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National Culture: Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Approach

Question:

Discuss About the Leading Business Players in Singapore?

Imob Company is one of the leading business players in Singapore. The company is looking forward to extending its operations into India. The company has decided to prepare, equip and deploy ten members into the new subsidiary.  India has a different culture in comparison with Singapore (see appendix 9.4). These cultural differences cover various aspects such as religion, gender, languages, diets, sports, and leisure activities among many others (Petrakis, 2014). Therefore, this means that the company must embrace appropriate strategies for the success of this endeavor.

Singapore and India have different national cultures. Deploying staff to India requires putting the appropriate measures in place for the success of the plan. The national culture of a given country can be best explained using Hofstede’s cultural dimensions approach. Hofstede conducted a research and came up with a theory to account for the culture of nations. According to him, there are six basic dimensions of the national culture. These are power distance, masculinity and femininity, collectivization and individualization, uncertainty and long-term orientation (Smith, 2008). Thus, Imob must analyze these cultural dimensions India as compared to Singapore and ensure they appropriate strategies are laid down for each. See the attached cultural comparison in appendix 9.3.

Regarding the cultural, organizational structure, they are two main types. These are mechanistic and organic structures. In mechanistic structure, there is centralization in the business environment, and thus authority hierarchies exist. Each employee is assigned a specific task and reports to a senior person on top of them (Rong& Allen, 2009). There is formalization where the decisions are made basing on the rules and procedures that are laid in place. The system is bureaucratic and usually, applies in a stable and certain environment. On the other hand, organic structure operates in the opposite way of the mechanistic. The organic system is characterized by a rapid lateral communication within the organizational structure. It has a decentralized form of authority (Fischer, 2009). Therefore, the organic system has less bureaucracy and is usually applied in unstable complex business environments.

Singapore as a country has adopted a mechanistic type of structure. Normally, their people have job descriptions defining their roles and duties, and a lot of emphases is put on this. People hierarchically report on a higher authority above them thus the system is formal and there is power centralization on the senior employees in the organization, a significant characteristic of a mechanistic structure (Peng, 2011). Work environments in Singapore are also characterized by established rules, regulations and procedures that guide people on what they should do thus mechanistic. Besides, Singapore also has masculinity values, for example, they set strategic goals and aims to achieve them. All these aspects brings out that Singapore has a mechanistic organizational structure (Coelho, 2011).

Organizational Structure: Mechanistic and Organic Structures

In comparison to Singapore, India also applies a mechanistic type of organizational structure. The Indians employees are also characterized by job descriptions highlighting their roles and responsibilities in the work environment. They also have some established procedures in place for guidance at the workplace, and powers are centralized to senior people in authority. However, Indians have a few aspects in their mechanistic structure that are different from those of Singapore (Dowling et al., 2008). For example, India has lower values for the control of children. They are more focused on the self-interests and achieving their own individual goals, unlike the communal goals. Therefore, deployment of employees to the subsidiary of Imob in India is likely to be successful because the cultures are almost similar.

Given the fact that the subsidiary of Imob Company is going to operate in the mechanistic culture system, there is a need for job plans. Every job position in the branch should have a job description with its roles and responsibilities drawn in place. In designing the job descriptions, it is important for the human resource to ensure that there is an alignment of the job with technology. Besides, the company should put in place the procedures that will be followed in the subsidiary such as the reporting structure. Therefore, a good job design practice is likely to increase the productivity of the employees in the organization giving it a greater competitive advantage(See sample job design at Appendix 9.5).

Various staffing plans are available for international HRM. These are home-country national, host-country national and third-country national. Imob can choose to adopt one of these available staffing plans. For example, in the home-country national approach, the staff will be picked recruited from those already working for Imob. The approach has many advantages regarding control, improving their experience and building their morale. However, there is a likelihood of the shortcomings of the approach especially regarding adapting to the environment, cultural effects, language, and costs. Staffing process strategy entails various key aspects which facilitate the success of the process such as selection, recruitment, and training (Harvey et al., 2011).

Imob Company should put in place strategies that are likely to impact the staffing endeavor positively. When using host country national approach, the company will recruit people from India who are aware of the existing cultures in the country through the host-country national strategy. On the other side, for the countries of national origin approach, the company should give chances to the internal staff for selection to the oversea subsidiary. Firstly, Imob should communicate and invite qualified applicants to express their interest for the job. After receiving the applications, the human resource should proceed to the next stages of selection and recruitment (Collings et al., 2007).

