Cross cultural training as one of the greatest managerial challenges of globalization is the heart of human resources management in the public sector. The author’s main advocacy is that of encouraging the public leaders to “assume the responsibility for creating new models of management systems” (Hill, Charles 2004). As an effective answer to the challenges of globalization, the author believes that the world is in need of training and educating globally competitive Human Resources professionals and that the government must do its part by financially supporting such immediate needs. It is the global competition that gave way to the increasing cultural diversity in companies and in the public sector. The focus of modern and globally competitive management strategy should then focus on its culturally diversified human resources.
In this article, the author raised several vital questions in relation to human resources management in the global and multicultural environment. First the author asked how executives can develop a multicultural management group. Secondly the author wanted to explore the role of human resources in the management of negotiations and international collaboration. Lastly, the author dug on the ways of developing cross-cultural competencies.
According to the author, a globally competitive agency must seriously consider the concept of trans-nationalism by creating and maintaining “multifaceted organizational cultures” (Bartlet and Ghoshal 1992 cited in Hill 2004). Global leaders are required to cope with cultural relativity and part of that step is to carry out cultural awareness training (Bochner, 1992 cited in Hill 2004). That awareness training must include an understanding of the country’s national culture and how its people think. A management specialist asserts that “Cultural differences significantly influence management approaches and the performance of employees within organizations” (Hofstede, 1989).
A globally competitive leader must first learn the techniques of global negotiations which requires an awareness and understanding of the multicultural facets of the negotiation process. This skill however according to the author needs to be learned and practiced overtime. In the case of a globally competitive public manager, one has to develop the essential characteristics of a global leader. These characteristics according to Hill involve a global mindset, global leadership skills, and ability to lead cross-cultural teams, energy and talent to participate in global networking, and skills as a global change agent.
In the context of public administration in education, the author recommends that a global leader must incorporate faculty development and exchange and team building for its members. A globally competitive public administration should also develop and maintain cultural exposure and a public-centered, multi-lingual work environment in addition to textbook and case study development.
The concept of the globalization of human resources management is a vital aspect of any organization that must be placed immediate attention. Since globalization require the interaction of organizations in the international arena, it is important that its leaders and members should be able to develop cultural sensitivity. Global competition opens opportunity for people of different cultures to come together to negotiate, build business relationships and maintain a culturally diversified working environment. Human resources management therefore plays vital role in securing that each organization is recruiting and training globally competitive and culturally sensitive leaders.
ARTICLE II. Multinational enterprises, employment relations and ethics
Apart from cultural sensitivity, globalization also poses challenges to employment relations and ethical perspectives of globally competitive organizations. This article specifically addresses the issues concerning business ethics like child labor, work environment safety and work pay rates. Ethics, although seen in different perspectives and in some relations with values, is a concept that is still considered a relative term in the business arena. In this article ethics has been discussed in comparison and in contrast with the concept of law.
The author questions how can business leader gauge if business rules, practices and values can considered ethical? The author also explored the concept of universal approval as a benchmark in drafting an organization’s statement of values and ethical standards. Because values are relative, the acceptability of practices depends on the existing cultural norms in a certain society. “Values are always matters of taste or whim, and cannot be proved to be true, or valid for all time in all places, their nature and consequences can be identified” (Donaldson, John 2001). On this ground, ethical standards are always debatable.
Still human resources are the main concern of this article since all organizations are composed and run by people. Globally competitive enterprises must therefore focus on critical analysis of the values and ethical standards they attempt to implement especially with the presence of cultural diversity. The author in this regard assessed that judgment of business ethics cannot be based upon legal structures rather on the culturally acceptable standards of the country on which an enterprise operates.
In the author’s view, ethical standards of each enterprise must look into some principles of employment conditions that would generally be considered acceptable for at the European community. First, an ethical work environment must give its members the freedom to move around the working community, provide equal opportunities for men and women, training and a high standard of health and safety protection at work. The author’s main point is that ethical standards of different work environments, especially that relates to cultural diversity, differ on situations and not on principles upon which such ethical standards are based upon. The bottom line of the author’s argument is that business codes of ethics do not suffice for an organization to become successful in its operation but still they are held important as they serve to inform its members of the values that the company is expected of them.
At the least business ethics are vital elements of the organization’s operations in matters of decision-making and of forecasting and shaping its future. “The key to managerial ethics is the development of individuals so that, ideally, they will possess the moral attributes required for the apprehension, appreciation and handling of ethical issues and dilemmas” (Donaldson, 2001). Business ethics should not therefore serve as borderline for each member rather it must be drafted in a way that independent moral judgment of each member can still be practiced. The author’s question is that apart from the existing organizational ethical standards, what more should each globally-operating enterprise should need?
