January 18, 2010

INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT FOCUSING ON EMPLOYEE AND ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT FOCUSING ON EMPLOYEE AND ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

 

Introduction

The effective management of employees and the organisation as whole is increasingly being recognized as a major determinant of success or failure in international business (Tung, 1984), in practice many organizations are still coming to terms with the issues associated with international operations (Dowling, 1986). In the international arena, the quality of management seems to be even more critical than in domestic operations (Tung, 1984). This is primarily because the nature of international business operations involves the complexities of operating in different countries and employing different national categories of workers (Morgan, 1986). Yet, while it is recognized that organisational problems become more complex in the international arena, there is evidence to suggest that many companies underestimate the complexities involved in international operations. The field of international organisation, however, is only slowly developing as a field of academic study and has been described by one authority as being in the infancy stage (Laurent, 1986).

Although the importance of cultural awareness aspects has been emphasized by earlier writers (Cleland, 1988) and the effective management of cultural diversity has received attention in recent years (Cox and Blake, 1991), to our best knowledge, there is still a lack of systematic and scientific studies on how these issues can be attributed as a major determinant for the success of international business performance.

Primarily, the main goal of this proposed dissertation is to determine how international business managed corporate culture as they enter the global market. Further, this will also attempt how changes in terms of cultural aspects affect the management of an international organisation. In this research proposal, the background of the study; the objectives of the study and the research statements of the problem are formulated. Here, vital concepts, questions and assumptions are stated. Finally, overview of the methodology to be used and the significance of the research are discussed. Further, this paper will include the discussion of relevant literature.

 

Objective of the Study

            The dissertation aims to determine how international business managed corporate culture and how the cultural changes encountered by the organisation affect the industry.  In addition, this study will also review related literatures to have some insights on how international organisation managed their corporate culture with regards to geographical distribution and organizational structure. The study also aims to provide insightful details regarding this issue to help different organisation who will expand their business in international environment.

 

Research Questions

            Many organisations and industries that expand in international market have been facing serious complexities in terms of adjusting and managing their corporate culture. Hence, this study intends to determine how international expansion affects corporate culture. Specifically, the study attempts to answer the following queries.

1.      How different organisations apply change management in the company as the business expands internationally?

2.      Does change management affect the organisational or corporate culture?

3.      How international organisations managed their corporate culture amidst the geographical distribution of the organizational structure?

4.      Does corporate culture affects business performance?

 

Literature Review

      Culture is an important factor in understanding organisation, because for any organisation to operate effectively it must for some extent have a general set of believe and assumptions. Because understanding the term of the culture metaphor helps organisations to be aware of how employees are thinking about the organisation phenomena, and to recognize how different attitudes, value and beliefs affect the workplace. Understanding and assessing the national culture and organization's culture can mean the difference between success and failure in today's fast changing organisational environment. Cultural assessment can provide measurable data about the real organizational values and norms that can be used to get management's attention. Though, it can be said that the basic assumption, values and norms drive practices and behaviours. Hence when a culture is created it becomes a driving force for the shape and scope of the organisation.

The framework for national culture has been developed by researcher Hofstede (1980). While the respective merits and drawback of different framework are widely discussed, the Hofstede basic module of culture can be seen as a helpful framework to illustrate the major issues that need to be considered in change process.

Culture environment is one of the important principles that influence the organisation.  Hofstede (1991) identifies that there are four dimensions that differentiate cultures at a national level (power distance, individualism-collectivism, masculinity-femininity, uncertainty avoidance), which help to understand that people arrive to organizations with their own national culture. Therefore, it is only necessary to understand the relation between organisation itself and its culture. For that reason Hall (1976) identifies two classifications of culture that have an impact on business activity, the "High Context Culture" and the "low context culture".  The high context cultures have a very high prevailing homogenous view on nationality, religious values and beliefs (Hall, 1976). Such culture can be found in Japan and Arab countries; the context of communication is more valued such as body language and gestures.  However in the low context culture, communication context is more of formal written records, such culture can be found in the UK and USA.

According to Barbeschi (2002), the process of making an organization is simultaneously the growth and maintenance of relationships among individuals who are working towards a common goal and the actual accomplishment of tasks, individually and collectively. In any organization, there exist two dimensions (Barbeschi, 2002). The technical dimension includes elements that are generally visible but hard to decipher like the control systems (recruitment mechanisms, administrative rules and procedures, etc.), structures (departments and divisions and physical facilities), and techniques and procedures (performance, working methods). The cultural/political dimension is more intangible and strategic in nature. This dimension explains the assumption about the essence of the Secretariat's culture. It includes rituals and myths, symbols and games. Due to the common behavior, an internal integration within the organization is developed. In a sense, all cultural learning reflects the original values of individuals and their sense of what ought to be as distinct from what is. 

