Case Analysis: Morningstar Communications and Technologies
Morningstar Communications and Technologies (MCT) is a multinational organization, dealing in the manufacture and distribution of various small office equipment in more than seventy countries. India is one of the markets where MCT set up operations since the 1980s. However, production only began recently, thereby prompting the need for a managing director for the country’s operations. At the moment, India’s managing director, Mark Hopkins, has announced his resignation and plans are underway to identify a replacement.
The management has nominated a committee to oversee the entire process, and they have nominated six candidates from the different organs of the organization. The report outlines the legal and cultural considerations the committee must put in place to identify the right candidate. In addition, the six candidates have been discussed in detail, clearly outlining their strengths and weaknesses in line with the position at hand. These include work experience, educational background, personal attributes and social/ cultural backgrounds.
Finally, the recommendations of the committee on the preferred candidate have been discussed and the reasons behind the preference. In order to support the new managing director assume their new role effectively, the committee has also made recommendations for the management to consider.
Morningstar Communications and Technologies (MCT) is a global manufacturer and distributor of diverse small office equipment. These include copying machines, paper shredders, laser printers and dictation units among others. While production is only done in nine states over the world, sales and distribution is reported to be in more than seventy states, an indication of product superiority.
India is one of the countries where MCT has been selling and servicing its products since the 1980s, despite the fact that there lacked the presence of a production unit in the country. At the onset, the products were introduced through the hiring of independent importers. The high sales volumes created the need for setting up own operations and this saw the opening of the first Indian sales office in New Delhi, in 1992. Since then, sales levels have grown tremendously alongside the Indian IT sector.
The economic growth has been experienced through the entire Indian economy, with some seeing the country as being the globe’s next big industrial power. As a result, many multinationals have introduced operations, while the existing ones continue to increase their local productions. This has been done through series of acquisitions and new investments. MCT, in line with this, started putting up a factory in India’s Bengaluru for its production of entry level to high end laser printers beginning in 2012. The tens of skilled production workers shall report to the on-site factory director, who shall then report to MCT’s U.S. headquarters on production and quality- control matters. The US headquarters shall then report to MCT India’s managing director in New Delhi on issues relating to accounts, labor relations, finance as well logistics. In turn, the MCT India managing director finally reports to the US based Asian Regional Office.
Currently, the MCT India managing director seeks a replacement after an announcement by the current managing director, Mark Hopkins, of his wish to retire. This report shall discuss the key issues in the selection decision and the ultimate recommendations by the selection committee.
Key Issues in the Selection Decision
Legal and Cultural Considerations for the Selection Process
The organization has a preference for internal promotions for the purposes of filling top executive vacancies. It is the company policy that international experience be a major consideration in the selection of executive leaders. With this in mind, it is crucial to reflect on legal and cultural considerations owing to diverse legal frameworks and cultural backgrounds amongst the different countries of operation (Reuvid, 2006).
Equality Acts exist in the legal frameworks of various countries. Aspects covered include advertising and recruitment, training, employment terms and conditions, promotions as well as dismissal (Roberts, 1997). The process of interviewing the candidates is subjected to a number of laws that have been designed to protect the candidates, ensuring a fair shot in the process. In addition to this, the laws forbid interviewers from asking questions that are termed as discriminatory. These grounds on which these grounds are based include age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, race and family status (O’Meara, 2013).
The fact that MTC is a global enterprise only means that there is the possibility of bringing in foreign employees in India. From the list of six candidates provided by the Asian Regional Office, only two are Indian citizens, and therefore, there is a high chance that the individual to be picked for the job is a foreigner. Federal immigration regulations usually require that a person acquires a work permit and the appropriate status of immigration (Brown, 2012). This is an issue that the management should consider. However, bearing in mind that the organization has been operating internationally for a significant amount of time, this should not be a big issue (Winfield, Bishop & Porter, 2004).
Bearing in mind that the organization that the appointments for the managing director position are internal, there may not be lots of legal considerations including advertisements, interviews and job postings. However, cultural considerations are critical, especially owing to the fact that Indians are an extremely socially sensitive. In India, it is critical that individuals be of sound social standing. One of the issues that are greatly considered by such social communities includes marital status, family status and religious backgrounds. This can be evidenced in the manner in which the community values marriage and family life to the extent of booking spouses for their unborn children, or at very early ages (Catano, 2009).
