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International HRM - PowerPoint Presentation Example

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Introduction: The following report focuses on the cultural and institutional challenges a US multinational firm may encounter when opening a subsidiary in the UK. To study the cultural issues, the report makes extensive use of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions whilst focusing on HR practices with regards to institutional or organisational issues…
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Download file to see previous pages Other studies suggest that there are certain aspects to business organisations like technology, structure and other common practices that transcend culture and form a commonality between how businesses operate across cultures (Kerr et al, 1973 & Hickson et al, 1979 cited in Mullins, 1999). In Hofstede’s words, “effective multinationals have created practices that bridge the national value differences” (1997). This suggests that uniformity in organisational structure may in fact help the organisation create its own culture regardless of national culture differences. These common practices are what help international managers operate effectively beyond their own cultures. Identifying Cultural Differences and Prejudices: “One’s own culture provides the ‘lens’ through which we view the world; the ‘logic’ by which we order it; and the ‘grammar’ by which it makes sense” (Avruch and Black, 1991) Hofstede (1994, 1997), argues that ethnocentrism, the behaviour where one considers their own culture to be superior over others, has no place in a world that is getting smaller due to globalisation. The same applies to management, as Evans et al (1989) suggest that managerial styles designed in one culture may not easily translate to another because of the differences in traditions and values of the management and workforce. Globalisation has increased pressure upon firms to invest across cultures to maintain their competitive advantage and to be open for new opportunities. This calls for international managers to be prepared for the challenges they may face as they venture into unknown cultures. Understanding people requires understanding their background, as their background has provided them with their culture and would help one predict their present and future behaviour (Hofstede, 1991 cited in Tulder & Zwart, 2006; Scullion and Linehan, 2005). This calls for an understanding of historical origins of culture in terms of religious beliefs, values and norms (Hofstede and Bond, 1988). In most cases cultural traits can be identified through culture-specific literature, for example, the Holy Bible, which has historic significance in the evolution of both American and British cultures. Both cultures, argues Cleary (1991), are derived from belief in Biblical texts, which suggest an absolute truth outside of oneself, and as a consequence, one evaluates issues in terms of absolutes and fixed goals. So both Brits and Americans, or westerners in the general sense, according to Trompenaars (1993), tend to be goal oriented and tend to rely on legal contracts during business negotiations. Also, as multicultural nations, both offer a weak culture (Robbins, 2003), which is flexible to change. People in both cultures also tend to be more short-term oriented in their association with organisations. Evans et al (1989) suggest that in the west in general, “workers ‘sell’ their time to the company for wages and do not owe any allegiance to the company in their own time” (pg130). The Five Cultural Dimensions: Hofstede’s five dimensions of cultural values can be now applied to both cultures to better understand the challenges of cross-cultural management, and to derive suggestions for the International ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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