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Human Resource Management


In organizational human resource management, managers and human resource personnel are tasked with the job of managing and organizing the people and the processes in the organization for effective performance and favorable outcomes that advance the organization’s bottom line (Bratton and Gold, 2012). This paper is an in-depth evaluation of human resource and the related concepts that underlie the practice based on the case study of an organization. Consideration of the case study will help in the comprehensive understanding of various concepts in human resource that include diversity management and culture, international performance management, training, and development. Through the case study, these aspects of human resource management will be analyzed and evaluated for a better understanding of the positives and the limitations that may arise from the process of managing and organization’s human resources.

The Case Study

Flextronics is a top organization dealing with the provision of Electronics Manufacturing Services. The company has operations in 30 countries in three continents and an estimated workforce comprising of 162, 000 employees. Most of the organization’s manufacturing capacity is situated in low-cost countries like China, India, Brazil and Mexico among others. The company operations encompass seven distinct markets and they include; infrastructure, consumer digital services, computing, medical services, industrial, semiconductor and white goods. The company designs, develops and transport complete and packaged products for their clients in addition to providing after sales support services.

The company’s Central and Eastern operations, which were headquartered in Austria in 2000 encompassed Austria and Hungary with expansion plans to venture into Ukraine. The sites in Austria were made up an experienced personnel with exceptionally functioning processes. However, the recently instituted Hungarian section had start-up difficulties including inadequately experienced personnel, high rates of fluctuation and an unstable market among other aspects that necessitated the need to adjust the capacity of production to the demands of consumers.

In response to the problem, the human resource director pushed for and implemented the establishment of a Flextronics Academy in the area to grow the personnel qualifications. In collaboration with external consultancy, the company additionally developed a program precisely structured to offer a wide range of activities for future line managers and furnish them with human resource management and leadership qualifications. With mixed group of personnel from various countries, cultural hitches materialized. The company instituted different strategies and programs in attempts to align and manage human resources with varying degrees of success.

Organizational HRM, Diversity Management, and Culture

With many organizations and companies embracing globalization and establishing operations in various locations around the world, diversity and culture issues also emerge. As seen in the case of Flextronics, the organization experienced various start up challenges that can be ascribed to a diversity and culture. The company’s newly set up plants in Hungary faced challenges that included insufficient experience of personnel, high rates of fluctuations, and a volatile market. All these problems necessitated a different approach that would make these plants more efficient, functional, and progressive. Such problems present an organization with a unique chance to reflect on their current human resource management practices and evaluate the approaches they may implement in mitigating the challenges. The varied experiences and perceptions arising from a difference in culture constitute diversity. In this way, Shen et al. (2009) notes that it the responsibilities of the human resource management faction to develop, adopt, and implement strategies aimed at resolving diversity and culture problems that arise.

It is important to understand how the dimensions of diversity and culture have an effect on organizational performance, efficiency, and effectiveness in addition to motivation and retention among other factors that are fundamental to the health of an organization. According to Kossek et al. (2006), the management of diversity in human resource management focuses on the planning and implementation of organizational systems, processes, practices, and strategies to manage the workforce in order to maximize on the probable advantages that are uniquely presented through diversity and culture differences. In this way, the human resource faction in diversity and culture management should also seek to minimize any probable disadvantages presented. Stone and Stone-Romero (2012) advance that effective management of diversity and culture gives an organization an advantage at a time when innovativeness and flexibility form the basis of sustainable competitive advantage. In this way, the organization needs to embrace flexibility and adaptability in order to meet the requirements of their consumers.

Understanding Cultural Diversity

There are numerous definitions pertaining to diversity and the management of diversity since it is a complex concept with varying dimensions that may necessitate comprehensive analysis. However, in line with the case study in focus, diversity can be construed as the varying human characteristics and attitudes that make one group of people different from another group. For instance, the Austria workforce in Flextronics differs from the one in the Hungary plants. The two groups have different ways of doing things and different ways of responding to work situations. Tayeb (2005) postulates the opportunities, values, perceptions, and attitudes of employees of the organization, themselves, and others are subject to influence by the fundamental dimension of culture and heritage among other aspects such as race and age.

