Challenges for Local and Foreign Employees Working Together in Singapore Regional Offices
Singapore continues to be a popular location for foreign multinational companies to set up their regional offices. This is largely due to the country’s reputation for ease of doing business. It is also helped by its good track record of low corruption, good governance, and highly educated labour force. In fact, some Japanese companies, e.g., Panasonic and NEC, are even more bullish and view Singapore as a “talent hub” where they can groom local talent.
As Singapore continues to be a favourable destination for foreign companies to set up their regional offices in order to expand their reach into the Southeast Asian region, these companies are also bringing with them their own corporate culture. Such corporate culture has been shaped by the cultures of their home countries, and have influenced not only their ways of doing work, but also their own management structure. These features can either invigorate the regional office or it can also have a way of dampening spirits of local employees in the regional office.
a) Discuss three main challenges that both local employees and their foreign counterparts will face working together in the regional office in Singapore. You can choose to examine this in the context of a non-Singaporean Asian company or Western company. You should interview 2 Singaporean employees and 2 foreign employees on their perceptions of their workplace culture. The respondents should come from the same workplace. Your analysis should distinguish between the perceptions of local and foreign employees you have interviewed, and identify any nuanced cultural differences present. To adequately answer this question, analyse your findings based on relevant concepts and theories from the course.
b) Develop and design an induction programme that would establish clear milestones to promote a more conducive environment for exemplary Singaporean employees to step into leadership roles at the regional office depending on the context chosen in part (a). Explain how your programme directly or indirectly addresses the challenges you have identified in (a). Note that you will need to take into account, perceptions, attitudes, and behaviours towards local employees and vice versa.
c) In order for the induction programme in the regional office to be successful, there must be buy-in from all parties concerned. Plan a communication strategy for the induction programme that is not only sensitive to differences but also effective in publicising the programme, and will not put the organisation in a negative light. You should identify the language, tone, keywords, and phrases you will use in your response to this part of the ECA. Apply the communication model and other relevant concepts from the course when elaborating on your communication strategy.