The core objectives of international management comprise the formation, development, and maintenance of the company’s competitive advantages with the opportunities to conduct business in different countries, as well as the appropriate utilisation of economic, social, cultural, and other characteristics across these countries. Effective management, which ensures success for the organisation, requires an orientation toward the consumer, in terms of the external environment, and the internal environment, with regards to the staff (Rittberger, Zangl, & Kruck, 2012).
With this in mind, international organisations may encounter several problems, as in the case of “No Name” aircraft, specific to managing employees from different countries that are associated with communication, diversity issues, and integration. These issues need to be addressed by conducting a thorough analysis of the situation and employing the relevant strategies aimed at the establishment of an appropriate and productive working environment.
“No Name” Airlines is an organisation based in Australia, with subsidiaries in Singapore, Vietnam, and China. As an International Human Resource Management (HRM) Consultant, it is important to note that the case study reveals some challenging issues regarding the organisational culture, diversity management, and training and promotion development within this company. In particular, the organisation lacks proper communication strategies, as noted in the case study, since its headquarters and subsidiaries do not interact effectively. It is evident that they encounter a range of problems associated with teamwork and collaboration that is caused by the strict division of responsibility.
Every team is headed by one leader and is responsible for a single, individual function. Such an approach, as stated by Michailova and Minbaeva (2012), creates communication breakdown, expressed in unclear instructions and misunderstandings between different subsidiaries and teams.
Due to these issues, employees experience misunderstanding and lack proper instructions. They work, having no clear understanding of the general situation, or their specific role within the larger company framework. This failure negatively affects the overall performance of the company and reduces quality of service, leading to threats from customers to withhold their investments. Personnel also show strong resistance to change as they are unaware of the current needs and potential benefits of any new approaches.
The second issue relates to diversity management, especially to intolerance towards young specialists and those with disabilities. While Human Resource managers partially ignore the applications from these categories of potential employees, senior management appears to totally disregard apprentices. The importance of diversity recognition is argued by Groschl (2016), who claims that organisations that aim for workforce diversity are proved to be more effective. A further issue is the potential lack of understanding between employees in the company and their failure in perceiving the views of other’s correctly, and respectfully.
Even though the fundamental principles of value of every age, race, and religion are acknowledged by “No Name”, the assumptions of equality are not applied in practice. According to Mor Barak (2017), such a situation may eventually lead to an organisation takeover or even bankruptcy as, “when diversity is very broadly and ambiguously defined, people can read into it content that suits their own worldviews” (p. 173). In effect, this is likely to disintegrate the organisation and deteriorate relationships between senior management and employees even further.
International Performance Challenges
Operating as an international company, “No Name” lacks the proper organisational management required for such an enterprise. Indeed, a clear example of this is the fact that performance reviews are provided only at the headquarters in Australia, while subsidiaries are not involved in the process of any continuous evaluation. Thus, staff working at headquarters are able to benefit from the opportunity of enhancement, while staff in the other countries lack these opportunities for any appropriate and timely improvements or development. The organisation seems to disregard the economic, political, and social factors that tend to affect the performance of subsidiaries.
This conflict manifests itself the most clearly in terms of unmatched decisions and resistance to change (Bititci, Garengo, Dörfler, & Nudurupati, 2012). From this understanding, the need for immediate analysis and any subsequent implementation of international management strategies becomes even more evident.
Training and Development
Another challenging issue relates to the lack of training and development of staff, especially when it comes to expatriate employees. For instance, when an employee moves to another country, be it Vietnam or Singapore, he or she is only offered half a day of preparation. According to the reports of expatriate staff, this is insufficient and leads to misunderstandings of what is required of them, and for them to resort to self-learning at their new place of work.
This is of concern with regards to the new social, economic, and cultural aspects of a country, essential for effective integration. Through this example, the failure of the Human Resource (HR) department to consider organisational needs in general, and devise a sound development plan to assist personnel in their work, is highlighted, leaving all staff, effectively, with little to no opportunities for professional growth.