Apart from addressing the issues of working environment safety, child labor and gender sensitivity, global organizations must balanced such principles with the value of strong self-belief. What the author therefore recommends is adapt economic and business pluralism. A personal opinion on this matter would lead to a conclusion that respect for each person’s identity and preferences should always be an important consideration. Although it has been established as some form of business rule that a company must operate according to the existing laws in the country where it operates, cultural diversity poses a great challenge for each organization to balance cultural norms, ethical standards and laws with human respect especially those who are operating with people of different colors.
ARTICLE III. Diversity Management and Cultural Competence
Dreachslin is concerned about the importance of cultural diversity awareness and recognition of managers in a globally competitive organization. An awareness of one’s group identities according to the author “helps shape our world view and influence our cultural style, including what we value, how we behave, and what we believe” (Dreachslin, Janice 2007,p.79). It is one’s awareness of a cultural identity and preferences that help him define his way of interacting with such culture in reference to human respect. The author also finds the issue important because of the presence of human biases and preferences that create possible disagreements and thus conflicts in an organization which caters to the needs of people from different cultures and beliefs.
Because globally operating organizations necessitates the employment of culturally diversified people, it is not surprising that disparities in the workforce arise evidently. This trend had been viewed by two opposing advocates. On one side, some believe that cultural competence is as important as celebrating our differences. On the other hand, some believe that placing importance of such issue would only contribute to cultural conflicts. The question raised in the middle of the author’s discussion is on what is the better approach to diversity management- homogenization or customization?
On the basis of healthcare industry, the two approaches were compared. In the author’s perspective, “homogenization is necessary to build common ground and unity of purpose in the context of diversity, without which strong performance is not possible” (ibid.). It is stressed in the article that identities, being an inevitable part of cultural diversity, maybe chosen individually and socially. In that sense, one’s actions towards his relationship or interaction with people of the same culture or that of the other culture are seriously affected because expectations or at least impressions are created from the start. Such impressions or expectations therefore define our ways of communicating with others. Homogenization tells us that a common ground can possibly be created on which both parties can meet or agree with.
The other side of the coin, the concept of customization, necessitates the satisfaction of one’s need to express his uniqueness by expressing the values and characteristics we share with those of the same affiliations. Customization therefore advocates and encourages the display of individual cultural differences not for cultural identification but for the sake of human need and satisfaction. Both concepts have their own benefits and costs like all other concepts and ideas but management specialists like Donaldson recommend the employment of both but stressed that this be done in balance. Communication has been highly regarded as a vital tool in managing one’s own leadership style.
In reducing cultural conflicts, leaders are required to utilize the communication tool efficiently and effectively. Donaldson suggests that leaders must ask themselves if their communication styles are required by their jobs or their styles were purely their personal preference. The answer would definitely go for the former proposition. Experts suggest that serious attention must be put on managing diversity in order to have a positive impact on employee performance. It is to be stressed that diversity in this context encompasses gender disparities or gender gaps. Kochan stressed that “diversity is both a labor-market imperative and social expectation/ value” (Kochan, et al. 2003, p.18).
In the practice of managing diversity, it is important that leaders must not focus on pointing out cultural and gender differences. Globally competitive leaders are rather required to employ balanced management styles through efficient communication strategies. These can be his powerful tool in building an organizational culture and human resources practices that would generally be practical and applicable to its culturally diversified people. Despite the presence of obvious cultural and gender differences, global leaders must be able to develop the skills of training its employees to professionally practice respect by simply treating its people based on what is just and rightful and without prejudice to any party involved.
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John Donaldson (2001). Multinational enterprises, employment relations and ethics. Employee Relations. Bradford: 2001. Vol. 23, Iss. 6; pg. 627, 16 pgs
Janice L Dreachslin (2007). Diversity Management and Cultural Competence: Research, Practice, and the Business Case.Journal of Healthcare Management. Chicago: Mar/Apr 2007. Vol. 52, Iss. 2; pg. 79
Geert Hofstede (1980). Cultures Consequences: International Differences in Work-related Values (Beverley Hills, CA: Sage, 1980, 1984).
Pan Suk Kim (1999). Globalization of human resource management: A cross-cultural perspective for the public sector. Public Personnel Management. Washington: Summer 1999. Vol. 28, Iss. 2; pg. 227
Michael Porter (1990). The Competitive Advantage of Nations (London: Macmillan, 1990). 2 Oded Shenkar