Influence of culture
Influence of culture
Culture and HR policy
We may not always recognise the influence of culture because, ironically, we are so immersed in it. It is often only by stepping outside of one’s own culture that it becomes possible to see its influence on people’s behaviour, values and expectations. Global organisations create situations whereby the culture of each country in which the company operates influences leadership and business practices, leading to differences from divisions in other countries and from the headquarters.
What are the implications of these differences for HR policy? In this essay, continue considering the cultural differences amongst countries that may have a bearing on HR policy.
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o Synthesising the general lessons about the influence of local culture on HR policy in global organisations.
o Providing an alternative perspective on the ways in which HR leaders can use policy to be responsive to local cultural differences in multinational organisations
o Discussing ways your experiences are similar or different with regard to the impact of culture on HR policy.
o Asking probing questions to learn more about your classmates’ views, such as their experiences with specific HR policies in different cultural contexts
DHRP COLL W7: Influence of culture
Human Resource professionals in multinational corporations (MNC) and globalized organizations should be clued-up of how local culture could impact on the development as well as execution of human resources practices and policies. Global firms create situations in which the culture of every nation where the firm is operating in influences business and leadership practices, resulting in differences from divisions in other nations and from the head-offices. This paper provides a detailed discussion of the implications of these differences for human resource policy.
In today’s world, hundreds of business organizations operate globally. Morgan Stanley, Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Apple, BP and virtually each one of the leading global brands have worldwide operations. For these MNCs to be effective, they need to take into consideration the local practices, their local impact on the nations in which they operate, and even the existing cultural boundaries (Perlmutter 2001). The task of ensuring cultural efficacy and compatibility in most cases falls on the organization’s HR manager, particularly focusing on retention-oriented compensation and structural training and development. Hofstede Theory of Cultural Dimensions is an essential measure of cultural distinctions utilized by many organizations when deciding to assume these global endeavours. This theory helps in the smooth transition into overseas countries. When this theory is employed, policy creators and HR managers can identify the most appropriate training approaches for the base-country and local-country employees (Thite, Wilkinson & Shah 2012).
Whenever MNCs penetrate unfamiliar and unknown operating environments, with largely really distinct practices compared to the organization’s host country, there is an unavoidable conflict with culture, operating practices of local workers, and corporate social responsibility. Human resources managers are capable of mitigating these differences and the ensuing conflicting behaviours with enhanced intercultural communication skills and understanding (Aycan et al. 2000).
Human resource managers often face the challenge of balancing societal and corporate cultures whilst promoting diversity. While some cultures for instance a command-and-control style of management could be modified to fit with the local cultures, others, for instance human rights practices and integrity, cannot be compromised (Aycan 2005). Human Resource professionals should understand and manage the complexities, choosing the elements of corporate culture that could change, as well as the ones that are crucial to protecting the ethics and values of company. The firm cannot alter policies that relate to anti-bribery, but it can decide to alter its dress-down- Friday’s rule. In addition, the company’s senior executives might decide to impose cultural aspects, for instance consistently giving back to the community across the multinational corporation. The challenge becomes even harder when dealing with employees who are new, temporary and remote workers, as well as workers who are engaged through means like crowd sourcing. Furthermore, the human resources department should come up with programs for assisting managers to adapt whenever they move from the headquarters to regions with dissimilar cultural and societal norms (Sparrow 2012).
In an effort to try and solve the conflict between the local/host-country culture and the influence of home-country culture on the multinational corporation’s corporate culture, it is important to set up training seminars for the company’s managers in the host country. For example, in 1988, the American multinational General Electric (GE) acquired the French company Companies General de Radiologie (CGR). The move for General Electric marked a vital step in gaining market share in Europe in the medical equipment sector. To try and resolve the conflict between the culture of the French and the influence of United States culture on the corporate culture of General Electric, GE held training round tables for their managers in Europe, including its managers in France. The seminars helped in establishing values, direction, and goals for firms which is particularly significant following acquisitions like the acquisition of CGR. Business organizations usually fail to properly define what they are exactly expecting from people. Even so, when the HR department provides training sessions as General Electric did, a significant amount of time is spent in clarifying expectations (Tarique & Schuler 2010).
Management style improvement interventions are significant interventions that business organizations could make as a way of resolving discrepancies with cultures of high-power distance. An important effort in trying to bridge the culture gaps is to hold seminars that encourage leaders and managers to proactively support the new corporate culture and organizational structure. Helping employees and managers to understand the way the structure of the firm actually work together is helpful in assimilating new staff members into the firm during acquisition (Aycan 2005). Although they are just slightly effective in attaining true organizational compatibility between the MNC and the acquired firm, these training seminars serve as an important example of the way that HR initiatives help to close cultural gaps for increased organizational efficiency. Through effective training and development programs, General Electric was able to solve the cultural issues with the French company CGR. The training and development programs could be as intricate as exploring complex, deeper organizational foundations and rituals, to as straightforward as iterating the dissimilarities between cultures and the way they interact (Sparrow 2012).
In conclusion, many business organizations operate worldwide these days. Human Resource professionals should understand and effectively manage the complexities, choosing the elements of corporate culture that could change, as well as the ones that are vital to protecting the ethics and values of the firm. A major effort in closing the culture gaps is to hold seminars that encourage company leaders and managers to proactively support the new corporate culture and organizational structure.
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Aycan, Z 2005, The interplay between cultural and institutional/structural contingencies in human resource management practices. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 16(7): 1083-1119
Perlmutter, HV 2001, The tortuous evolution of the multinational corporation. Wharton Quarterly, 3(3):4-16
Sparrow, P 2012, Globalising the international mobility function: the role of emerging markets, flexibility and strategic delivery models. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 23(12): 2404–2427
Tarique, I., & Schuler, RS 2010, Global talent management: Literature review, integrative framework, and suggestions for further research. Journal of World Business 45(6): 122-133
Thite, M., Wilkinson., & Shah, D 2012, Internationalization and HRM strategies across subsidiaries in multinational corporations from emerging economies—A conceptual framework. Journal of World Business, 47(12): 251-258
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