international markets and production

Lesson 2: International Markets and Production

Activity 2: International Business and Human Resources

Using ProQuest, the online database on the Ashworth College website, and the Internet, research Geert Hofstede andHofstede’s Dimensions. For this Activity, focus on the following:

1.Power Distance:To what degree does a culture encourage people to think of themselves as equals and to what degree does a culture encourage people to stay within a hierarchical social structure?

2.Individualism vs. Collectivism:To what degree does a culture encourage individualism?Asian cultures tend to be group oriented, while American culture encourages individualism.

3.Masculinity vs. Femininity:Is a culture oriented towards relationships or tasks?This dimension deals with the idea of masculine and feminine influences in the workplace.

4.Uncertainty Avoidance:Does a culture encourage people to take or avoid risk?

Read the following two (2) scenarios and answer the questions at the end of each scenario.You must cite all resources used and include an APA-formatted reference list.Your Activity responses should be both grammatically and mechanically correct, and formatted in the same fashion as the Activity itself.If there is a Part A, your response should identify a Part A, etc.(100 points) (A 4-page response is required for the combination of Parts A and B.)

Part ACountry A

The Problem:A mid-size hotel chain requested the services of a human resources consultant to assist in preparing employees for a merger with a similar company whose headquarters were located in the same country.The organization was very concerned about the type of employee anxiety that typically accompanies mergers and acquisitions. It was quite possible the merger might require some downsizing and change in organizational structure and management styles.

Country Background:Both hotel chains were located in Country A, a relatively small (about the size of the American state of New Jersey), highly industrialized country politically considered to be a “western democracy.”The country is considered to have a very open, friendly attitude towards tourism. The population is, for the most part, socially, racially, and economically homogeneous. The government is stable, the GNP is high, and crime is much lower than in other countries of similar size and economic status. Militarily, the country is pacifistic. Taxes are high, but much government assistance is provided in public education, including graduate school tuition, medicine, disability insurance, retirement benefits, utilities, transportation, and employee rights protection. In fact, all employees are guaranteed a seven-week annual vacation and maternal or paternal leave to all new parents. Professional and non-professional employees typically retire at age 53.Both freedom of expression and the right to private enterprise are considered sacred.

The Consultant:In the first meeting, the consultant was introduced to the organization and its key executives.The consultant began by explaining his background in human resources and his experience in the cost-efficient management of human capital.Suddenly the room went silent, and there was a definite freeze. Realizing his faux pas, the consultant cleared his throat and explained that his “real” emphasis was on assisting organizations to counsel and develop their employees to their fullest potential, especially during times of trauma. He then began talking about issues such as organizational learning.

Answer the following questions considering the above information.

  • How would you describe this country’s culture in terms of Hofstede’s dimensions?Explain why.
  • Why did the consultant change his image and presentation of services?
  • What would you recommend that the consultant do differently?

Part BCountry B

The Problem:A small hotel chain (with no international holdings) recently purchased a new information technology system.Top management wished to computerize all of their hotels’ operations.A consultant was hired to develop a training program to teach its employees how to operate the new computers.

Country Background:The hotel organization is located in Country B, which has been economically categorized as a developing nation.As a former European colony, it is still greatly influenced by its colonial legacy.Tourism is new to this country, and hotels cater to foreigners or to the country’s elite, who pride themselves on appearing European. A large social, cultural, and economic gap exists between this country’s rich and poor. Ninety percent of the country’s wealth is held by 10% of its population.Industry is 75 percent privately owned by a small cartel of leading families. The government is modeled after the European parliamentary system. However, in reality, the government is basically a single party system that has ruled since independence in 1960.While the government claims to be militarily neutral, newspaper editorials are clearly anti-socialist.The GNP is high for the region. Many observers believe that the country’s economic health reflects favorable trade and tax agreements that have encouraged large-scale foreign investors looking for relatively cheap labor markets. Government and company-supported services for the poor are meager and sporadic. The population consists of four key ethnic groups who possess different racial, linguistic, and religious origins. While 40 percent of the population is illegal immigrants, they are ethnically related and protected by their local

extended families.Family bonds are, thus, very important.In most cases, the ties to one’s clan are more important than one’s nationality.Nepotism and favoritism often influence personnel decisions as job descriptions and performance criteria are typically vague.In business and in government, members of the same family always hold positions of trust.

The Consultant:Top company officials politely received the consultant.They spent a lot of time getting to know him on both a professional and personal level.While the consultant was flattered by the attention, he was also frustrated by the length of time needed to establish rapport. Impatiently, the consultant pressured company officials to permit him to present his ideas for a new employee development program. In addition to computer training, the consultant suggested new training in management and team building.He called himself a change agent and encouraged the company to develop a systematic career development and counseling system along with tuition benefits for any employee who wished to further his or her education.Finally, he suggested a full-scale cultural diagnosis to identify the need for culture change within the hotel chain.

Answer the following questions in light of the above information.

  • How would you describe this country’s culture in terms of Hofstede’s dimensions? Explain why.
  • Why did the consultant’s ideas fall on polite, but deaf ears?
  • What would you recommend?

Grading Rubric

Please refer to the rubric on the following page for the grading criteria for this assignment.

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