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In present days internationalization and globalization takes place everywhere. In these days there are so many women come in international managerial positions. As a woman manager they have to go to different countries for their international assignments. Now a day it's not strange that a woman of Asian country is on managerial post in UK.
I am a senior consultant and in this report my woman client who will be going abroad on an international assignment and wants to provide her detailed information about specific problems faced by a woman on international assignments. She needs a proper guidance about problems come during her work and stay. As a consultant I described her overall situation and the problems which she faced in her international visit like culture shock, problems faced in communication, exploitation, gender discrimination etc. I give her Geert Hofstede comparative study of two cultures and I analyze the whole situation by using SWOT and PEST method. SWOT includes strength, weakness, opportunity and threats for the woman regarding international assignments and PEST includes political, economic, sociocultural, technological factors. After analyzing the whole situation, I suggested her to make positive approach for doing international assignment and recommended her to do research on UK culture, their communication accents, style of negotiation, their food habits, weather of the country, so that she will be more comfortable after visiting the country.
TERMS OF REFERENCE:
I am a senior consultant in recognized consultancy firm named "Global opportunities" in India. My client Miss Shinu Sharma is a lady Human resource manager. She got a job in a multinational company of UK. She has first class degree in MBA. She had worked with an Indian company from last couple of years. This is her first international job. In our firm we give consultation to clients who came with different issues regarding problems occurs during international or within country visits. Our firm has a good name in providing services to clients and guide people in different issues. My client Miss Shinu Sharma has got a job in a multinational company in UK. She has to do a research project there for a period of two years. She wants advice from me regarding problems occurs during her stay in UK and their solutions. She wants detailed information regarding all the relevant issues. I know it is quite common, because girls from India are quite reserve in nature. They are not very comfortable in communication with strangers and they find lot of trouble in working on international assignments. Moreover they lived in joint or nuclear families and they always need guidance from their family or their elders.
OVERVIEW OF THE SITUATION:
Any person who is going to abroad find some difficulties in new country but if she is a woman and going for the first time, then this will be more difficult. Doing an international assignment is not an easy job. She has to do work among people of different country and different culture. Miss Shinu has to work in UK which is totally different from India. There are so many problems regarding different culture, different accents of language, and weather etc comes in her way. If she is a woman then it will be more difficult because everywhere it seems as a weak gender.
Problems faced by women on international assignments:
Communication gap: It is the common problem faced by people who are not from English speaking countries. There are different accents of English in different countries like accent of speaking English is different in UK as compare to USA. Due to this reason women from India and other Asian countries find problems in communication with British people who are their colleagues. That's why they will not make good business relationships. They hesitate because they do not understand the language properly.
Gender discrimination: As women so many men managers show attitudes because of the gender. In each society male holds the superior position and it is harder for a man to follow a woman who comes under weak gender. So the client has to build strong business relationship among her male colleagues. Because her colleagues are from different culture and origin. She has to hold good command on each activity so that no one thought that she is a weak gender.
People behavior: In UK everyone has independent approach. My client is from India and in Asian countries like India, we have so much support from our parents, elders and friends. So the client has to keep in mind that she should not expect much support from her colleagues. She has to do work independently for better adaptation to the surroundings. In country like UK everyone is self dependent and self-centered. Nobody wants interference in his privacy. So the lady has to always keep in mind that she will always be self dependent.
Exploitation: Sometimes employer pays less as compare to working hours. Each employee has a right for National Minimum Wages. There will be no illegal deductions of wages. Employee should be aware about this. If they have any problem they can take guidance from the given website. (www.advice guide.org.uk)
Racial Discrimination: There may be racial discrimination because of the skin colour and being an Asian .Sometime your coworker use scurrilous language. But we have right to protest against this. For the protection purpose Trade Union Congress will be there in UK, which protects the people from racial discrimination. (www.tuc.org.uk)
Weather: Weather of UK is totally different from India, which may cause health problems to the lady. Indian weather is hot whereas in UK, it is just opposite cold and dry. The lady has to prepare herself to work in different weather conditions.
