Term Paper: Human Resources Domestic and International

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[. . .] When a company expands, it usually does so in steps (Adler, 1990). First, it expands to countries most like its own, before moving to a market further removed from its cultural paradigm. Such moves have a significant impact on recruitment and staff planning, as well as training and development.

According to Adler (1990) for example, foreign interaction patterns should be readily understood before management can ensure that the correct employee is chosen for a branch of the company based in a foreign country. Furthermore, training and development should be handled in a way that is acceptable to the foreign worker in order to be successful. Training and development at the home base will then also involve training people to be able to handle international business strategy, with a full understanding of every foreign culture that is dealt with (Adler, 1990). This could even involve implementing a foreign language course for liaison personnel.

An increasing number of businesses are realizing the importance of expanding globally, especially with technology such as the Internet becoming so prominent. Even as early as the 1980's, companies such as Eastman Kodak Company changed its structure and strategy according to this need. One international division was then expanded to seventeen global lines of business (Adler, 1990).

Training and development for Eastman Kodak then had to be changed to incorporate their new global strategy. Additional recruitments, both locally and internationally needed to be implemented through a highly organized HR division. The global workplace influences every decision of a company that has global operations as opposed to merely a domestic company.

Another example of such a company is Honda UK (Huber, 2003). The company's plan to expand a software project to Vietnam was driven by several elements, including the low cost of labor in combination with the strong IT skills displayed by Vietnamese workers. The expansion to this country then involved a major staff training and personnel system. This is part of Honda's aim of 12,000 annual man-days of technical and commercial training provided for its staff every year (Huber, 2003).

Honda's system is managed from its basis in the UK, while the actual software development and testing would be carried out in Vietnam. The reason for the choice of Vietnam over India for example is an economic one. According to Huber, development costs in Vietnam may amount to as little as 65% of what it is in the UK. Thus the motivation to move offshore software projects to this country is high. Indeed, Huber mentions that a number of UK companies are following this trend, including the supermarket chain Somerfield. Predictions for 2003 European offshore outsourcing market suggested a growth of 40%.

Obviously here foreign interpersonal skills are of the essence in order to make a success of the program. A favorable economic outlook is not enough. The global company model mentioned above is then an example of the necessity for cultural sensitivity in these offshoring practices. A deep understanding of the Vietnamese cultural paradigm is important in order to provide sufficient recruitment, development and training in that country. Also, in the recruitment phase, an in-depth knowledge of the cultural workings will be an asset when deciding on suitable local persons to fill jobs.

At the UK division of Honda it is then also important to provide sufficient training for expatriate personnel who will work in Vietnam to liaise between the foreign marketplace and the company at home.

The global model can then be applied to companies offshoring their software in this way. Decision-making is centralized and operates from the company's UK base. Foreign relations are important both inside and outside of the company. The least cost for the necessary quality is the main motivation for the choice of offshoring location, as software is primarily bought for its proven quality.

Cross-cultural management and communication occur on a high management level, with alliances and ventures negotiated by senior executives (Adler, 1990). This makes cultural issues very important, as local people in Vietnam are recruited and trained not only for the low-level positions, but also as managers and supervisors. Liaisons with these people will then result in a multicultural situation both in the foreign location and locally.

Decisions such as those by Honda and Kodak are made firstly from an economic point-of-view. The economic reasoning behind this is sound. It is however also important to recognize that HR policies need to be adjusted according to the needs of the foreign worker, just as they are adjusted to meet the needs of the changing workforce. It is thus important to thoroughly research all cultural issues, as well as other issues that might affect the economy. Such issues include politics and changing cultural paradigms.

When a business is fairly large, it is almost impossible to imagine that it would not move some of its assets offshore. With technology such as the Internet, globalization has enjoyed significant progress. Online communication makes it easier for HR departments to research, train and develop their offshore liaisons.

All elements of HR should therefore be taken into account when offshoring products or services.


Adler, Nancy J. (1990). "Globalization and Human Resource Management: Strategic International Human Resource Development" Faculty of Management Mcgill University, April 20. http://www.cic.sfu.ca/forum/adler.html

Baumann, M.A. (2003). "Training, rewards help convince workers to stay." Hotel & Motel Management, December 8. Internet Database: Findarticles.com

Bentley, Ross. (2002). "Barriers to flexible working." Computer Weekly, May 30. Internet Database: Findarticles.com.

Berta, Dina (2003). "Human resources: offering more to obtain, retain the best workers: Emphasis on leadership development, team building and diversity" Nation's Restaurant News, August 18. Internet Database: Findarticles.com

Goodwin, Bill (2002). "UK employers welcome combined degrees in finance and computing." Computer Weekly, August 15. Internet Database: Findarticles.com

Huber, Nick (2003). "Honda UK is to develop a major software project in Vietnam." Computer Weekly, May 13. Internet Database: Findarticles.com.

Government report highlights the need to value human capital." (2003). Financial Adviser, November 20. Internet Database: Findarticles.com

Greer, Charles R. (2001). Strategic Human Resource Management. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.

HR self-service to be implemented in most UK companies soon, shows survey." (2003). Telecom Worldwire. November 24. Internet Database: Findarticles.com.

Holbeche, Linda. (1999). Aligning Human resources and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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