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Strategies And Policies The HR Of The Australian Multinational Organizations
0 Downloads | 14 Pages 3,417 Words | Published Date: 28/07/2017
Aim and Motivation of the Research:
The current business world is undergoing a process of globalization, whereby an organization is no longer keeping itself confined to its native land, but expanding to other regions as well. Keeping this in mind, the role of the organization’s HR is also evolving, to adjust to the needs of a changing culture. Keeping this in mind, the researcher aims to conduct the following research to discover what are the strategies and policies the HR of the Australian multinational organizations, follow for the benefit of their employees as well as for the organizational success. The researcher believes that this research process will help him evaluate the effectiveness of such strategies, and recommend any new strategy for future benefit.
The importance of a Human Resource management in an organization cannot be overstated. The HR of an organization largely contributes to the organizational success, by not only recruiting the employees, and chalking out the obligations of an employee to an organization, but he is also responsible for upgrading the employee skills so that he can serve the company more efficiently in future. However, in the present world of globalization, most of the reputed organizations are no longer remaining confined to their local and regional boundaries, but are expanding their markets across the globe. While on the one hand, this global business strategy implies larger brand recognition and greater number of consumers, on the other hand, it implies larger diversity in workforce (Collings , 2014). In such a global business situation, the role of the HR however, becomes more challenging as he has to ensure a sense of co-ordination and harmony in a culturally as well as linguistically diverse workplace.
The research objectives are as follows:
- To investigate the kinds of business strategies adopted by the HR of the Australian MNCs
- To know more about the HR policies used by the HR of the Australian companies, especially for the expatriates
- To discover the advantages and the disadvantages of the HR policies
- To have an insightful knowledge into the present policies and to evaluate them for recommendation of further strategies in future
Over the last few years, much research has been done on the ideal role of an HR, and what are the desirable qualities that should be present in him. The HR policies of various organizations, in various countries have also been the center of discussion among many critics and scholars. However, in the present research, the researcher intends to examine the role of an HR in managing business success, against the background of internationalization of business scenario. The researcher has also found out that there is a huge lack of research study being conducted on the importance of internationalization of HR management, in the context of Australia. Hence, here, the researcher aims to do a study on the topic of Internationalization of Human Resource Management, with special reference to Australia.
Going global is not an easy thing for any organization. This is chiefly because, globalization does not simply mean setting up sub-divisions in various corners of the world. It necessarily implies an effective decision making process, to choose which employees are going to accomplish the immediate goals of the organization abroad. Going abroad, does not merely imply high qualification of great professional experience. But it does require great interpersonal as well as intrapersonal communication skills, an insightful knowledge about the cultural traits of the citizens of the foreign country, and greater adaptability to a culture, rather alien to the employees. As a result, the HR needs to use his discretion while choosing the right employee, who can represent the company abroad, and yet fulfill the mission he is sent for.
An organization doing business globally does not merely expand the market and set up outlets in different corners of the world; in order to retain its position and ensure success in future, an organization must introduce the idea of cultural diversity in workplace. However, with the introduction of cultural diversity, arises the problem of managing the employees in the organization, who are coming from different cultural communities, and as such possessing different systems of belief and ideas (Thite et al., 2012). The HR of the company must ensure that not only they maintain the workplace diversity, by hiring people from various ethnic backgrounds and cultural communities, but also impose stringent policies that prevent the possibility of employee conflict over culturally sensitive issues. Bain & Company, Woolworths, are some of the recognized Australian companies, which have exhibited incredible rate of cultural diversity in workplace, and have provided equal opportunity to both the expatriates as well as the local workers, to polish their technical and professional skills (Rao et al., 2014).
According to Briscoe, when a country is expanding its market by extending itself beyond the horizon, it has to send a huge number of professionally experienced employees overseas. Now, the primary task of the Australian HR team is to identify the skills and potentialities necessary among the employees, for going abroad. Further, the expatriates who are going abroad to work for their home country organizations, are never going to agree to the same condition, unless being provided with a lucrative offer (Hendry , 2012). Briscoe points out that the whole act of sending expatriates to the foreign country, proves to be highly expensive for the company. This is primarily because, an expatriate has to be provided twice or thrice the sum of money and other benefits, he would have received in his home country. In fact, it should not come as a surprise, that the large organizations sometimes end up spending more on an expatriate than its CEO, and the yearly expenditure for the expatriate can sum up to as much as $3, 00,000 to $1 Million (Thomas et al., 2013).