All steps in the process of recruitment and selection have the potential to illegally discriminate against some of the candidates. State laws as well as guidelines avail the fundamental anti-discriminatory framework. The most crucial legislation applying to recruitment and selection procedures are the Fair Employment Acts and Civil Rights Acts (Ingram et.al. 2015).
It is commonplace in India to find business partners hosting dinners at other social gatherings at their private residences with family. This creates strong business and personal bonds that are hard to break. With this in mind, it is crucial that the committee settle on an individual with a social standing that is acceptable to the community. An individual with a family would be preferable in this case (Brown, 2012).
In addition to social cultural background, the issue of language, lifestyle and ease of blending in should be considered. This is due to the fact that there may be need to communicate to the locals, blend with them during their massive festivities as well as appreciate their cultural lifestyles. For this reason, it would be crucial for the committee to consider an individual that is conversant with the lifestyles, outlooks, language and politics. This will make it easier to make decisions based on the working environment (Porter, Smith & Fagg).
The Strengths and Weaknesses of Candidates
The preferred candidates for the position of managing director for MCT India have already been identified. The Asian Regional Office pinpointed a committee, charging the team with the responsibility of identifying suitable candidates for the position. This is due to the fact that the management has a preference for filling of executive positions with persons from within the organization. Usually, this has the advantage of loyalty towards the organization as well as presenting individuals who have grown within the firm the opportunity for further growth as they lead it towards greater heights. Internal promotions also ensure that top executives are well acquainted with the fundamental principles, operations and culture of the organization. The nominee candidates are Tom Wallace, Brett Harrison, Atasi Das, Ravi Desai, Jalan Bukit Seng and Saumitra Chakraborty.
Tom Wallace is a thirty year MCT veteran with a wealth of experience in the sales and technical aspects of the organization. During his tenure, he has travelled far and wide as he toured the organization’s overseas operations despite the fact that his work experience has only been centered within the United States market. Wallace’s strengths lie mainly in his work experience over the years, especially in the fact that his sales and technical skills are superior. This means that he will be in a position to increase the company’s market share by ensuring that more clients are reached, and also by ensuring that the organization retains its existing customers. Gaining additional clientele, while losing out the current market is of zero consequence to the organization. Sales are the heart of a company and are responsible for generating all the revenue that runs an organization. MCT is a fundamentally technical organization. This is due to the fact that its core business is the manufacture and distribution of equipment. Manufacturing is a technical job, for which Wallace possesses a wealth of experience. In this regard, Wallace is well equipped to handle the core business of the organization.
In addition to the above, India is a largely social community whose people value family life. A family man is considered responsible and focused. Business deals are struck in homes over dinner, tea and other social gatherings. In this regard, Wallace has an advantage because he has a family and is a well settled family man with children.
On the downside, Wallace lacks the experience of working outside of his home country. Despite having the wish to work as an expatriate, he has not had the opportunity to experience working overseas. This may place him at a disadvantage against other candidates with prior overseas experience, especially owing to the fact that the management sets international experience as a crucial facet for executive leadership. Additionally, offering Wallace the position may not yield optimal results in terms of performance, since he has less than five years to his retirement. In this regard, it would be more beneficial for a younger person to be picked.
Brett Harrison has been at MCT for fifteen years, where he has been running line activities and carrying out supervisory duties. The strengths associated with Harrison could stem from the fact that he is considered a highly competent individual in his duties, a factor that would make him suitable for a highly demanding job like the one in question. Also, he has been in the Asian Regional Office therefore is conversant with the Asian way of doing business. The fact that he is conversant with India thanks to his numerous trips to the country gives him an advantage because it will be easy to blend into the country. However, this may be challenged by the fact that his family may not move to the country immediately with him, a fact that could be considered necessary in a country like India. All in all, being a family man is critical enough for him in his new position.
Atasi Das is an American of Indian origin, thirty seven years of age. She has been at MCT for 12 years where she has successfully scaled the ladder to her current position of being second in command in a group half the size of the Indian operation. She is an excellent worker and it would be safe to state that she has a wealth of experience with staffing matters. However, this could be a weakness for her because heading the Indian unit will involve much more than staff issues. There are sales departments, technical departments, accounting departments and logistics, all of which she lacks adequate experience in. She also lacks international exposure which is a critical facet for the top executive position that she has been nominated for. In this regard, she may not be the ideal candidate compared to her fellow nominees.
