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HR Interview About CultureEssay

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Globalization represents a phenomenon that is responsible for many people being exposed to new cultures. In today's global economy, many people often take job opportunities overseas and find themselves in an entirely new culture. Sometimes people can be exposed to culture shock if the culture is too alien to them. This analysis conducts an interview with a HR manager in New Zealand and asks him many questions related to his perceptions of culture. His responses demonstrate the affect that culture can have on an organization and its employees. In fact, his company is actually implementing a cultural training program to help individuals understand each other. Following the transcript, there is a literature review and short discussion related to culture. Understanding differences in cultural preferences and the role they play can help to mitigate any conflicts that might occur out of cultural misunderstandings.

Introduction

Thomas Silva is the HR manager of the organization. The organization is engaged in coal mining operations in New Zealand and Mr. Silva is from New Zealand originally; although he has worked in Australia as well. The company extracts coal from three open cast mines at present and the majority of the coal that is extracted is either exported or sent for thermal power generation. Mr. Silva is in overall in charge of all the human resource related issues of the company. The company employs people from multiple countries that include Indonesia and Australia.

Interview of Mr. Thomas Silva

Question: what is the exact nature of your job?

Answer: My job involves taking care all the human resource related issues of the company. The job involves interviewing new candidates, setting up the entire interview process, recruiting people, managing leaves and holidays, managing salaries, perks and incentives according to company policy, managing conflicts that can arise among the staff and the employees, conveying and explaining company policies and changes in polices to employees from time to time, communicating in a number of easy with the employees about company decisions and taking care of all issues that the company delegates me and my team to handle related to employees.

Question: What is the general mix of employees in the company with respect to nationalities?

Answer: even though our primary operations are based in New Zealand, we employ people from more than one country. For our present projects, the majority of the employees are from New Zealand. However we also have almost a similar number of employees from Australia and Indonesia. There are 50 employees from New Zealand, 20 from Australia and 10 from Indonesia. Apart from this there just a handful are from other countries.

Question: What are the problems that you as a HR manager have to face when interacting with people from another country? Is language the only hindrance to communication?

Answer: No there are a lot of other issues apart from language that I have to encounter while I interact with employees, that I have to do very often and forms my core job responsibility. Such issues are often related to the way people from another country. People from another country react to a situation in ways that are different from what I am used to here. In the initial days of my dealing with employees from another country, I could not understand why people used to react in a different manner. For example, some of the people from Asian countries often got irritated if I asked them about their personal lives and what they do after work. These questions actually help a human resources manager to know an employee and his nature which further helps in framing policies suitable for employees. But I was taken aback by some of the reactions I got from employees of other countries. There is also a considerable difference in the preferences, for example, in recreational choices after work or building up ties and relations with other employees. There were also issues with foreign employees regarding the attitude of some of the colleagues while they were at work. When I inquired into the details of such complaints, I invariably found that they were trivial and often silly matters.

Question: Why do you think employees from foreign countries react in a way that is different to what you are used to?

Answer: from my learning and experience of working with people from other countries, I believe that the cultural difference between people of two countries often is the result of this different behavior. It all depends in the culture and the atmosphere that an individual is brought up in. Such cultures leave a significant influence on an individual and shapes the way that individual reacts and behaves in different situations.

Question: What are the problems that can arise or does arise when people from different cultures work together?

Answers: inability to understand why and how an individual reacts to different situations can lead to misunderstandings which can result in conflicts between individuals. While this is true for people in general, this is widely applicable for co-workers, especially in an organization like ours where there needs to be coordinated work where more than one person does a job. Misunderstandings between colleagues can lead to conflict and create sour relations between them which can hamper the job at hand and ultimately hamper efficiency and output.

Question: what are the steps that you have taken to mitigate this issue or at least reduce it?

Answer: On a personal level, I try and understand the reason behind an employee's reaction and try to understand the cultural reasons behind the action. I also try and do some reading about cultures from other countries to better understand the culture and relate them to the way the employees react. As for the employees themselves, we have designed crash courses on various aspects of foreign culture. At present we are focusing on understanding Indonesian culture and trying to impress the same to the Australian employees. Conversely we are also organizing interactive sessions with the Indonesian employee to make them understand about New Zealand cultures. We promote greater interaction between the employees and have taken up certain programs after work hours to allow the employees to better mingle with each other and understand each other.

THNK YOU FOR YOUR TIME & TAKING MY QUESTIONS

Table

Culture(s)

% of hours in Context during week

Knowledge

Identification

Internalization

Number of Ties

Strength of ties

Time spent in culture

Culture 1

10 (Indonesia)

15

10

10

10

15

10

Culture 2

70 (New Zealand)

70

70

70

70

70

70

Culture 3

20 (Australia)

15

20

20

20

15

20

Analysis

The feelings of confusion and uncertainty that an individual would experience when that individual interacts with or simply comes into contact with a culture that one is not used to is termed as cultural shock.

Cultural shock is a result of things that are done differently in life by a large section of people from what one is used to doing or witnessing and hence such act seem alien or completely unknown to one.

Such feelings resulting from being placed in an environment of an alien culture can be experienced by students who go abroad for studies or professionals who go outside of their known cultural area to work as well as for immigrants and refugees (Aarkrog and Jorgensen, 2008).

Feelings of cultural shock can have several dimensions like feelings of alienation, confusion, surprise, etc. These are felt by an individual when that individual is encounters unfamiliar surroundings or may be a new city that is unknown or a community which that individual has never before encountered. Such feelings can also result from interactions with individuals from another culture and the interpersonal interactions can involve behaviors and values that are different from those engrained by the individual within his/her own culture of the culture that he/she has been brought up in (Bochner, 2003).

When one is encountered with a foreign culture the initial reaction or feelings that are associated include surprise and anxiety after becoming aware of cultural differences which lead to a feeling of uncertainty of how to accomplish tasks in a new environment. Very often it takes time to understand what is appropriate and what is inappropriate in the new culture and till that time these feelings get accentuated. Every culture has its own set of values and behaviors that re expected to be shown by people and deemed to be proper. For an individual in a new culture, there is often a feeling of confusion in the roles and expectations and values as demanded by the culture which leads to feelings of being strained due to the effort required to make necessary psychological adaptations to adapt to the requirements of the new culture. In some situations, a prolongation of these feeling can lead to anger and even hostility towards the new culture or members in the culture. It can also lead to increased criticism and rejection of new culture.

The feelings of a cultural shock assume importance for employees… [END OF PREVIEW]

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