Potential Strategies to Address Challenges
With the aforementioned issues in mind, it becomes evident that Human Resource management needs to eliminate this situation and also ensure that the same will not happen again in the future. The comprehensive study, analysis, and assessment of the external environment of international businesses in order to realize competitive advantage seems to offer a useful approach to adopt in order to address these challenges. At this point, the core task of international Human Resource management, according to Morschett, Schramm-Klein, and Zentes, (2015), is an in-depth analysis and evaluation of the cultural background in each of the countries “No Name” operates in, as well as the use of its capabilities in the development of its strategic decisions.
As the problem identification section shows, the challenges are caused by differences that arise from conducting business within several countries. This makes it necessary to pay special attention to the analysis of the external environment and, in particular, the culture and social sphere, to try and gain necessary competitive advantage (Hood & Birkinshaw, 2016; Sasaki & Yoshikawa, 2014).
The work of the organisation as a team assumes both the independence of the thinking of the employees and their involvement in the organisation work. The team enables projects to be implemented that are beyond the capability of one person. Mäkelä, Andersson, and Seppälä (2012) emphasise the role of the formation and development of the multinational team within the organisation, both across its units in the country of origin, and in the host countries, in order to maximise the potential of employees, the full capabilities of individual teams, and the interethnic effects from their interaction and integration.
However, the authors note that the “interpersonal similarity in terms of nationality and functional background influence knowledge sharing in such a way that more knowledge is exchanged between people who are similar in these regards than between those who are not” (Mäkelä et al., 2012). In this connection, it is possible for management to focus on ensuring that each team member is obliged to perform particular goals, using knowledge and capabilities to achieve the goals set for the team.
Each member of should be ready to freely express his or her views on the problems that have arisen, and none of the participants should be dependent on the group’s attitude to the given issue (Fitzsimmons, 2013). Moreover, every member of the team should understand the value of the corporate mission, even if a decision may contradict his or her own ideas.
Diversity provides plenty of ideas and allows for a more creative approach to be adopted in the organisation. Different people have different skill sets and knowledge that they can bring to the company (Munson & Chetkow-Yanoov, 2014). The company, thus, has the opportunity to choose from a variety of skills and experience throughout the workforce. It is clear that “No Name” can prosper more effectively and efficiently by having a better organised Human Resources department. According to Thite, Wilkinson, and Shah (2012), “the same performance metrics are supposed to be applied to every employee and position at every location” (p. 255).
The equal opportunities policy is based on the model of the assimilation, the essence of which is to attract people to the organisation rather than to make adjustments to the organisational culture. Therefore, diversity management, on the basis of which cultural alteration is embedded, can be regarded as a pragmatic business strategy aimed at maximising the level of productivity, creativity, and loyalty of employees, as well as meeting the needs of diverse groups of customers.
The Human Resources department of international organisations is expected to provide employees in both headquarters and the foreign offices with training and development opportunities to help them work more efficiently (Sheehan, 2012). The training initiatives should be aimed at the development of specific working skills and abilities. For instance, training programs can be designed to help employees to learn a foreign language, use new equipment, and introduce new production processes. For workers, travelling on long trips abroad, special training is critical as it is the key tool to managing their adaptation to the new culture (Stahl et al., 2012).
Development is taken as all general education associated with preparing employees for a new appointment and / or moving to a higher position. Development programs can also be aimed at helping personnel to improve their ability to make decisions and motivate them.
Recommendations for the Company
There are four problems that have been identified in this paper that need to be addressed. It is essential to provide recommendations regarding each of them.
Both awareness and understanding of the country’s culture and the corresponding behavioural features of its population play a key role in managing to harness any new competitive advantages (Ambos & Håkanson, 2014). This can be accomplished through the evaluation, selection, and practical use of organisational forms within which the foreign operations of the organisation are carried out. Lauring and Selmer (2012) argue that, “focus on creating an environment supporting consistent daily English language use among group members and make sure that the communication from the management is kept consistently in the common language” (p. 163).