            Thomas (1991) provides a working definition that goes beyond valuing differences: Managing diversity is a comprehensive managerial process for developing an environment that works for all employees." This definition has two key features. First, "managing diversity" is a "comprehensive managerial process." It is not enough to provide diversity training in an organisation and pat ourselves on the back for raising the level of awareness. Managing diversity implies an ongoing, system-wide process that will tap the potential of all employees. It implies growth and development on the part of the organisation and its people -- movement on both sides.  Second, this definition specifies "developing an environment that works for all people." In order to develop this environment that works for all people, we are going to have to change corporate cultures. Thomas (1991) provides an action plan for developing cultural changes in corporations. According to Thomas, we expect people to assimilate into the corporate culture. Today, employees are reluctant to assimilate and are more likely to want to maintain their uniqueness. As a result, we will have to create a culture that both values and manages diversity.

The vast majority of cultural diversity initiatives in the U.S. focus exclusively on valuing differences. Instead, Fine argues, the dominant corporate culture must be transformed into a multicultural organisation.  Fine defines a multicultural  organisation as an organisation that: values, encourages, and affirms  diverse cultural modes of being and interacting, creates an organizational dialogue in which no one cultural perspective is presumed to be more valid than other perspectives and empowers all cultural voices to participate fully in setting goals and making decisions (Fine 1995).

Changing corporate culture and systems to accommodate the diversity of employees involves strategic initiatives that are designed to break down barriers that prevent all people from contributing to their fullest potential. Accordingly, corporate diversity initiatives that are "intentionally planned, targeted against business objectives, long-term oriented, and involve the entire organisation. 

Another study of corporate diversity initiatives by Morrison (1992) is based on interviews with over 200 managers in 16 U.S. companies. The research describes the barriers that prevent women and minorities from advancing as well as the processes that facilitate their movement through the ranks. Recruitment, development, and accountability strategies that foster an appreciation for diversity and allow organizations to achieve measurable results are labelled "best practices." One of the practices Morrison (1992) cites is the use of internal advocacy groups as a means for building commitment to diversity and monitoring the corporation's diversity practices. Advocacy groups were found in 10 of the 16 companies examined in the Morrison study. While the roles and power of these groups vary within corporations, Morrison (1992) acknowledges that much of their negotiating power comes from the information they receive about personnel administration (personnel profiles, promotions, pay records, and advanced notice of personnel policies). According to Morrison, some executives communicate this information in order to share responsibility for identifying diversity problems and developing solutions.

 

Overview of Methodology

This dissertation intends to determine how corporate culture is being managed in an international organisation.  For this study descriptive method of research will be used to gather information about the present existing condition.  The purpose of employing this method is to describe the nature of a situation, as it exists at the time of the study and to explore the cause/s of particular phenomena. The researcher opted to use this kind of research considering the desire of the researcher to obtain relevant data so as to formulate rational and sound conclusions and recommendations for the study.

 

Research Design

The research described in this document is based solely on qualitative research methods. This permits a flexible and iterative approach. During data gathering the choice and design of methods are constantly modified, based on ongoing analysis. This allows investigation of important new issues and questions as they arise, and allows the investigators to drop unproductive areas of research from the original research plan.

During data gathering the choice and design of methods are constantly modified, based on ongoing analysis. This allows investigation of important new issues and questions as they arise, and allows the investigators to drop unproductive areas of research from the original research plan. Qualitative models are more able than traditional models to express states of incomplete knowledge about continuous mechanisms (Benjamin, 1994). Qualitative simulation guarantees to find all possible behaviors consistent with the knowledge in the model. This expressive power and coverage are important in problem solving for diagnosis, design, monitoring, and explanation.

Qualitative evaluation data usually refers to raw, descriptive information about: programs/products and the people who participate in/use them or are affected by them and; programs/products and the people who develop or use them (Patton, 1987). Three data gathering strategies typically characterize qualitative methodology: in-depth, open-ended interviews; direct observation; and written documents (including program records, personal diaries, logs, etc.).

