Strategic Human resource management Socio Cultural Contexts of IHRM

The IHRM is focuses more on how to select, recruit and retain managers for international operations, rather than focusing on how to manage international employees.

Now, we moved along, “expatriates”. An expatriate is an employee who is working and temporary residing in a foreign country. The fundamental difference between domestic HR and IHRM is that staff are moved across national boundaries, thus expatriates e are born. Hence it is natural in an IHRM subject to focus more on handling these expatriates.

There can be three types of employees in an international firm. Employees from where the firm is headquarted is known as Parent Country Nationals, employees from where the subsidiary is located are known as Host Country Nationals, other country nationals are known as Third Country Nationals.

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Cross-cultural communication

Similarly, among various countries cross-cultural communication is very necessary so that they can understand each other’s through religion ,culture, art , literature, foreign policies ,fiscal polices ,etc. such type of bridges of understanding will help to lessen and minimize the gap between two culture.

Cultural Differences

That culture played a major role in IHRM as it involves understanding and handling a new culture and a new social system. what aspects should an international HR manager should focus on and how he should respond to cultural differences in an international arena. But the topic had lot more to offer than what I initially anticipated.

Individualism vs collectivisms

In a individualistic country people would priorities them self ( USA) where as collectivism country people would priorities group needs.

Uncertainty avoidance

People would try to minimize risk they face in a situation ( avoiding paralysis through analysis ) usually countries with long history and traditions have a high uncertainty avoidance. Countries such as USA well come higher risks.

Masculinity / femininity

Masculine- tough value dominant Eg; success, money, satiates, competition

Feminine- tender values dominant such as personal relationships, care for other’s, quality of life etc. When we take Sri Lanka for a example I think we have feminine culture even though have many masculinity futures. The best example for this is during the tsunami situation whole county get together to help the tsunami victims within ours.

This is an excellent model where you can get a quick idea about something complex as a national culture. we believe this simplicity itself is the major short coming of this model. Hofstede selected a country and gave marks to each dimension, thinking that the culture is static. But we all know that in today’s context culture is anything but static, it changes at a rapid pace, thus a country which was once collectivist could now be individualistic due to many reasons such as economic pressure, government policies etc.

But overall the model is excellent to get a glimpse of what an unknown culture would look like, but we do not believe that you can make sound business decisions based on this model.

Now we had understanding about how to analyze a national culture, and also the importance of culture to employees and international HR managers. It was evident that this should be the starting point of any international HR plan. Decisions should be taken where culture is kept at the center, as the success of implementation will depend on how well international employees accept your plans.


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