Assessment Task 3: CASE STUDY ANALYSIS AND RESPONSE
Case Study Analysis and Response
Unlike in the past, globalization has emerged to become more of a reality and a hotly debated topic than it was some several decades ago. As a result of globalization, more companies are extending their operations in several countries all over the world. Therefore, more employees from several countries and different cultural backgrounds are finding themselves working together. However, as there are huge advantages of working abroad in a totally different working environment. Equally, there also happens to be stressful social dynamic challenges that one has to put up with as a result of that transnational business movement.
For instance, in the book “International Human Resource Management,” published by Dowling where the author presents a case, case 8 titled, “Just another move to china? The impact of international assignments on expatriate families.” Dowling presents a case of a bright and professional lady who was both the wife and a mother of two children. Both the parents were seasoned expatriates who had relocated several times from Sydney to Chicago, later to Philadelphia and then later six years down the line they relocated to Singapore.
In Singapore they happen to stay the longest for 12 years having both of their children born and yet they are faced with another challenge of relocating to china in the city of Shanghai. This was as a result of her husband signing of a new deal with his current company to move the family to china for another business opportunity.
However the move to china is met with numerous challenges ranging from losing their permanent residency status in Singapore to in addition to that they would be required by government to deal with various tax related issues first become they were not citizens of Singapore as a result of their departure which would in turn have massive implications with regards to both their existing and forecasted stocks and shares which was more likely that after the two year period their value would only be half the price than it is, and also the hefty taxes they would have to pay .
Lisa finds herself in a confusion of whether it’s the best move to make for her family due to even the change in culture that the kids would experience as a result of shifting from Singapore where they had already attended school for two years to the new schools in china. Finally, Lisa decides to let down all the fears that he has and decides that it’s the best move for the family to make more so as a result of the financial benefits that would result from relocating to work in china. This happened after listening to a convincing conversation over the BBC radio where Ms. Pascoe spoke of her admitting to having raised her four children in four different countries in the Asian continent.
- Socio-cultural challenges
- Economic challenges
- Family related challenges
The problems associated with international mobility are ranging from family related issues, economic issues to social-cultural issues. However, their impacts are inter-related and hence inseparable as depicted in the case in focus here. MacDougal’s is a young family that may have a hard time coping with the change. The problems are transferable to the company’s performance if; firstly, the top management is in that situation and they are psychologically affected and secondly if the large percentage of the workforce is working while undergoing the similar crisis Mok & Wu (2016). From this case, we deduce the problems that come with such movement and their possible impacts.
One of the problems that will set in is Difficulty in coping with the lifestyle where everything is rented since they used to live in their own home. Lisa expresses her fear of the lost freedom on what to put on the walls of a rented house. The home ownership is a comforting strategy for any company to their employees. In case of losing it, the psyche impact cannot be underestimated, not by multinational corporations that are dependent on the psyche as one of the contributing factors for output.
The other articulate issue that the family seems to be experiencing is that they feared how their kids will cope with programs in a new country and more so the way of doing things. The type of school they will find in china will highly determine their kids’ well-being in the new land, as well as dictate their future in the sense that the programs in china might not be offering the music and sports, which was their kids’ interest. The psychological and social well-being, especially of the children is less dependent on their environment, however, if there is a stress or factor its impact on the child will be more than its effect on the adult, Mok (2016).
They had initially moved from Sydney to Chicago and then to Philadelphia then again moved. Keeping on changing environment had in a way, affecting their values and lifestyle just to cope with the new community they came to. However much this may seem to be positive from another angle it may bring in confusion on identity which according to Cohen (2016).