Culture shock: It is common to male or female who gone to different country for work or study. Due to cultural difference so many problems occur. Sometimes woman does not adapt the new atmosphere and she feels low and homesick. This occurs more to woman who are away from their native country for the first time. So for preventing this situation they she has to make international friends, so that she involve in their social functions. She keeps in touch with their parents on phone and internet. She has to listen English news so that she know much about the surroundings.
GEERT HOFSTEDE FIVE CULTURAL DIMENSIONS
To better understand the cultural differences between two countries, we have to consider Greet Hofstede method. Greet Hofstede stress on five factors named as:
Power Distance Index (PDI)
Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI)
Long-Term Orientation (LTO) s, 2001
The below is the graphical presentation of the comparison between the two countries, India and UK, considering the above five factors into consideration.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
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Power distance index (PDI): It is the inequality of power distribution and money within the organization or society. In India power distance index is about 77%, which is37% in Britain. This indicates great inequality ratio in India. The Britain shows a lower power distance indicates the society has low level of inequality. The client has to aware about all these facts because power and inequality are the basic facts of any society. In Britain male and females have equal power and rights.
Individualism (IDV): Individualism is in comparison with collectism. Every country has its own culture. As we notice in Indian culture people are more devoted to working together, whereas the people of UK are more eccentric. The British people only think about 'I' as compare to Indian people who believes in 'We'. That is the main thinking difference in the people of two different countries. IDV is approximately 44% in India which is so higher in UK that is approximately 87% in Britain. This shows that UK people are more independent.
Masculinity (MAS): It is the gap between the male and female values. In Hofstede culture dimensions graph, India is on number three in masculinity. In India masculinity is near about 57% and in UK it is around 66%. From this, we come to conclusion that both the countries have the same style.
Uncertainty avoidance index (UAI): It is the power of uncertainty tolerance of society. It is the extent to which the members of society are comfortable. Members of uncertainty avoiding countries are more emotional and actuated by internal power as compare to the other one. In Hofstede cultural dimension graph Uncertainty avoidance index is nearby equal in both countries. In Britain it is about 37% and in India it is nearly 40% Thus Indian people have 3% more awareness of problems and the Indian people handle problems in a better way.
Long term orientation (LTO): It evaluates the cultural values of both countries. This is in comparison with short term orientation. LTO values are parsimony and preservance whereas Short term orientation has values like traditional respect, future oriented, more dynamic. The graph depicts a variable difference of 35% among Britain and India. This tells that UK people are long term oriented as compare to Indian people.
From Geert Hofstede cultural dimension graph we know that both countries have different aspects for work and personal life. So client has to understand the culture of Britain for better progress in work. She has to do search on British culture and their life style to better adaptation of the country environment.
ANALYSIS THE SITUATION:
For the analysis of situation we use SWOT and PEST analysis. Both have their own importance. SWOT is good for studying inner factors like strength, weakness, opportunities and threats. PEST is good for studying all the external elements like political, economic, social, and technological. (www.businessballs.com) (www.learnmarketing.net)
SWOT is the best way to solve the problems faced by my client. It shows the concealed strength and weakness and opens the opportunities and threats coming in your way.
Strengths: The client has not faced communication problems as she is fluent in English and gives IELTS classes in India. She knows the British accent quite well. This is her big strength which helps her to communicate with her colleagues. With her effective communication skills she will understand the people and her coworkers in a better way. This strength solves many of her problems, because communication is the effective way to understand any other person.
Weaknesses: The client is new to that country; she didn't know the behavior pattern of the people of UK. She faces culture shock. She has to research thoroughly regarding the culture, life style, food habits and negotiation styles of UK. She should know the working patterns of British company like they are prompt about time. Time is valuable there. In India people are not given much importance to time. Even if they are late due to any reason, they are not worried for the other person who is waiting for them. But in UK it is necessary that you should be on time and if you have any problem then it is your duty to inform other person and apologies him for delay.