Ravi Desai is a thirty-three year old Indian national, currently holding the position of managing director in the wider Asian operation. He has been at MCT for ten years and is currently charged with overseeing production and sales in Malaysia, China and Singapore markets. Desai is a young executive holding an MBA from an Indian institution. His strengths in comparison to other nominees are the fact that he hails from India, is conversant with the local language as well as English, and his possession of experience in production and sales. His operational experience is crucial too due to the fact that it exposes an individual to the fundamentals. Owing to his age, it is obvious that Desai is an excellent worker, a fact that has seen him rise to great heights fast. On the downside, Desai’s major weakness is the fact that he lacks international work experience since he has only worked in Southeast Asian markets.
At 38, Jalan Bukit Seng is the current managing director of the firm’s assembly point in Malaysia. He is an excellent worker judging from his performance reviews, despite the fact that he has only worked in Singapore and Malaysia. This could be a deterrent to his attaining the position of India’s managing director since he lacks international exposure. The fact that he is still unmarried could pose a problem, since he will be working in India, an extremely family oriented country.
Saumitra Chakraborty is the youngest nominee of the lot. At 31 years of age, he is the assistant to the outgoing Indian MD, a position he has held for four years. His operational skills, customer relationship management skills and sales skills since joining the organization have been exceptional. He is a shrewd business person who has increased the company’s sales levels in India since coming on board. Chakraborty is fluent in the languages of the local people, thereby making it easy for him to blend in and carry on business smoothly. However, his weaknesses lie in the fact that he lacks direct line experience which may affect his management skills. In addition, his shrewd business may not fit his position as a managing director. Such social skills are more appropriate for a sales executive.
Tom Wallace’s challenges of inadequate global exposure and short tenure at the organization prior to retirement may somewhat appear difficult to minimize. This is due to the fact that his international work experience is nonexistent, despite being a critical facet for the position at hand. In regards to his nearing retirement, he may not be well equipped for a totally new environment with lots of responsibilities. For this reason, it is more suitable to acquire a younger individual with a much longer future at the firm.
Brett Harrison also lacks the global work experience required for top executive positions. However, this could be minimized by the fact that he is a competent worker, as well as the fact that he has travelled massively. India, especially, seems to be his favorite destination where he has become accustomed to the lifestyle, politics, geography, customs as well as outlook. His family is also acquainted with numerous American expatriates in Bengaluru.
Atasi Das’s work experience at the firm constitutes her biggest weakness. She lacks international business experience while her operational experience is not adequate. However, this could be minimized by focusing on her strategic planning skills. Her interest in international responsibilities could also be used to her advantage, as well as the fact that she is of Indian origin, with relatives in the country.
Ravi Desai, the 33 year old Indian citizen lacks international experience, especially in the Western World. However, this could be minimized by the fact that the vacant position is in his home country. In addition, China is currently considered a super power, and therefore, any experience gathered there is not much different from that in the western nations.
Jalan Bulit Seng and Saumitra Chakraborty are both highly experienced and competent individuals. Jalan’s weakness is the fact that he only worked in Singapore and Malaysia. This could be minimized by the fact that he is focused, and therefore, able to achieve set goals. Saumitra is young and lacks the necessary experience and skills to head a large corporation. As stated earlier, he would be better at heading a sales department due to his shrewd ways of forming friendships and alliances with prominent families and government.
Conclusions and Recommendations
After much deliberation on all the candidates and consideration of pertinent factors, the committee settled on Brett Harrison as the most preferred candidate. The decision came after much discussion where work experience, education background and personal attributes were put into consideration. Harrison is a middle aged individual of 40 years, married and with two children. As such he is settled in life, and his concentration in his work is paramount. Younger unmarried men could spend a chunk of their time and energy concentrating on settling down and starting families, while older men could be too exhausted to yield much. In addition to this, he is a competent worker with fifteen years experience at the company. Despite his lack of extensive international work experience, he is extremely conversant with the Indian political, cultural and geographical aspects. This, coupled with his work experience at MCT provides the right atmosphere for his operations.
In order to offer appropriate support to Harrison, the committee recommends for travel allowance for his family. Currently, his wife works for a different organization that does not have operations in India. For this reason, she and their children may not be in a position to move to India with him. In a bid to minimize on the separation, financial and time travel allowances should be allocated. In addition to this, Harrison should be exposed to other global operations for the mere reason of exposing him to how things work outside of the Southeast-Asian operations.
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