The case study presents with cultural diversity, which is directed at the interaction between the management, the organization, and employees coming from differing cultures. In this way, Kreitz (2008) simplifies the management of cultural diversity as focused on people from different cultures within a similar social system, which is the Flextronics Company.

Flextronics Diversity management and culture

The various start-up challenges that Flextronics experienced in their newly set up plants in the region can be attributed to cultural diversity in the sense that, the workforce there had insufficient experiences, which can be said to be affiliated to the culture of the region in terms of maybe education and other factors. Other problems such as the high rates of fluctuation are also in line with diversity including the volatile market situation. The new plants set up in Hungary were entering a culturally different region than that present in Austria. It also important to note that the organization was yet to set up a working organizational culture that was in tune with the diverse cultural environment in Austria compared to the Austrian situation where the organization already had set and functioning routines.

In managing diversity and culture, the human resource faction of Flextronics through the actions and directions taken by their executive human resource director demonstrated a capability in managing diversity and culture. The HRM executive director noted the need to develop and implement a different approach and strategy aimed at mitigating the challenges the company experienced in their Hungarian plants. The director’s action of lobbying internally for a Flextronics Academy in the region and implementation of the said academy targeted the entire Central and Eastern European operations. The implementation of the Academy was directed at increasing the qualifications of the organization’s employees in the CEE region. The approach encompassed both technical and soft skills, which was meant to streamline the organization’s employee performances and processes. Additionally, the human resource management of Flextronics collaborated with an external consultancy in developing a program for future line managers, which was especially designed to provide the selected employees with a broad range of capabilities including human resource qualifications and leadership skills.

The efforts in management of diversity and culture by the organization’s HRM presented unique challenges in the sense that, the individuals selected for the high-potential program intended for future line managers of Flextronics consisted of diverse groups of individuals from different countries. With a mixture of people from varying cultural backgrounds, diversity and culture plays a central role (Jabbour and Santos, 2008). In this way, cultural specifics started developing and as such, became vital aspects tied to the long-term success of the program. The various instances of cultural diversity include attitudes, experiences, outcomes, behaviors and performance among others. Participants from the Hungary region were note to have less likelihood of fully completing the program or staying with the organization after the end of the program and were much more willing to leave compared to other participants. This can be construed as an influence of culture and diversity since Stone et al. (2007) observes that such behaviors and attitudes are shaped and molded by culture as mentioned previously in the section of understanding diversity and culture. Diversity and culture as seen in the Flextronics case may also come in the form of communication differences and different learning styles as seen in the Hungarian participants to the program.

International Performance Management, Training, and Development

The proper development, implementation, and execution of a broad performance management system are a vital aspect in the development of employees (Johnson et al., 2006). A performance management system is one of the key responsibilities of human resource management in an organization. In evaluating the performance management training and development aspect of Flextronics, this section will begin by considering the various approaches to the management of personnel especially on an international aspect. This will be followed by looking at the basic functions of HRM in international aspect, which includes development and training and work assessment of employees among other aspects.

Approaches to performance management training and development

According to Aguinis (2009), international organization’s human resource faction in performance management, training, and development can employ a number of approaches. The ethnocentric approach is majorly concerned with staffing and subsidiary personnel. In this approach, the practices of the organization’s parent country prevail and as such, key decisions are made from the headquarters and applied to the international operations of the organization. This means that the human resource management practices of the parent company are observed in the other international operations.

The polycentric approach is whereby human resource management approaches are tailored or customized for the various operations in the different countries where the organizations conducts business. Human resource management practices are done on a local basis in line with the specific region or location.

