In this report, the various strategies for effective human resources management in Jaguar in the contemporary business environment will be presented. Three areas pertinent to the company are change management; expatriate management as well as managing across culture. In fact, all these areas are not something faced by Jaguar in the current business environment, but instead, they are serious management issues to be handled properly by other companies as well.
To begin, the scenario facing Jaguar will be briefed here. Firstly, in the recent decades, it can be seen that the economic growth and vitality has been shifting from the West to the East. The terms ‘emerging countries’ are even quoted for refer to the four fastest growing economy in the world, namely BRICS (i.e., Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Particularly in China, the economy is growing very fast, and there are many business opportunities that cannot be missed by multinational corporations around the world. Thus, it can be seen that corporations are expanding their business operations to China. To set up new business venture in China, these corporations are required to send their existing experienced and talented staffs to spearhead the business expansion venture. However, as shown in the case in Jaguar, people may resist changes. They may not want to work in China, as they are accustomed to working in UK (i.e., their home). Thus, change management is something to be focused on by the senior management team in Jaguar. Secondly, it is crucial for Jaguar to understand the differences of culture between China and UK, as lacking of accurate understandings on such areas are regarded as the key reason for business failure in China. As such, it is the human resources manager responsibilities to understand that managing or working in different cultural context can be challenging. Proper training, education and development should be provided to expatriate.
Change Management in Jaguar
As shown in the case of Jaguar, workers may resist changes. For example, people may not want to move to work in China as they want to stay back in UK. They may have different reasons for such attitudes, but from the senior management perspective, unable to convince people to embrace changes and move to work in China can be deadly towards the business success of Jaguar. In order to handle such situation, it is important for the manager to understand the reasons causing resistance to changes among the workforce.
There are many literatures discussing on possible reasons employees resist changes. For example, according to Joseph (2010), people may resist changes as they naturally are not motivated to move out from their comfort zone. They prefer to stay in status quo, and if the motivation or the rationales to change is not sufficient to convince them to move forward, they will simply resist any changes. According to the researcher, many of the reasons people resist changes are psychological. For example, they may imagine that changes can be harmful to them, bring more workloads to them, or replace them in the organization, but all these may just purely be psychological imagination of the people. When people associate negative emotions towards changes, they may become fear about changes, and not willing to make a move. However, some of the reasons causing resistance to change may be real. For example, according to Ford & Ford (2009), people may resist changes as the changes demand them to work more (i.e., which may affect their work life balance in the near future), to learn up new skills (i.e., not everyone like the idea of self improvement), to move to new locations, or may simply lost of power due to the changes. When people understand how the changes will affect them negatively in the organization, they are likely to resist changes, to stay relevant, comfortable and secure in workplace. Having to say that, other possible reasons that people may resist changes include: not being engaged in the change process, having no understandings on what is required for changes, not being supported in the change process or fear of losing job security due to the changes (Ford, Ford & D’Amelio, 2008).
There are many techniques on which change can ne planned and executed successfully in workplace today. Firstly, it is important for the senior management to plan seriously on how to carry out the plan process. The timeline, goals and steps by steps approaches towards achievement of the change objectives must be realistic (Gilley, Godek & Gilley, 2009). Not only is that, these objectives must be communicated to the employees. The reasons for the change process must also be informed. Employees at all level should be persuaded to embrace the change process, and to educate on how they may be benefited from the change process. For this, it is particularly important to obtain the buy in from the management level regarding the change process. Secondly, the feedback from the employees must be obtained. This is important as manager must consider the feedback and feelings of the employees seriously. After, change is something emotional. In fact, Ford & Ford (2009) argued that allowing employees to involve or participate in the change process is important strategy. As people spearheaded the change process, they are more likely to buy into the idea of change, as they are allowed to involve in the planning and execution stage. People feel valued, and ownership of the change process itself. Thirdly, the reward system must be changed according to reward desired behaviors. According to Dijk & Dick (2009), reward system can be influential towards shaping employees attitudes and behaviors. In the case of change, new rewards system shall be implemented, so that employees will adjust their behaviors accordingly. Without doing so, people may stick back to the old habits, which are rewarded by the old and outdated reward system. Last but not least, the mindset and expectations of senior management on the change process is very critical. As argued by Huang & Huang (2009), senior management must understand that the change process is a long term process, and patient is required. It can be best performed through a continuous improvement philosophy. Thus, with such expectations, senior manager will not easily give up when they are faced with temporary challenges that seem hard to solve in the near future. They can become more determined and persist despite challenges and as time pass by, the problems will ultimately give way to their change progress.
Expatriate Management in Jaguar
When multinational companies expand to the foreign countries, it is important for the multinational firms to send their very best people to spearhead the expansion. However, as argued by Hogan & Goodson (1990), expatriate management for a multinational firm is nothing easy. For example, there is high failure of expatriates programs because human resources managers under estimate the necessary steps and strategies to successfully manage an expatriates program. One of the reasons for such a high failure rate of expatriates programs are that the expatriate sent to foreign countries are not able to adapt to the different culture. In fact, according to Siljanen & Lamsa (2009), very often, the previous best practices in the parent company may no longer viable in the new workplace, when people simply have different social cultural beliefs of behaviors.