Harzing and Pudelko (2013) claim that, “Asian countries are highly ethnocentric in using their home country language” (p. 96). Therefore, it seems appropriate to recommend “No Name” to create an atmosphere of open dialogue, respect, attentiveness, and readiness to help (Denison, Hooijberg, Lane, & Lief, 2012). Specifically, management should initiate communication activities such as meetings, conferences, and briefings that will serve as platforms for interaction.
In order to ensure diversity acceptance, the company should focus on keeping employees interested in their work and providing equal opportunities. If the organisation fails to create a welcoming and hospitable atmosphere for all, high employee turnover will continue to threaten the organisation, while talents will flow to other companies (Dabic, González-Loureiro, & Furrer, 2014). As such, it is necessary to ensure that all obvious barriers to career development are eliminated. For example, management should ensure that employees receive all relevant information about vacancies and opportunities for in-service training through the internal email system.
Another recommendation relates to building such a reputation that promotes diversity as the image of the company, aiding the recruitment process. Advertising, brochures, and annual reports all form part of an organisations image representation, but sometimes information is transmitted through unofficial channels, from person to person as well (Park, 2013). If it is perceived that the company offers good opportunities to all employees, staff are treated with respect, and management includes a variety of people, then it is most likely that the organisation will attract more diverse candidates. As well as recruiting, building relationships in the sphere of diversity management plays an even more important role.
The success of diversity initiatives will depend on the quality of the interpersonal relationships with employees and applicants.
International performance implies the integration of the headquarters and subsidiaries, so that the interests of both are taken into account while making decisions. As stated by Cullen and Parboteeah (2013), a multinational strategy helps to adapt the strategic approach to the conditions of each country where the firm operates. This means the promotion of development of strategies appropriate to the conditions of each country, with minimal coordination, or even the lack of it, within the multinational corporation (MNC) as a whole. This strategy is also characterised by the orientation towards local suppliers and the full adaptation to the specifics of any national peculiarities.
Training and Development
Training and development can take place in a typical classroom environment within the organisation, at the workplace, or in other settings, for example, in a conference hall. Swart, Mann, Brown, and Price (2012) note that specialised programs may cost more than standard ones. However, the former guarantees that employees will receive exactly the information that the company regards as necessary. Be it generic or specialised, most programmes employ several teaching methods at once. Lectures and “home reading” are very common, as well as training, using video materials and web resources.
Multimedia technologies play an increasingly important role in intercultural training and development. According to Phillips and Phillips (2016), MNCs are increasingly demanding global, qualitative, and flexible intercultural training of workers. With the use of multimedia approaches, employees of firms, working in different parts of the world, can utilise the educational materials at a time convenient to them. In the study of other cultures, role games and other forms of empirical learning are very useful (Phillips & Phillips, 2016).
The core idea is to explain to HR managers that the development of international knowledge and experience should start immediately by clarifying perspectives, and systematically integrating foreign business trips into professional development plans and programs (Landis & Brislin, 2013; Salas, Tannenbaum, Kraiger, & Smith-Jentsch, 2012).
Such an approach is significant because the employees of the company will most likely have to work hand in hand with their colleagues from other countries and provide high-level awareness, along with the readiness to engage in productive interaction. In addition, this training will help employees gain a better understanding of the international markets of their company.
To conclude, it is essential to emphasise that “No Name”, as an international organisation, needs to address such problems as the specific lack of proper communication between employees and management and, across the company as a whole, issues of diversity, international disintegration, and training and development. The thorough review of the scholarly literature revealed that there is a range of solutions that can be recommended in order to improve the current situation.
In particular, it was suggested to focus on the establishment of transparent and comprehensible communication activities that are likely to help employees to understand each other better, following the principles of diversity and being aware of the benefits of such organisational behaviour. Furthermore, the recommendations regarding training and development reflect on the fact that international performance requires continuous education of expatriates in the form of long-term preparation from the purposes of working within a foreign country. The implementation of such recommendations is likely to prevent the occurrence of such problems again in the future.
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