They had to be used in creating and breaking bonds any time they moved, this is not as easy as one would imagine given that the people you are meeting are from different cultural setting and nationality their interaction will involve a lot of misunderstandings and if in any way made smooth it will be as result of compromising for the sake of co-existence .it was difficult putting down established roots, just like Lisa says, this would mean harm to his social life. Such incidences call for counselling and professional advices for one to be able to adjust to the changing conditions, Tran (2016)
On moving to Philadelphia his wife was reduced from a hardworking woman to an in-house spouse. This means loss of income for the family. This if examined from economical angle may need to be addressed by the multinational corporation in question, hence adjust allowances just as welfare to the MacDougal’s. One cannot ignore the impact to the family if the income adjustment is not addressed. However, on the other hand this move will not completely solve the issue given that diligence is part of the Lisa personality and it will be good if they let it be. The big question here is will Lisa cope with this life or will he need much more insightful address to this matter.
A complication associated with relocating may in a way discourage the young couple and hence destabilizing them completely. For example, moving from Singapore as non-citizens required them to settle their taxes first, including taxable income on shares perhaps. Further considerations that this was just a temporary relocation make it sound ordeal to them. This cannot be ignored given its implication as a penalty and that means financial hurt.
The tax system in this country was also incomprehensible and need more time for them to understand it. They could not seek the issue as fast as they would have wished since they needed ample time to be conversant with the system. This would take time. As the time elapsed the tax bill was keeping on adding, given the taxable income was also included. Adding to the economic challenges is the legal position on the existing and future shares to the people moving out of the country. In Singapore, the law requires the existing and future shares to be frozen for the time they are in absentia. The situation is more sensitive given the fact that the shares and stocks cannot be sold. This is because they had to mitigate any financial windfall he might accrue if things happen otherwise. Nobody can predict the future’s value position of the shares and stocks and in case of one relocating for a different country, one needs to critically analyse the previous year’s bearing in mind the estimated period one will be away, Agrawal, Cockburn & McHale (2006). This will be a challenge, given that the value can plummet by half during that period they will in china and hence make a loss.
The company had contributed twenty percent to the family’s wealth. Any economic crisis that will affect the company’s earnings will have a signifact impact on the family’s economic well-being. Thus, the ongoing crisis in Europe and United States has made the move to china an effective and necessary strategy and however much Lachlan’s would have wished to remain in his home, he had to sacrifice the comfort for the better living. This is further pressed by the fact that their impending retirement coming in fifteen years’ time.
Lisa was actually in a dilemma on which course of action to take. Because of either way the negative impact in form of a loss that will be very challenging to recover from or avoid the risk which would mean losing the possible reap that would come out of it. Such matters may need much informed decision and study on the current trends and also professional input, Koropp, Kellermanns, Grichnik, & Stanley (2014).
The family needed more devotion to matters culture to their new community in china this involves time needed to learn and the expenses incurred in looking for this knowledge. Those might not be a good experience especially to the old age who are not easy to handle learning the new language. According to Cohen (2016) the struggle might not be bearable and the couple might give up on the way. Careers which needs one to move around the globe may need extra commitment and more sacrifice Koropp (2016).
For a successful expatriation process, one must consider a number of factors that must be considered. Mostly this will lie under the following aspects.
SOCIAL CULTURAL CHANGES.
To be able to reduce the cultural shock that is most associated with working abroad it is important that the expatriates don’t ignore the simple solutions that might help them cope with the new environment. One of the easiest ways to do that is by gathering all the relevant information they might perceive as important about the new culture that they are going to be integrating with (Strand, Chen, & Pinkston 2016).
This can be done by research done on internet websites about a particular culture or even magazines highlighting those cultures. with this kind of knowledge, they will be able to create a perception of the host nationals which as a result might will help them a great deal adapt easily to the new environment thereby reducing anxieties that result mostly form culture shock. In addition to these, the expatriates should try as much as possible to create ties there by build relationships with the host nationals that will facilitate sharing of cultural knowledge between the expatriates and the host nationals (Strand, Chen, & Pinkston 2016).