Singapore’s Organizational Structure

Recruitment process should be conducted carefully to attract the desirable skills for the job. It is important for Imob to incorporate both internal and external recruiting. Internal recruiting is important since it will give a chance to the internal staff to be able to receive priority and get opportunities to the new job thus motivating them. This can be done through advertising on the company intranet for internal recruitment. The approach has many advantages regarding control, improving their experience and building their morale (Csizmar, 2008). However, there is the likelihood of the shortcomings of the approach especially regarding adapting to the environment, cultural effects, language, and costs.

External recruitment is also good in some cases where the internal recruiting seems insufficient. It gives the broad range of opportunities to get any desired skills in a market without any limit (Srivastava &Shailesh, 2008). Imob can apply external recruitment by advertising the available opportunities to the public through media channels and also their company website. Therefore, external recruitment will give a larger pool of skills and qualification for the job (Angelo & Ricky, 2009.

Selection is a critical aspect in the process of staffing since it helps in the right people for the available job. It presents an opportunity to filter those with the proper attitude, skills, and qualifications to undertake the responsibilities of the company. After receiving the applications from interested people, Imob should proceed to the next level of choosing those who seem more appropriate for the job. The company should go for those who meet the minimum criteria for the job. It is also important for Imob to conduct the selection exercise within India to cut down on the costs.

Selection process will include various aspects such as interviews and background checks. Firstly, Imob will conduct interviews for those for few people who meet the initial minimum requirements for the jobs. This is done by inviting those who qualify the few selected people for the interviews. Invitations for the interview can be made best by communicating to those who seem suitable for the face-to-face interview after their application. This can be done through the emails and telephone among others. They should be invited for the exercise to present the opportunity to choose the best skills for the job, best cognitive expertise and those who can best suit for the existing organizational culture.

The human resource should equip itself with a detailed checklist of all these skills and then mark for each of them to select the best available skills. It is also important for the organization to conduct background checks for the candidates. The company should get sufficient background information about all the candidates and then select those with the best suiting background characteristics. This step is important and will ensure that Imob only gets the best staff for the India exercise (Csizmar, 2008).

India’s Organizational Structure

Training is one of the primary roles of the human resource. Employees need to be thought about what they are going to do their jobs. Training is necessary to help prepare employees to take up new responsibilities or even realize what where they failed in the past in cases where are going to take up similar job roles. This applies to both the expatriates from the home country or host country (Brown & Warren, 2009). Therefore, training is likely to help increase the productivity of the employees in their new job positions thus increasing the general profitability of the business organization. See the attached employee background in appendix 9.1.

Besides training on the job roles, it is also important that the human resource educates the expatriates about the intercultural issues. There should be a good plan regarding the cross-cultural training to ensure that all the employees are protected from the effects of intercultural change. They should be briefed about the cultural differences that exist between Singapore and India. Such type of training helps to equip them both emotionally and also assist them to acclimatize to the environment of the host country (Cheng &Hampson, 2008).

Most employees who move from one country to the other usually face challenges related to their emotions, culture acceptance, adapting to the skills, language problems, and leadership among others. The human resource should be careful to ensure that the training thoroughly covers all these aspects that affect the employees (Bhatti & Kaur, 2009. Failure to the proper training program is likely to make the change impact negatively the expatriates thus lowering their productivity. Therefore, the human resource should be careful to train people so that they can move on happily, with confidence and no stress thus becoming more productive (Steers et al., 2010).

Remuneration is an aspect of the human resource that cannot be ignored. The company should formulate the appropriate compensation terms and conditions that are fair both to the worker and the organization. Inappropriate remuneration package is likely to discourage the employee's morale of working if it is too low while it can also be a loss to the company if it is too high compared to the task being undertaken. The employee should willingly sign the terms and conditions agreement after understanding them (SUFF, 2010). Therefore, appropriate pay is likely to motivate the employees thus they will be able to deliver their best. The remuneration balance sheet approach is attached at appendix 9.2.