According to Black and Gregerson, a research was conducted on the Australian expatriates who went to work in the foreign sub-division of the companies and the result of the research was terrible. It was discovered that around 10 to 20 % of the managers, who were sent abroad, for the sake of international assignments, came back to Australia, simply because of their discontent or discomfort arising out of working in a multi-cultural workplace (De Paul et al., 2015. Furthermore, the research suggested that one-third of the expatriates coming back to Australia, complained about encountering trouble in adjusting themselves with people of different cultural identities. The research has also suggested that this problem has arisen chiefly because, most of the multinational companies located in Australia do not train their expatriates and their spouse or families, linguistically and culturally, before sending them to a particular country. Gregerson points out that it is not sufficient to provide high pay scale to the expatriates, but for the successful implementation of the business plans, it is highly important to provide training to the employees, so that they do not face any sort of barrier in interpersonal communication skills abroad (Chen et al., 2015).
Again, a research was conducted by Janet Chew, who claimed that only 11 % of the HR of the Australian companies, have any sort of knowledge about the challenges in working in a global workplace. Most of the HRs in Australia, the research suggests, have themselves not worked abroad, and as such they are completely ignorant of the professional challenges arising out of the international assignments. However, there are also many organizations in Australia, which have highly experienced HR team, to formulate and implement effective expatriate management policies (Tarique et al., 2015). Telstra, Wesfarmers, Amcor, are only to name a few of the multinational companies of Australia, which have successfully accomplished their international assignment, by providing adequate training to the selected expatriates, and by discreetly selecting only those employees, who are possessors of cross-cultural abilities. The HR of organizations such as Telstra, does not merely send the expatriates abroad for the accomplishment of an immediate business goal, but also exploits the knowledge and skills gained by these expatriates, for sharing with the local employees, so that new, innovative ideas can be formed (Bratton & Gold, 2012).
The HR of the Australian organizations, are working effectively towards creating a diverse workplace, where the various employees, are working with greater harmony, for the sake of organizational success. For instance, Woolworths, the largest grocery retail chain of the country, provides training to its employees, to improve their morale, and to increase their adaptability in a culturally diverse workplace. Since, the diverse workplace helps a company increase its brand value and revenue, through the exchange of thoughts and ideas, among the employees, the HR of many Australian organizations, are also seeking help from organizations like, Communicaid, for providing cultural training to the employees (D’Netto et al., 2014). Windham International and the National Foreign Trade Council conducted a survey which showed that majority of the Australian assignments failed abroad due to the lack of adjustment of the expatriates and their spouses with the foreign countries. To avoid the possibility of poor job performance of the expatriates abroad, due to their job dissatisfaction, and cultural incompatibility, the HR of large Australian organizations, are now providing inter-cultural training. Further, the HR policy of Australian organizations, have also sent one or two employees to a foreign country, for a tenure of three to four years. After he has returned, the employee has been asked to carry consecutive training programs, for making the suitable expatriates, aware of the cultural base of the country he visited (Stone et al., 2013).
Since, the HR is concerned with the overall well-being of the employees, he needs to formulate necessary policies within the organization, so that the expatriates who are going from Australia do not get involved in any form of dispute or conflict, owing to socio-cultural differences. The HR of the Australian organizations, are now using ethical guidebooks, the handout of each being distributed to the employees, to keep them aware of the ethical codes of conduct and the policies of the organization. They are also organizing activities which promote interaction and interpersonal communication among the employees. Above all, many the Australian organizations, are sending at least one expatriate manager, along with the chosen expatriates, to enable smooth operation in a foreign country (Kulik et al., 2013).