According to Strand, Chen and Pinkston, it is also important for the expatriates to undertake in activities that are stress relieving and those that reduce anxieties. Such activates can include undertaking in sports, prayers, meditation all this will help the individual manage the cultural shock in an efficient manner (2016). Global companies that incorporates expatriates should also play an in important role in helping their employees cope with the new environment.
It is important that they offer training relevant to issues related to cultural shock, other than that they should also be at the fore front in the organization of the cross-cultural learning project and conferences with an aim of educating the expatriates on what to expect in their new environment and how to cope with it. Other than this it is of utmost important that these individuals keep an open mind with a positive mindset to avoid a stereotypical thinking about a certain type of culture which might inhibit one from understanding host nationals and their culture.
FAMILY RELATED CHALLENGES.
According to the case study when Lisa moved to Chicago, due to lack of work permit she found herself not working in full time employment for a very long time. it is important that concerned companies come up with work permits arrangement for spouses who have difficulties in obtaining one and also help them be in a position to identify possible job opportunities in their host countries, or better still the company can also make arrangements in absorbing them as well in their professional capacities (Sidani, & Al Ariss, 2014).
This will, in turn, help them feel worthier as they may also help in the finances of the family. Another family relates issue is the issue of third culture kids. This is kids living with their families abroad as a result of working in foreign countries. According to Sidani and Al Ariss, it is also important that the parents gather information on the relevant school that will suite their children both on the socially and for their effective learning process (2014).
Expatriates should take their kids to international schools since such schools characterized by cultural diversity. In addition to the company should also offer support where necessary may in ways of providing a house or even a vehicle. Family support also is very important for the expatriates this will ensure that they have all the emotional support that they require for their successful stay in the foreign countries (Sidani, & Al Ariss, 2014).
In any foreign setup the issue of how to deal with finances may not be that easy. The company should offer certain training on that in regards to the company’s policies that they have put in place and also try to consider the expatriates on as they formulate those policies. Tax related issues and any other expenses or incomes that might be accrued should be fully communicated to the expatriates so that they can familiarize themselves with the new system to avoid inconveniences (Harvey & Beaverstock, 2016).
One of the most notable disputes experienced by expatriates is salary related issues. Companies ought to advise their expatriates on modes of payment available to them. One of such mediums that they can suggest is the utilizing electronic modes of payment. This will most certainly solve problems related to salaries since there are records to support such cases.
The individual companies should also come up with an affordable healthcare for their employees whereby they can offer a medical cover with insurance policies that wholesomely cover the whole family. This will, in turn, motivate the employees and help them become more productive and efficient in their work (Harvey & Beaverstock, 2016).
There are several cultural constructs that are identified that are key in the connection between a successful stay of expatriates and cultural self-awareness. This include.
Hierarchy vs egalitarian, group vs individual, polychronic time orientation vs monochronic time orientation and finally, low context vs high context.
- The selection criteria of the expatriates
- The training and skills related aspects of the expatriates
- The teaching techniques of the expatriates
- The kind of family and social support that the expatriates enjoy
- The kind of support and resulting renumeration and compensation from the
One of the key problem experienced by expatriate’s personnel is their ability for them to adapt to their new environment. this inability thereof contributes to this expatriate having poor performance and low productivity as a result.
Personal factors also hugely the overall productivity of an expatriate in their foreign assignments .it is important that these individuals maintain a positive thinking if they however, want to successfully finish their assignments abroad. Expatriates should be willing to relocate to their new assignments, this is key since it serves as one of the motivators for this worker (Sidani, & Al Ariss, 2014).
Moreover, the individuals should be able to identify the career development that he will experience as a result of the assignment. the individual firms should also have a well-established performance management system which should be in a position to routinely evaluate the performance and progress of the expatriates, issue rewards for assignments well done as well as note downfalls and challenges that are inhibiting the performance of individuals thereby issuing recommendations (Harvey & Beaverstock, 2016).
