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Managing Cross-Border Labour and Cultural Challenges: A Case Study of Pyramid International Company

Fun at Work Strategies in a Multicultural Work Environment

This assignment is an individual assignment. 

This assignment requires you to write a 3500-word reflective essay, covering all module outcomes.

Marking will follow the general PG marking grid. Further information on University mark descriptors can be found here. 

1 – Develop an understanding of selected theories, debates and research that relate to organisational behaviour and human resource management.

2 - Critically assess the role and challenges faced by managers/organizations and employees working within an organization and identify the foundations of such challenges.

3 – Create awareness of topics within OB/HRM and develop ability to analyse and articulate and apply techniques, approaches and solutions involved in the management of human, material and capital resources in an organisational context.

4 – Critically evaluate peer reviewed journal articles in the relevant areas of organisational behaviour and human resource management and produce from this an appreciable essay that analyses key aspects relating topical areas studied. Students will be taught how to engage research critically by analysing such aspects as the scope, depth and currency of literature, credibility and usefulness of findings, theoretical/practical implication for practice.

5 – Develop the ability to comprehend and manage complex information and present quality of writing and style in a way that address current organizational challenges.

6 – Build ability to critically review and analyse articles in the relevant topic areas as published in top-ranking ABS journals and using such knowledge to inform decision orientation in response to specific and more general organizational scenario.

7 – Understand how to undertake research and propose solutions to organisational and behaviourial issues as necessary to address conflict in organizations.

The assessment for this module will consist of a 3500 (+-10%) critical literature. The review must to be submitted on turnitin and should reflect the individual effort of the student. The task accounts for the full 100% of the mark for the entire module. The primary focus of the task is to explore key debates, and apply in an organizational context. The articles to include as reference sources to build your essay must be articles published in highly- ranked academic journals within the ABS3* and 4* journals.

Title: Pyramid International Company (PIC).

In a recent publication, the Financial Times (FT) observed that there had been a frenzy of Merger and Acquisition (M&A) deal-making between organisations across the world even under Covid-19 restrictions. The increasing merger and acquisition activities, the writer notes, has put 2021 on track to break records, with almost $4tn deals already agreed since the start of the year, as companies rush to exploit cheap financing and bumper profits. To this can be added the pursuit of cheap labour and material and the search for Covid-19 relax work environments ensuring production continuity and competitive advantage. The paper further notes that there were $500bn worth of transactions globally in the usually quiet month of August, up from $289bn in the same month last year, and $275bn in 2019. This surge in M&A, it notes, has also been fuelled by a mixture of low borrowing costs with firms taking advantage of trillions of dollars in the coffers of private equity groups. The writer projects that at this pace, total M&A activity this year is set to overtake the all-time high hit before the financial crisis in 2007, when $4.3tn worth of deals were announced. A key expert opinion, cited to support the very strong M&A investment intensity was that of Frank Aquila, global head of M&A at law firm Sullivan & Cromwell. From his vantage expert’s eye view, he is quoted to have said “with most businesses generating record profits, having access to inexpensive debt and experiencing high share prices, it is difficult to see M&A activity slowing over the next six to 12 months,” The same article found that many of the almost 40,000 deals announced since January have been large — running into tens of billions of US dollars, most of which include a record number of cross-border tie-ups.

Challenges of Cross-Border Recruitment and Deployment of Labour

We find from the above excerpt that cross-border M&A are consolidating as a model for global trade and this multinational financing and investment model is bound to continue. Our study of international HRM, cross-cultural management and wider knowledge of international business and management tells us that with increasing cross-national investment comes unprecedented labour mobility across different nations to meet the demands of such high volumes of cross-border tie-ups mentioned by investment expert Frank Aquila above. However, this process of labour movement between countries also harbours issues of culture, language, work system and other differences carried by expert skilled persons and general labourers between countries, regions and peoples. Recognising cross-border labour mobility consequences, scholarly management work specific to organisational behaviour (OB) and human resource management (HRM) has thus, placed emphasis on labour migration issues and processes (see e.g. Sarpong, MacLean and Eyong, 2018).  As young graduates from DMU, you will be faced with cross-cultural challenge in one way or another and yet you will have to lead effectively in ways necessitating both rational and irrational thinking. You will also have to meet the emerging need to incorporate fun at work, yet delivering employee satisfaction and achieving the goals of your organisations.

Based on the intense cross-border M&A activity explained in the FT article, you are required to focus your thoughts on an imaginary cross-border multinational corporation (MNC), resulting out of M&A and which harmonises North-South social, cultural and institutional realities. The new MNC is known as Pyramid International Company (PIC).

Maintaining that cross-border and cross-cultural challenges are active out of the inevitable multicultural work relationships existing at PIC involving; home, host and third country nationals working together in your home country, write an essay of 3500 words in which you address the following:

1. Drawing on the literature on fun at work, propose two fun strategies that can make work more enjoyable at PIC. Note that PIC is based in your home country with employees from many nationalities and culture from three to four continents. In doing so, reflect on the challenges of culture and personality differences as well as the specific context-contingent factors in your home country that could impact on the proposed fun at work project (500 words).