Opportunities: The international research project opens new ways to my client. She is able to develop a new prospect to her carrier as compare to native country. She will come to know new culture values. With this assignment she got international exposure in her field which is beneficial for her in future.
Threats: The client doesn't know the rules and regulations and the laws of the foreign country, the condition of weather, the transport system and problems related to health. She should be aware about all this. She should be registered with National Health System (NHS) when she reaches there. After registration with NHS medical help is free for everyone. For protection from cold weather she should take warm clothes with her. She also takes a local map book with her for avoiding inconvenience on her way.
Political Factors: Now a day's recession is everywhere so political factors are one of the useful factors. A political relation between India and Britain is good. India has not a very stable political environment. But now days it is quite a stable government. The government opens new ways for employment and study in foreign countries. As the lady is planning to go to UK for international assignment, it is good for her. She got a good opportunity in this recession period. Political stability in UK is more.UK government provides her more stability in terms of money and international experience .There are fix minimum wages in UK and the working hours are also fixed. If she will do work for extra hours, they will pay for overtime. In UK rules and regulations are same for everybody.
Economic Factors: It is another useful external factor. These factors show how a person behaves within given society. Any country that faces recession must have low economy and high unemployment rate. There is a recession time everywhere, both the countries are affected. UK is tried to improve from recession period. Gross domestic product (GDP) of UK is raised by0.3% in the first quarter of 2010. It is good for the lady too, because may be this situation becomes fine in the coming few months. She found more opportunities in her international visit. As the economy grows up the wages of people will also increases. (www.learnmarketing.net)
Sociocultural Factors: Social factors are like population changes, which impact the chain of need and supply of basic necessities. As the birth rate rise up, demand of basic needs also gone up. It is considered that economy will soon come to normal. In UK everybody got the basic education and it is free for everyone. Life styles of British people are different from Indian people, so the lady has to adapt their style of living to better understand their culture.
Technological Factors: It is the fourth content of PEST evaluation. The factors like research work and developments in the field of Information Technology are come under technological factors. India is in the category of developing country who is improving day by day. Lot of developments occurs in the field of technology and infrastructure. UK is a developed country and having all the resources required. Hence as we look for technological factors it is a big achievement for my client to go abroad for an international assignment.
SOLUTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:
Indian women are very introvert and assort. They have a lot of respect for different cultures. They shared their values and emotions with other persons easily. This will cause sometime problems to them. For prevention of this, I suggest some suggestions to my client:
As she has to do her assignment in a group, so there will be group meetings too. I suggest her to go early to her group meetings for better adjust with the environment.
I recommended her to take every possible knowledge regarding rules and regulations of that country, so that she doesn't face any problem there. I provide her a book for more knowledge.
I suggest her to search on the culture of that country to know the attitude and behavior of her co managers. So that she can deal with them accordingly.
I suggest her that she should not be so choosy in her food habits so that she will also enjoy the host country food. In this way if she eats both foods, she will be more comfortable in UK.
I suggest her if she will facing any problem like racial discrimination or exploitation she will make complain in trade union congress office. They give her advice and took necessary action. .(www.tuc.org.uk)
FORCAST AND OUTCOMES:
An international assignment has opened a door for women to go out from her native country and show her skills and talent. In this way she knows the working skills of foreign country managers. Going abroad is not an easy task for women. There are so many hurdles occurs in their way when they go to abroad but women has a power to adjust herself accordingly.
During their move to abroad for doing international assignments different type of problems occurs but they have to learn from their experience. Even my client will learn new things when she will be in a new country. In future she will manage well her international assignments. By seeing all the aspects I come to conclusion that it is a good opportunity for my client to deal with international assignments. I know there will be some hurdles but women overcome these hurdles successfully. She will never let down in her life.