It has been discovered that although many literary articles and journals have vividly discussed about the HR policies adopted by the MNCs of various countries, there has been lesser focus on the companies of Australia. Further, there has been not much discussion on the fact, that what are the strategies that need to be adopted, for the internationalization of business, and what are the probable impediments for the same.
The research questions for the following proposal are as follows:
- What are the HR management strategies, which are formulated and employed by the large multinational organizations?
- What are the HR policies, which are adopted by the Australian organizations for the benefit of the expatriates?
- What are the advantages as well as the disadvantages of the HR policies of adopted by the Australian companies?
- What are the HR strategies that can be recommended to the Australian organizations which consist of expatriates in their workforce ? (Ulrich , 2013)
The researcher, in order to conduct the research successfully, must have a well-organized methodology in mind, which will help the researcher to put his efforts towards a particular direction, as to how is he going to collect the data, or what research philosophy is he going to employ. The researcher of this particular research project, is going to employ the Interpretivism research philosophy, whereby he will hold interview sessions, with the personnel directors and the Human resource executives of the chosen Australian organizations. Since, the researcher intends to investigate about the prevalent HR policies of the Australian organizations, with special reference to those being applied for the expatriates, the use of Positivist research philosophy with its statistical analysis of data, is of no value. The use of Interpretivism research philosophy, will help in the generation of primary data, that will be helpful to the researcher for understanding more about the HR policies of Australia (Bryman & Bell , 2015).
Further, the researcher can use either qualitative or quantitative research method. The qualitative research method is a method that focuses more on the exploration of knowledge, as to how and why a thing is happening, while the quantitative method, seeks to concentrate more on the statistical data for recording facts. The researcher here, will be employing the qualitative method of research, as here the researcher will be able to do an in-depth study of the whole matter, with the help of interviews and group discussions. The research process of the researcher is mainly directed towards exploring more about the HR policies of Australian multi-national companies, and the advantages or drawbacks of the same, and as such, any form of numerical data is useless. For the sake of qualitative method of research, the researcher has already gone through several related literary articles and journals, and intends to further study the public and official documents of the concerned companies to get an idea about the research topic. This method is much easier and a cost-intensive method of research, but this will require more time and patience on part of the researcher (Taylor et al., 2015).
In order to carry out the research method, the researcher needs to collect the data, and the source of the data can be of two types:
- Primary data, which consists of collecting information through first hand means, by organizing surveys, interviews, etc
Figure 1: Sources of Primary Data
(Source: Matthews et al., 2014)
- Secondary data, which consists of collecting the data with the help of secondary sources, such as different journals and organizational websites, etc.
Figure 2: Sources of Secondary Data
( Source: Matthews et al., 2014)
Here, the researcher will chiefly employ the primary source of data collection method. As a result, the researcher will conduct interview and thereby engage in discussion with the head of the management committee and the HR executives of the chosen organizations. Further, the researcher here will employ the descriptive data research method, whereby he will hold interviews and interactive sessions with the employees of the selected organizations, for the purpose of observation.
Since the researcher has opted for the qualitative method of research, he will be conducting personal and face-to-face interviews with the HRs and the expatriates of the Australian companies, who have returned to Australia, after serving in the overseas branch of the Australian multinational companies. This may prove a little inconvenient for the researcher, as he will not be able to complete the research interview, just by distributing the questionnaires in the selected organizations, but he will need to attend the interview sessions in person. But since this will be a very time consuming process, as all the respondents may not be available on one day and at a particular time, the researcher may also conduct the telephonic interviews. This will provide greater chance to the researchers to reach out to the respondents at any time, and also to save time and money in the process (Tesch et al., 2013).
The researcher will conduct the research on 10 Australian organizations, and the sampling method to be adopted for this research, is Stratified Sampling method. Under this method, the researcher will select the respondents on two conditions- (i) the respondent has to work in an Australian MNC, and (ii) the respondent has to be either the HR or an expatriate with an experience of working abroad in a foreign country. The size of the sample will be 20. The researcher will be able to analyze the collected data, through the discussion with the expatriates and the HR executives. The discussion and different rounds of interaction, will update the researcher about the current HR policies, the advantages enjoyed as well as the drawbacks faced by the organizations, as a result of the same (Levy et al., 2013).