2. Critically discuss three main challenges involved in cross-border recruitment and deployment of labour internationally and propose ways by which these can be addressed (500 words).

3. Critically discuss why transformational leadership theory might not be effective as a universal approach to leadership in a multicultural and international work environment emerging out of cross-border merger and acquisition as is the case for PIC (500 words).

Effectiveness of Transformational Leadership Theory in a Cross-Cultural and Multinational Work Environment

4. Discuss how Kurt Lewin’s three steps model of change could assist managers of PIC to prepare home, host and third country nationals to adapt to a new more relational and sociable work ethic. Reflect on complexity rather than simplicity of change and seek alternative approaches or models of change that may be appropriate in the political, economic, social, technological and legal environment in your home country (500 words).

5. Building from Hofstede’s five dimensions on culture differences and the literature on national culture and cross-cultural communication in general, discuss ways through which employees of different nationalities and cultures can take advantage of the benefits of cultural diversity at PIC. Reflect on challenges around culture entrenchment, ethnocentrism and cosmopolitanism as they contrast with sensitivity towards culture universality (500 words).

6. Explore ways through which emotional intelligence – as presented in David Goleman’s five elements model can be used to improve employee motivation at PIC (500 words).  

7. Your introduction should succinctly explain the task, identify key issues to be developed in the body of the essay and present a clear structure explaining the order in which the different sections of your essay will be arranged and developed (250 words).

8. End your essay with a composite conclusion reminding the reader about what the task was about and explaining how this has been accomplished. Reiterate the main points from each topical area and reflect on the challenges faced in the course of completing the task and learning gained from the module (250 words).

Note that you have been asked to write an essay rather than a report. You will therefore avoid sub-headings and writing in the first person – ‘I’, ‘my’ or according to my opinion etc. etc. This approach is not often encouraged in academic writing. Instead say, this student, author or as the leader of the organisation, the analysis shows that the best approach(es) could be. The reason(s) is/are.

Also, note that the reference sources you use for your essay should come from the following list of ABS3* and 4* journals: (Seek support from a library staff should you find any difficulty in finding these journals and the articles that you will wish to analyse to support your essay)

Recommended journals to select articles:

  • International Journal of Human Resource Management
  • Work, Employment and Society
  • Human Resource Management Journal
  • European Journal of Industrial Relations
  • Gender, Work and Organisation
  • Employee Relations
  • Human Relations
  • Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes
  • Journal of Organizational Behaviour
  • Academy of Management Perspectives
  • Academy of Management Journal   
  • Academy of Management Review
  • Human Resource Management
  • Leadership quarterly
  • Leadership journal
  • European Journal of Urban and Regional studies

Note further that the articles or reference sources you bring into your essay should not be older than 5 years. This means that you should only use reference sources or articles published between; 2014 - 2019. The markers are more interested in ongoing, current conversations/debates and issues around the various topics rather than references such as: Transformational leadership (Burns, 1978; Bass, 1985) or Maslow’s theory of motivation (Maslow, 1943). We are interested in your reading and understanding of the manner in which recent writers are engaging with these foundational concepts rather than in your ability to explain what these concepts are. As much as possible, avoid explanation and definitions of theories. Rather, engage in critical examination about how these concepts are written about and applied in today’s business and management context.

Kurt Lewin's Three Steps Model of Change Management for PIC

In your analysis, you should aim to compare/evaluate between theories/perceptions/approaches, rather than just explain from websites or books etc. In critical analysis process, you will consider highlighting similarities and differences in the arguments developed, evaluate the value and contribution and suitability of theories/approaches in your context. Avoid simple explanation and description. Rather, seek to analyse current issues engaged in the various streams of literature in some depth, outlining implication, limitations and questioning assumptions drawing on your experience or alternative real-life news, events or cultural conventions.

Submission is online only and must be submitted through TURNITIN which you find on the module shell. Note that there will be two links for submission. Be careful here to submit into the link DMU submit only.

Throughout the module you will develop an understanding of the main debates, issues, critique, contribution and some sources of reference. The expectation is that you will benefit from this knowledge and your previous studies to satisfactorily complete the assessment. You are warned to avoid all forms of malpractice including plagiarism, copying and pasting previous work or including large portions of books, articles and other sources as part of your work without observing approved rules on assignment tasks at DMU such as not citing correctly. Note that you may be disqualified from the programme if you are found to have engaged in any form of academic malpractice after due process.

From experience we are aware that at entry students come from different academic traditions and backgrounds around the world. We therefore encourage collaborative and collective learning during the lectures and seminars so that in the end, everyone learns for the good of all. During the lectures and seminars, please be encouraged to share your knowledge, experience and resources, so that no one feels left out, subjugated or undermined. As we will learn in the module, humanity is complex. Having surfaced from different cultural backgrounds, disparate personalities and of different forms of intelligences we all need to work together to make learning a worthwhile experience. Therefore, the global citizens that we have become we need to understand this complexity and provide space and opportunity to all through honest practices and collaborative practice.