Fortunately, there are many lessons to be learned from expatriate failures. For example, Stening (1994) and Fisher & Hartel (2003) have outlined several lessons to be learned. They argued that it is important to ensure that the expatriate sent must have excellent emotional intelligence as well as interpersonal skills to fit to the local culture. It is repeatedly stressed that being able to handle pressure and stressful situation due to cultural differences in new workplace is important criteria of successful expatriate candidate. Besides it is asserted that sending someone with previous successful expatriation program can be helpful in ensuring success of the expatriate program. Apart from that, Fisher & Hartel (2003) further argued that expatriate willingness to learn new things, to improve own self as well as having a positive mindset is very important traits in selection of possible expatriate candidates.
From another perspective, Ramalu et. al. (2010) argued that it is crucial to support the expatriate for cross cultural adaptation. This can be done by exposing the expatriate under mentors to guide him how to react and work in a particular cultural environment. Before work related tasks are assigned to the expatriate, it is crucial to expose the expatriate to the new culture. Having certain exposure to the new culture will definitely helpful in preparing the expatriate to more ready to handle difficult situations when problems arises. For this, there are many literatures argued that training and development program is the key to expatriate success. The relevant literatures include Caudron (1991); Hogan & Goodson (1990); and Dunbar & Allan (1990). According to these researchers, it is apparent that expatriate must undergo intensive training and educational programs before they are send to work in the foreign country. It is important to provide them the necessary materials on how to behave and manage across culture. They are many subjects to be taught in these expatriate programs. These subjects include the following: communication skills, interpersonal skills, cultural awareness, self awareness, and management across culture, conflicts management, creative problem solving, as well as certain degree of foreign language training. Besides, training may not sufficient, as the performance and the psychological aspects of the expatriates must also be monitored during the expatriation program. From time to time, supports are necessary to reduce the stresses faced by the expatriates.
Managing Across Culture for Jaguar
As in the case of Jaguar, it is very obvious that one issue that will bound to affect the business operations and expansions is due to the cultural differences between China and UK. This issue will not only affect the expatriates sent to the country, but also the strategies of the senior management in expanding the business venture in China. Anyway, it is important that management and the employees aware of the differences between China and UK culture. This is not something new. In fact, researchers such as Martinsons & Ma (2009) are investigating the differences and the cultural tensions between China and UK. It is found that the people behaviors across the two countries can be very different due to differences between Western philosophies to the traditional Chinese culture. Luckily, the research on how the culture of China and UK differ is available in the recent years (due to the rise of China as the new economy power around the world). For example, Li & Putterill (2007) provide comprehensive and useful general views of the Chinese culture, which is definitely useful for the expatriates and the management to learn about before they expand to the nation.
To be able to communicate across culture in effective manager is very important for multinational companies. For example, Matveev & Nelson (2004) asserted that issues arise when there are misunderstandings between communications between people from different cultural background. For example, when certain words or jokes used are regarded as not respecting the beliefs of culture of certain people, people may become defensive and ultimately aggressive between each others. Harvey & Griffith (2002) however asserted that cross cultural communication extend beyond words. It is said that the body languages and the reaction of people can be important in affecting communication across culture. In order to enhance effectiveness of cross cultural communication, it is important to learn up the language of foreign language, as language will point people to understand each other better. Besides, listening to each other is important. It is crucial to listen first, to understand the other perspectives accurately before someone is to make any comment or judgment on the other. Not only is that, understanding the widely used assumptions and daily habits of people in different culture is crucial.
There are also strategies to deal with intercultural conflicts, when they arise. For example, Awang & Roach-Duncan (2010) suggested several ways to deal with conflicts. According to the researchers, it is important for the people working in multicultural workplace to tolerate each others. They are best to taught about the cultural differences between the people, and how to avoid unconsciously offending the others. Whenever conflicts arise, people involve should be fast to apologize. Besides, it is crucial for people to respect each other, so that harmony in workplace can be ensured.
Last but not least, it is also crucial for management to understand that the many Western management theories may not relevant in other cultural context. According to Hofstede (1993), people are basically different, as they have different lifestyle, experience, attitudes, and assumptions, style of thinking, beliefs and environment. Thus, to apply the best management practices in a different culture may no longer be viable. Accordingly, cultures can be different in at least four dimensions, namely: high or low power distance, individuality or collectivism, masculinity or femininity, and high or low uncertainty avoidance. Due to the differences between the cultures, it is important for the manager to adjust the existing best practices to fit the new business situations. The cultural beliefs of people should be considered, and that must be incorporated into the organization management system, policies and practices. Only through such method, the most effective system in the particular culture can be produced.
As a concluding remark, this essay had discussed the many factors to be seriously considered by human resources personnel to ensure successful business expansion to China. In the event of Jaguar expansion to China, the HRM department play a supporting and yet strategies roles to engage the people to work together for business success and performance in the new marketplace. People may resist changes, but it is up to the HRM department to handle their resistance properly. Besides, proper expatriate programs should be formulated and executed. Last but not least, HRM department should also educate the people about cross cultural differences, and incorporate the differences into the formulation of new best practices in business and management of business venture in China.
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