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IMT-74: Managing Human Resource in Global Environment-MT1

IMT-74: Managing Human Resource in Global Environment-MT1















Q1. What are the major challenges in international HRM? What do you think are the causes of the complexities that exist in IHRM?

Q2. How is decentralized management within an MNC advantageous?

Q3. What are the roles played by an expatriate? How does an expatriate act as a bridge between the home and foreign location operations?

Q4. Discuss the methods used to select expatriates.

Q5. What are the country-level differences that need to be kept in mind while training expatriates?


Q1. There are significant differences in the way each country tends to compensate its workers for the time and commitment that they bring to work. Discuss with reference to expatriates.

Q2. What are the phases in the process of repatriation? Discuss the most crucial phase.

Q3. Why is it important for IHRM professionals to focus on retaining talent? Discuss the important factors related to the selection, retention and development of host country national (HCN) managers.

Q4. Discuss the emerging trends in industrial relations from the organization's point of view.

Q5. How should an expatriate's performance be appraised?


Q1. Discuss the sources of cross-cultural misinterpretation.

Q2. Define culture. Discuss the dimensions in which cultures differ from one another.

Q3. 'Time is Money'. Discuss in the context of different societies and their orientation to the past, present and future.

Q4. What is the role of talent management in planned business development?

Q5. How can HR practices be linked to business strategies? Discuss in the context of the process of internationalization.





After several more rounds of long discussions with Linda, they finally decided to move back to Singapore. The needs of his wife, children and mother-in-law were the over-riding factors in his decision. The following months were spent packing and shipping their things and bidding farewells. Other than that, they did not have much time to think about their return to Singapore until the day of the departure. In fact, it did not cross their mind that it was something that they had to be mentally prepared for. After all, Singapore is home, they thought.

In England, Mark had been offered the position of Global Strategy Manager at his company. This would mean a promotion and a higher salary and he would continue to enjoy the perks as an expatriate. On the other hand, taking up the regional marketing manager position in Singapore would essentially mean a demotion. He would have to accept a salary cut and would lose all the expatriate benefits. Linda had been pressuring him to return to Singapore. Moreover, looking at things on a long-term basis, Mark knew that moving back to Singapore now would be the best option for Linda and possibly also the children. If they stayed abroad too long, Linda would find it even more difficult to continue her banking career.

It had been half a year since Mark and his family moved back to Singapore. To their surprise, adapting back to life in Singapore turned out to be not as easy as they had imagined. After getting used to living in a large house with a big garden in the countryside for five years, their apartment in Singapore seemed such smaller than before. Although they lived in a luxurious condominium complex with facilities such as swimming pools, Jacuzzis, saunas, gym and tennis courts, they simply missed the vastness of the English countryside and the lifestyle that they led in England. Mark no longer had his fancy cars and drove a Nissan Bluebird, as he used to do five years ago, before he left Singapore. Linda had to give up her gardening. The children missed their teachers and friends at school. While the whole family was having dinner one evening. Mark's elder son, Jeremy, suddenly blurted out, 'I really don't want to go to school any more!" Me too!' John, the younger one, followed. Total silence fell upon the dining room. Tears started to trickle down Linda's face. She, too, was unhappy. All the tensions and unhappiness that had built up over the past six months suddenly came out in the open. She could no longer pretend that it was great to move home.



1. Does it make sense to give up an attractive international career and a good life in Europe for a return to Singapore at a lower rank position?

2. What can be done by international HR mangers to handle such situations?

3. What recent developments are happening in developing countries to bring their nationals back to their home countries?



Local Color

"We are not an American company. We are a Thai company." This is what C William Carey, Chairman and CEO of Town and Country Corporation, the largest US jewelry manufacturer and whole seller, said about his Thailand subsidiary Essex International. Carey has built a successful business on the basis of respect for local customs and cultural tradition. Carey proclaims, "I don't believe in Americanizing them. You have to go to a place and understand its strengths and massage them." He goes on to say that people "don't want outside influences coming in that distort their values and work ethics. If you take a cookie-cutter approach and stay open on a Buddhist holiday, workers will be resentful and feel you are disrespectful of their culture. They don't care if you are closed on the Fourth of July, but they do care if you 're closed on the Queen's birthday in April." Carey's views are shared by the majority of CEOs, who feel that adapting to the local culture is the biggest problem in globalization.

Carey has apparently accomplished the goal of cultural awareness to its fullest extent. When Town and Country established a subsidiary in Hong Kong, he spent USD 15,000 on fortune-tellers to tell the workers the fate of the company. Carey also gave everybody a public holiday after his purchase of Little Switzerland, based in the Caribbean.

Thailand is where Carey has proved to be most culturally sensitive. Essex enjoys being ranked in the top 5 of over 800 jewelry manufacturers in Thailand, with net annual sales of USD 19.4 million. Carey chose Thailand, which ranks second in the world in jewelry exports, because of the people's tradition in stone cutting, the low labour cost and work ethics. Also, Thailand's pro-business attitude gave Essex a four-year tax holiday and permission to build a warehouse free of restriction and duties. Carey's original goal was to make it acceptable to the people of Thailand, who are motivated by security and respect from their employer. Carey had to do many things to gain their confidence, including sitting cross-legged for a three and a half hour ceremony, inviting nine Buddhist monks to bless their seven-storey factory, and building a Buddhist spirit house at the factory for daily prayers and offerings.

After using 15 expatriates to set up the company in the first year, Carey sent them all back and used a polycentric recruitment policy to fill all positions. Essex' initial 200 workers were between the ages of 17 and 22 and had previously worked in rice fields. Essex lured women from 500 miles away with rent-free dormitories and the opportunity to learn a trade and increase their standard of living. The women received on-site medical care and exams, three meals a day and uniforms. Courses for high school equivalent diplomas are offered, as are classes in home economics and self-improvement. There is a library and a number of recreational facilities. These benefits are intended to both help the workers develop, and keep them occupied. "We wanted to give them espirit de corps to mould them in what we wanted by getting them to excel.," Carey stated.

These women who at one time had nothing, were able to send money home, open bank accounts, and join the profit-sharing programmes. They were offered company stock in 1991, and these workers now own approximately 10 per cent of the 30 per cent publicly held stock.

The total cost is hard to figure, but Carey estimates that these benefits add around USD 250 a month per employee. Recognition is another factor in Essex's success. There are both team and individual incentives. While at first people were reluctant about individual incentives, the recognition is now welcome. As their performance improves, people can move up the line and earn even more money, relocate to semi-private dormitory, be named employee of the month or receive a pat on the back in a public ceremony.

Carey's cultural sensitivity knows no bounds. In the earlier stages of Essex, he allowed a work schedule that started much later than in the Western world. After employees were comfortable with the company, he was able to slowly move up the time to 8 AM.

To sum up, 95 per cent of the employees have stayed, unlike the Thai average. There is a low level of absenteeism and a waiting list of job applicants. When there is a large order, Essex has no problem getting the workers to stay late. "The workers feel proud of the company," says Carey. "They are proud and appreciative of working in a company where they are recognized."



1. What was Carey's strategy for building a successful operation in Thailand?

2. Why do majority of CEOs feel that adapting to the local culture is the biggest problem in globalization?

3. Why did Carey, an American, not carry on his business in USA where there would be no hassles regarding cultural sensitivity? What are the other causes of the growth of international business?

4. What are the various ways in which you can create a workforce if trained people are not readily available?

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