Deployment of Employees to Mechanistic Culture System

Imob Company should formulate a compensation package that has the basic amount, allowances, and the other benefits. Regarding cash, the company should consider the employee's basic salary and the assignment premiums. The compensation module will consist of the housing allowance, hardship allowance, living cost allowance among many others (Armstrong, 2009). The employee should also enjoy some benefits such as life insurance and medical coverage. These remuneration plans are important in making the expatriates more comfortable and thus able to concentrate and give the best for the company. Therefore, the human resource should evenly distribute this remuneration plan depending on the job positions that they are holding (Punia&Priyanka, 2008).

Conclusion

In conclusion, the international human resource has got a lot of tasks of managing people in an international context. There are various aspects that the human resource must consider especially if it is operating in a global context. There are differences between the two countries of operation, especially regarding their culture. The culture of a given country is best analyzed using the Hofstede's cultural dimension which provides an excellent analysis of important aspects of culture that the human resource must consider when going internationally. Failure to find culture by an international company is likely to lead to failure in the staffing process of the organization.

Besides, it is also important to note that the human resource is expected to make a job design with their description of the roles and responsibilities that are expected for every expatriate in the subsidiary. The human resource must take appropriate staffing strategy that is likely to be more productive yet cost efficient. Recruitment and selection should be done carefully to ensure that the company gets all the required skills for the better performance of the business organization. Also, the human resource should give the appropriate training to people and also remunerate them properly to increase their motivation to work. Therefore, this is likely to increase their productivity which in turn gives the organization a competitive advantage.

References

Angelo, S. & Ricky, G. (2009). Human Resources Management, Biztantra Publication, New Delhi 2nd edition.

Armstrong, M (2009). Handbook of HRM practice, Kogan Page, London, and Philadelphia.

Bhatti, M. and Kaur, S. (2009).  “The Role of Individual and Training Design Factors on Training Transfer.”  Journal of European Industrial Training.  34 (7), 656-672.

Brown, T., and Warren, A. (2009). “Distal Goal and Proximal Goal Transfer of Training Interventions in an Executive Education Program.”  Human Resource Development Quarterly.  20, (3), 265-284.

Cheng, E. and Hampson, I. (2008). “Transfer of Training: A Review and New Insights.”  International Journal of Management Reviews.  10 (4), 327-341.

Coelho, D. A. (2011). A study on the relation between manufacturing strategy, company size, country culture and product and process innovation in Europe. International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 7(2), 152-165.

Collings, G., Scullion, H. and Morley, J. (2007). Changing patterns of global staffing in the multinational enterprise: Challenges to the conventional expatriate assignment and emerging alternatives. Journal of World Business

Csizmar, C. (2008). ‘Does your expatriate program follow the rules of the road? Compensation and Benefits Review, 40(1), 61-69.

Dowling J., Festing, M. and Engle, A. (2008). International Human Resource Management, 5 th Ed, South-Western Publishing.

Fischer, R. (2009). Where is Culture in Cross-Cultural Researches? An Outline of a Multilevel Research Process for Measuring Culture as a Shared Meaning System. International Journal. Of Cross Cultural Management, 9: 25-48.

Harvey, M., Reiche S. and Moeller M. (2011). ‘Developing Effective Global Relationships Through Staffing with Inpatriate Managers: The Role of Interpersonal Trust’, Journal of International Management.

Peng, M. (2011). "Global Business," 2nd Ed. South-Western Cengage Learning

Petrakis, E. (2014). "Culture, Growth and Economic Policy," New York and Heidelberg: Springer, ISBN 978-3-642-41439-8, pp. 250.

Punia, K. and Priyanka Sharma (2008). “Organizational Employee Development Initiatives and their Impact on Retention Intentions: The Case of Indian IT Industry," Amity Business Review, 9.1, 2008, pp. 12-23

Rong and Allen David (2009). “Recruiting Across Cultures: A Value Based Model of Recruitment," Human Resource Management Review, No: 19, pp.334-346

Smith, P. (2008). Indigenous Aspects of Management. In P. Smith, Peterson, M., Thomas, D. (Eds.), The Handbook of Cross-Cultural Management Research. Sage, Thousand Oaks CA: Sage, 319-332.

Srivastava, K. and Shailesh R. (2008). “Employee Retention: By Way of Management Control Systems, ACM Ubiquity, 9.16, pp.22-28

Steers, R., Sanchez-Runder, C. and Nardon, L. (2010). Management across Cultures: Challenges and Strategies. London: Cambridge University Press

SUFF, R. (2010). Labour turnover rates and costs: IRS survey 2010. IRS Employment Review. pp. 9

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