Execution of task in general very important. Other aspects: personal research effort, examples used to demonstrate deeper understanding and application, critical analysis, presentation, referencing, communication skills. Use current examples from the business world and make clear links between theory, analysis of theory and key debates in each literature stream. Make a choice or combination of approaches you would recommend for application as PIC manager after thorough analysis of theories and debates. Make complete statements and build your work incrementally, signposting between sections to make your work to read as a coherent essay rather than a report with different unrelated sections.

Mark Range




Demonstrates an exceptional ability and insight, indicating the highest level of technical competence.

The work has the potential to influence the forefront of the subject, and may be of publishable/exhibitable quality. 

Relevant generic skills are demonstrated at the highest possible standard.



Demonstrates an outstanding ability and insight based on authoritative subject knowledge and a very high level of technical competence.

The work is considered to be close to the forefront of the subject, and may be close to publishable/exhibitable quality.

Relevant generic skills are demonstrated at a very high level.



Demonstrates an authoritative, current subject knowledge and a high level of technical competence.

The work is accurate and extensively supported by appropriate evidence.  It may show some originality.  Clear evidence of capacity to reflect critically and deal with ambiguity in the data.

Relevant generic skills are demonstrated at a high level.



Demonstrates a sound, current subject knowledge.  No significant errors in the application of concepts or appropriate techniques.  May contain some minor flaws.

The work is well developed and coherent; may show some originality.  Clear evidence of capacity to reflect critically.

Relevant generic skills are demonstrated at a good level.

50 – 59%


Demonstrates satisfactory subject knowledge. Some evident weaknesses; possibly shown by conceptual gaps, or limited use of appropriate techniques.

The work is generally sound but tends toward the factual or derivative.  Limited evidence of capacity to reflect critically.

Relevant generic skills are generally at a satisfactory level.

40 -49%


Demonstrates limited subject knowledge.  Some important weaknesses; possibly shown by factual errors, conceptual gaps, or weak use of appropriate techniques.

The work tends toward the factual / derivative, or lacks sound development.  Little evidence of capacity to reflect critically.

Relevant generic skills do not meet the requirements of the task.


Demonstrates inadequate subject knowledge.  

The work lacks coherence and evidence of capacity to reflect critically.

The quality of the relevant generic skills do not meet the requirements of the task.


Demonstrates seriously inadequate knowledge of the subject.

The work contains minimal evidence of awareness of relevant issues or theory.

The quality of the relevant generic skills do not meet the requirements of the task.


The work is almost entirely lacking in evidence of knowledge of the subject.  No evidence of awareness of relevant issues or theory.

The quality of the relevant generic skills do not meet the requirements of the task.


The work presents information that is irrelevant and unconnected to the task.

No evident awareness of appropriate principles, theories, evidence and techniques.

  • Your reflective essay will be awarded a zero mark if it is incomplete.
  • Please ensure that you have fully developed your work before submitting your work.
  • All work submitted after the submission deadline without a valid and approved reason will be subject to the University regulations on late submissions.
    • If an assessment is submitted up to 14 days late the mark for the work will be capped at the pass mark of 50%
    • If an assessment is submitted beyond 14 calendar days late the work will receive a mark of zero per cent
    • The above applies to a student’s first attempt at the assessment. If work submitted as a reassessment of a previously failed assessment task is submitted later than the deadline the work will immediately be given a mark of zero per cent
    • If an assessment which is marked as pass/fail rather than given a percentage mark is submitted later than the deadline, the work will immediately be marked as a fail
  • The University wants you to do your best. However, we know that sometimes events happen which mean that you can’t submit your coursework by the deadline – these events should be beyond your control and not easy to predict.  If this happens, you can apply for an extension to your deadline for up to two weeks, or if you need longer, you can apply for a deferral, which takes you to the next assessment period (for example, to the re-sit period following the main Assessment Boards). You must apply before the deadline. You will find information about applying for extensions and deferrals here.

You can expect to have feedback returned to you on 13th January 2022 (20 working days). If for any reason there is a delay you will be kept informed. Marks and feedback will be provided online, and you will receive an email release of results.

Marks will have been internally moderated only, and will therefore be provisional; your mark will be formally agreed later in the year once the external examiner has completed their review. More information on assessment and feedback can be found here.

In submitting a piece of work for assessment it is essential that you understand the University's requirements for maintaining academic integrity and ensure that the work does not contravene University regulations. Some examples of behaviour that would not be considered acceptable include plagiarism, re-use of previously assessed work, collusion with others and purchasing your assignment from a third party. For more information on academic offences, bad academic practice, and academic penalties, please read chapter four of our academic regulations.

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