In order to deal with the social cultural challenges that most of the expatriates experience when working abroad it is prudent that the selection criteria of the individual expatriate be thoughtfully decided. The human resource should select an individual with a skill such as conflict management skill, language skills, decision making skill and also the ability of the expatriate to adjust to critical situations. this kind of skills is very relevant when it comes to the adaptation of workers in a new environment with totally different cultures.
RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE CEO
For the successful expatriation process, the process must include three key stages, first both the firm and the expatriate must prepare for the mission, secondly, the mission should be clearly defined and well known by both the firm and the expatriates and finally there should be an exit strategy or rather the repatriation or return from the mission (Akter, 2018).
Consequently, under the above then the human resource department should be most careful in their selection criteria, training and also their teaching methodologies should also be core, expatriates support both form their relatives, friends and individuals should also be considered and finally the management reward systems that are in place.
However, the most important factor to be considered that the human resource should be thoughtful of when hiring expatriates is the selection criteria to employ and factors to consider when doing those selections. In order for expatriates to cope well, it is prudent that they possess the following skills. Office related skill that may include technical skill, management skill, administrative skill and also have familiarity with the local units (Akter, 2018).
personality skills such as the ability to tolerate ambiguity and uncertainity, self orientation, behavioural and adaptability skills, goal oriented, intuition, open minded, emotional intelligence, language skills, creativity and also cosmopolitan orientation. Motivations such as individual belief in the mission should also be considered amongst, interest in cross-cultural experiences, willingness to learn. family situations such as stable marriage, adaptive spouse and finally language skill (Hossain,2016).
All these traits should be considered when doing the selection of this individuals. The company should, therefore, do a thorough investigation in relation to these traits in addition to the academic qualifications possessed by these expatriates.
LIMITATIONS EXPERIENCED IN THE SELECTION PROCESS
However strict and thoughtful the selection process can be there some limitations to it some of these factors include. The process might be very time to consume and expensive as well, this involves the gathering of information and all other relevant information needed, the advertisement cost and time spent before getting the right candidate for the job.
The other limitation is that the future is always unpredictable sometime the effective planning process might be subject to unforeseen future changes which are a major drawback to the selection process and the whole process of recruitment (Akter, 2018).
To avoid the too many costs that might accrue as a result of the advertisements the company can recruit internally by this it won’t have to have incurred the cost of the heavy advertisement.
To also avoid the problem of unforeseen future trends, recruiting internally is also a very viable option since the individual’s behavior are well known by the organization so their one can be able to predict one behavior in the future (Hossain, 2016).
Other implementations that can be put in place are in regards to the selection process is a psychometric test. Individual and group exercises, case study analysis, formal presentations, role plays, behaviors interview this other selection criteria are going to help the human resource department come up with the best candidate.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
This case is basically on employee and family mobility. It focuses on challenges that families of the employees to the multinational corporations come to experience. The family experiences as they moved from Sydney Chicago Philadelphia and China have many lessons to take from it. MacDougall’s encounters many problems and among them Difficulty in coping with the lifestyle where everything is rented.
Fear of how his kids will cope with programs in a new country and more so the way of doing things. Keeping on changing environment had in a way, affecting their values and lifestyle just to cope with the new community confusion on identity crisis could set in. The young family had to be used in creating and breaking bonds any time they moved, and how to cope with putting down established roots. Lisa could not be able to cope with changing lifestyle in.
A complication associated with relocating, for example moving from Singapore as non-citizens required them to settle their taxes first, including taxable income on shares. Further considerations that this was just a temporary relocation make it sound ordeal to them. The tax system in this country was also incomprehensible and need more time for them to understand it. The other issue, In Singapore the law required the existing and future shares to be frozen for the time they are in absentia.
All those had to be addressed for their impact cannot be ignored. The family needs to be enlightened on the culture of the society they are joining and this means they have to research on it. Further research on the schools for their kids the company (MNC) needs to have projects on training and conferences as well providing medical cover and insurance policies to cater for their future when they will be retiring.
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