The researcher expects that after the successful completion of the research process, the researcher will be able to collect information about the desirable qualities and the functions of an HR, against the background of an international business scenario. The researcher will attain knowledge, as to how far, the current HR policies of the Australian organizations, are working towards the issues of workforce diversity as well as cultural sensitiveness.
Contribution of the Research:
The research will be an effective and useful one, as it will help the business organizations understand the importance of investing money on the right and most deserving employees. Further, it will also make the authority of the organizations get an idea of the various important criteria that have to be fulfilled before sending an employee overseas. The research throws much light on the responsibility of connecting the needs of the company with the provision of suitable training to its employees, before sending him overseas.
The researcher, while conducting the research will remain aware of the ethical obligations, and as such he will ensure that before conducting the research, he will inform the respondents about the purpose and objectives of the research. Further, he will not ask any question, which will violate the privacy of any specific organization, and he will ensure that the research process is being carried out based on his independent efforts, and no instance of plagiarism can be found I his work (Ritchie et al., 2013).
In the present era of globalization, most of the organizations are expanding themselves, by setting up their branches all across the globe. But for the successful operation of the business activities overseas, the Human Resource executives of the organizations, must ensure that the employees are trained and equipped sufficiently to interact with the co-employees and consumers abroad. Hence, the researcher through this research aims to investigate as well as evaluate the HR policies undertaken by the Australian organizations, as part of the international business strategy (McGraw et al., 2013).
Bratton, J., & Gold, J. (2012). Human resource management: theory and practice. Palgrave Macmillan.
Bryman, A., & Bell, E. (2015). Business research methods. Oxford University Press, USA.
Chen, A. S. Y. (2015). CQ at work and the impact of intercultural training: An empirical test among foreign laborers. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 47, 101-112.
Collings, D.G., 2014. Integrating global mobility and global talent management: Exploring the challenges and strategic opportunities. Journal of World Business, 49(2), pp.253-261.
De Paul, N. F., & Bikos, L. H. (2015). Perceived organizational support: A meaningful contributor to expatriate development professionals’ psychological well-being. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 49, 25-32.
D'Netto, B., Shen, J., Chelliah, J., & Monga, M. (2014). Human resource diversity management practices in the Australian manufacturing sector. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 25(9), 1243-1266.
Hendry, C. (2012). Human resource management. Routledge.
Kulik, C. T. (2014). Working below and above the line: The research–practice gap in diversity management. Human Resource Management Journal, 24(2), 129-144.
Levy, P. S., & Lemeshow, S. (2013). Sampling of populations: methods and applications. John Wiley & Sons.
Matthews, B., & Ross, L. (2014). Research methods. Pearson Higher Ed.
McGraw, P. (2014). A Review of Human Resource Development Trends and Practices in Australia: Multinationals, Locals, and Responses to Economic Turbulence. Advances in developing human resources, 1523422313509572.
Rao, T. V. (2014). HRD audit: evaluating the human resource function for business improvement. SAGE Publications India.
Ritchie, J., Lewis, J., Nicholls, C. M., & Ormston, R. (Eds.). (2013).Qualitative research practice: A guide for social science students and researchers. Sage.
Stone, R. J. (2013). Managing human resources. John Wiley and Sons.
Tarique, I., Briscoe, D.R. and Schuler, R.S., 2015. International Human Resource Management: Policies and Practices for Multinational Enterprises. Routledge.
Taylor, S. J., Bogdan, R., & DeVault, M. (2015). Introduction to qualitative research methods: A guidebook and resource. John Wiley & Sons.
Tesch, R. (2013). Qualitative research: Analysis types and software. Routledge.
Thite, M., Wilkinson, A., & Shah, D. (2012). Internationalization and HRM strategies across subsidiaries in multinational corporations from emerging economies—A conceptual framework. Journal of World Business, 47(2), 251-258.
Thomas, D. C., & Lazarova, M. B. (2013). Essentials of international human resource management: Managing people globally. SAGE Publications.
Ulrich, D. (2013). Human resource champions: The next agenda for adding value and delivering results. Harvard Business Press.
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