 

Data Gathering

The primary source of data will come from published articles journals and magazines, theses and related studies regarding international management of corporate culture. The pertinent data will solely come from international management journals which discuss effect of corporate culture to organisational performance and management. Moreover, the sources of data came from published articles in corporate culture journals, information via internet resources, articles, and books relating management strategy of international business to cope with cultural changes. For this research design, the researcher gathered data, collated published studies from different local and foreign universities and articles from business and management journals; and made a content analysis of the collected documentary and verbal material.  Afterwards, the researcher summarized all the information, made a conclusion based on the objectives posited and provided insightful recommendations on the management of corporate culture in international organisation.

 

Secondary Data Used

Accordingly, finding relevant secondary data involves two interlinked stages. The first stage is identifying whether or not the data that a researcher looks for are available as secondary data, while the second stage is finding the precise data that is needed for the study. (Saunders et al, 2003). For this study, the researcher was able to establish that the pertinent data needed for the fulfilment of this research's objectives are available through the literature review previously conducted. Because of the review, the researcher will be able to gather full references to the sources of the needed data. Tertiary literature (like indexes and data archive catalogues) also helped especially those on-line indexes and catalogues of Universities, organisations and corporate governance. After determining the availability of the data, the next step for the researcher was to locate them. In this manner, the researcher will find several libraries within the researcher's area of vicinity in order to locate the books, journals and magazines that are needed. But more importantly, the researcher will use the Internet, as it will not be feasible for the researcher to travel to different nations to find an international organisation, as well as the large budget needed for such travel. Through the Internet, the researcher will be able to gather the websites of numerous organisations and institutions that have provided the pertinent secondary data needed.

 

Proposed Analysis

After the data have been gathered, the researcher will try to determine the most suitable data needed for analysis and to attain the research questions.  Further, the data will be analysed using qualitative technique of data analysis.

 

Time Table

PROPOSED TIMETABLE

 

TASK

Week

 

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

9th

Select topic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Undertake preliminary literature search

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Define research questions
  • Write-up aims and objectives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Select appropriate methodology and locate sources of information. Confirm access.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Write-up Dissertation Plan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Undertake and write-up draft critical literature review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secondary and Primary Data Detailed

  • Sources
  • Consulted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research Findings:

  • Analysed
  • Evaluated
  • Written-up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discussion:

  • Research findings evaluated and discussed in relation to the literature review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Methodology written-up

(including limitations and constraints)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Main body of the report written-up and checked for logical structure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Conclusions drawn
  • Recommendations made

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction and Executive Summary written-up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final format and indexing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Print

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference

Barbeschi, M. (2002). Organizational culture of the OPCW Secretariat Disarmament Forum, Vol. 4, United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, Geneva.

 

Benjamin K. 1994 Qualitative Reasoning: Modelling and Simulation with     Incomplete Knowledge. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

 

Cleland, D.I. 1988, "The Cultural Ambience of the Matrix Organization." In D.I. Cleland and W.R. King, eds., Project Management Handbook. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, pp. 981-989.

 

Cox, T.H., and Blake, S. 1991, "Managing Cultural Diversity: Implication for Organizational Competitiveness." Academy of Management Executive, 5(3), pp. 45-56.

 

Dowling, P.J. 1986, Human Resource Issues in International Business. Syracuse Journal of International Law and Commerce, 13, 2 (1986): 255-271.

 

Fine, M.G. 1995, Building successful multicultural organizations. Westport, CT: Quorum Books.

Hofstede, G. 1980. Culture's Consequences. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

 

Hofstede, G 1991. Culture and Organization. Software of the mind. New York: McGraw-Hall Book Company

 

Laurent, A. (1986) The Cross-Cultural Puzzle of International Human Resource Management. Human Resource Management, 25: 91-102.

 

Morgan, P.V. 1986 International Human Resource Management: Fact or Fiction. Personnel Administrator, 31, 9: 43-47.

 

Morrison, A., 1992. The New Leaders' Guidelines on Leadership Diversity in America. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

 

Morrison, E. W., & Herlihy, J. M. 1992. Becoming the best place to work: Managing diversity at American Express Travel Related Services.

 

Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. 2003. Research Methods for           Business Students, 3rd Ed. London: Prentice Hall Financial Times.

 

 

Thomas, RR Jr., 1991. Beyond race and gender. New York: American Management Association.

 

Tung, R.L. 1984, Strategic Management of Human Resources in the Multinational Enterprise. Human Resource Management, 23: 129-143

 


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