part of this class as I gathered a vast area of knowledge with regard to international human resource management. Writing up journal articles looked so simple until today and now I know what an effort one must put across to make it feel pleasant to the reader.
I carefully described reflected and analyzed each lesson and did my best to put across what I grasped in class. This collection of journals had helped me to clear out any doubts I had regarding the subject matters as I had to refer back and forth to get an overall idea of some points.
Therefore journal writing has not only improved my knowledge on IHRM but it had also created an interest in journal writing in future. For now this collection will be kept safe so that I could at first read before the exam and later use it as a reference when I face an issue in the cooperate world work environment with regard to international human resource management.
Charles M. Vance, Y. P. (August 30, 2006). Managing a global workforce: challenges and opportunities in international. M.E. Sharpe .
Dessler, G. (2003). Human resource management (9th ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Dowling, P. J. & Welch, D. E. (2004). International human resource management-Managing people in a multinational context.4th edition. London: Thomson Learning.