T17-Solutions

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TUTORTIAL 17
GROUP ACTIVITIES
1. Working in groups, outline an expatriation and repatriation plan for your professor,
who your school is sending to Bulgaria to teach HR for the next three years. In
developing their expatriation and repatriation plan, the students should use Internet
resources to find information on various cultural, economic, and legal factors that could
affect their professor. They should include a description of the type of training program
their professor should take prior to leaving for Bulgaria, the pay structure while on the
international assignment, and particulars for how the repatriation plan will work for the
professor’s return. (LO 17.5; AACSB: Analytic Skills; Learning Outcome: Describe the
global HR challenges related to differences among countries.)
2. Give three specific examples of multinational corporations in your area. Check on
the Internet or with each firm to determine in what countries these firms have
operations. Explain the nature of some of their operations, and whatever you can
find out about their international HR policies. The examples will vary according to
what companies have operations in your area. This can be an exciting opportunity for
students to find out more about companies and what they are doing beyond your
immediate geographic area. (LO 17.1; AACSB: Use of Information Technology; Learning
Outcome: Describe the global HR challenges related to differences among countries.)
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. You are the president of a small business. What are some of the ways you expect
“going internationally” will affect your business? Being involved internationally can
affect virtually every aspect of your business. It can affect the growth of your business
due to additional markets, it can affect costs of doing business, and it can affect every
aspect of HRM as outlined in the chapter. (LO 17.1; AACSB: Analytic Skills; Learning
Outcome: describe the global HR challenges related to differences among countries.)
2. What are some of the specific uniquely international activities an international HR
manager typically engages in? 1) Formulating and implementing HR policies and
activities in the home-office of a multinational company. This HRM manager would
engage in selecting, training, and transferring parent-company personnel abroad and
formulating HR policies for the firm as a whole and for its foreign operations. 2)
Conducting HR activities in the foreign subsidiary of an MNC is another form. Again,
local HR practices are often based on the parent firm's HR policies, fine-tuned for local
country practices. (LO 17.1-2; Learning Outcome: describe the global HR challenges
related to differences among countries.)
3. What intercountry differences affect HRM? Give several examples of how each
may specifically affect HRM. 1) Cultural Factors – U.S. managers may be most
concerned with getting the job done. Chinese managers may be most concerned with
maintaining a harmonious environment. Hispanic managers may be more concerned
with establishing trusting, friendship relationships. 2) Economic Factors – U.S. economic
systems tend to favor policies that value productivity, while more socialistic countries like
Sweden would favor policies that prevent unemployment. 3) Labor Cost Factors –
Mexican labor costs (low) can allow inefficiencies of labor, while German labor costs
(high) might require a focus on efficiency. 4) Industrial Relations Factors – German law
requires that workers have a vote in setting policies while in Japan the employees do not
have a say, but the government may have a say in establishing policies. 5) The
European Community – The EC will gradually reduce the differences between member
countries. (LO 17.2; AACSB: Reflective Thinking Skills; Learning Outcome: Describe the
global HR challenges related to differences among countries.)
4. You are the HR manager of a firm that is about to send its first employees overseas
to staff a new subsidiary. Your boss, the president, asks you why such
assignments fail, and what you plan to do to avoid such failures. How do you
respond? Estimates say that 20% to 25% of all overseas assignments fail. Reasons
include spouse’s inability to adjust, managers' inability to adjust, other family problems,
and managers' inability to cope with responsibility. We will need to select a manager that
displays adaptability and flexibility, cultural toughness, self-orientation, others-orientation,
perceptual ability, and who has a family with adaptability. (LO 17.1; AACSB: Multicultural
and diversity understanding; Learning Outcome: Describe the global HR challenges
related to differences among countries.)
5. What special training do overseas candidates need? In what ways is such training
similar to and different from traditional diversity training? It is suggested that a fourstep training approach be taken: 1) training focused on the impact of cultural differences
and their impact on business outcomes; 2) training focused on attitudes that are aimed at
getting participants to understand how attitudes (both positive and negative) are formed
and how they influence behavior; 3) training focused on factual knowledge about the
target country; and 4) skill building in areas like language, adjustment, and adaptation
skills. This training is different from traditional diversity training in the last two steps,
which are not normally part of diversity training. In addition, traditional training and
development is needed as with any other manager. (LO 17.4; Learning Outcome:
Describe the global HR challenges related to differences among countries.)
6. How does appraising an expatriate's performance differ from appraising that of a
home-office manager? How would you avoid some of the unique problems of
appraising the expatriate's performance? A major difficulty is: Who actually appraises
the performance? (Cultural differences could affect it.) There are five suggestions: 1)
Stipulate the assignment's difficulty level; 2) Weight the evaluation towards the on-site
manager's appraisal; 3) Have a former expatriate advise the home-site manager in his or
her evaluation; 4) Modify the normal performance criteria to fit the position and
characteristics of the locale; 5) Attempt to give credit for insights, not just measurable
criteria. (LO 17.4; AACSB: Analytic Skills; Learning Outcome: Describe the global HR
challenges related to differences among countries.)
7. As an HR manager, what program would you establish to reduce repatriation
problems of returning expatriates and their families? The programs listed in the
chapter give a good summarization of the types of programs and activities that should be
established to assure a smooth repatriation. (LO 17.5; AACSB: Multicultural and diversity
understanding; Learning Outcome: Describe the global HR challenges related to
differences among countries.)
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