The geocentric approach to international human resource management is where the practices of human resource management are done on a global capacity. In this way, an organization’s application of a global approach operates in a streamlined manner and as such, the management of personnel is done globally (Collings et al., 2007). This can be said to be the system adopted by Flextronics since it attempts to recruit, train, and develop international line managers from various and diverse countries using an integrated system.

Basic Functions of International HRM

A brief look at the basic functions of international HRM sets the background for the evaluation of performance management, training, and development that is relevant to the Flextronics case study. International human resource management entails various functional capacities and they include; development and training, selection and recruitment, performance evaluation, labor relations and remuneration. Selection and recruitment are concerned with an organization’s process of taking in new personnel, remuneration is concerned with pay issues and benefits, and labor relations focus on management role and employee role in the organization (Herrmann and Herrmann-Nehdi, 2015). This section however will focus on performance evaluation, development, and training.

Performance Evaluation

In international human resource management, organizations often conduct performance evaluation for purposes of administration and development strategies. In administrative capacity, the evaluation of performance is necessary for human resource decisions on aspects such as promotions, terminations, and resolutions concerning work conditions. Developmental strategies as an intention for the evaluation of performance is based on aspects related to the improvement of the job performance of personnel in addition to enhancing employee abilities in relation to training, appropriate training strategies or programs and guiding personnel in regard to workplace behaviors. The evaluation of performance also encompasses strategies such as performance appraisals, which may be conducted routinely by an organization’s HRM and are in line with a standardized criterion of evaluation (Paauwe and Boselie, 2005).

The concept of performance management in regard to evaluation is a challenge to most international organizations such as Flextronics since the evaluation of performance deals with a magnitude of personnel from different countries. Armstrong and Baron (2005) point to the fact that this necessitates consistency across all the various and different operations the company operates in various international locations.

Development and Training

The general objective of development and training in international human resource management is to ensure the provision of sufficiently trained employees in an organization that are competent in fulfilling their objectives in addition to positive contribution to employee’s performance and development as noted by Noe (2010). The faction is also responsible for any specialized training that prepares personnel for specific assignment, development and nurturing of a select group of globally compliant managers with global capabilities applicable to the entire organization regardless of location (Harzing and Pinnington, 2010). Flextronics’ human resource management through the various approaches, strategies and actions demonstrated the responsibility for training and developing employees in their various international operations, provided specialized training for future line managers through the development of the high-potential program and additionally participated in development of select group of global managers for the organization.

The development, creation, and transference of development programs can either be centralized or decentralized. A centralized strategy is where training comes from the headquarters and are then adapted to the different international operations of the organization. A decentralized approach is based on local resources and fitted to the specific cultural background with techniques and materials developed locally (Dowling, 2008). In the management of training and development, the human resource management needs to consider the most effective manner of learning for the participants. As Storey (2007), it is important to note that cultural factors play a significant role in influencing learning practices.

The management of training and development as seen in the Flextronics case denotes a centralized approach to training and development. The implemented Flextronics Academy was aimed at improving or increasing qualifications for the organization’s employees in the entire CEE region which means that the approach was streamlined to cover the different geographical regions and not tailored for the specific Hungarian region. Flextronics also worked with external consultancy in developing a program for future line managers of the organization. Participants consisted of mixed groups from different countries meaning that the approach to training was centralized with no regard to cultural specifics.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Organizational human resource management is concerned with the management of an organization personnel for the best outcomes. The general concept has been demonstrated through and evaluation of the Flextronics case study and the associated human resource management concepts that are relevant to the study. An analysis of the study has afforded a more comprehensive evaluation of concepts that include diversity management and culture and performance management, training and development. Through an analysis of the Flextronics case study, human resource management, diversity, and culture have been noted and evaluated based on the company’s operations in different geographical locations with various challenges associated with diversity an culture emerging. The various approaches employed by the organization’s human resource management have also aided a more detailed understanding of international performance management, training and development. Various aspects of performance management, training and development are present in the case study and as such, an in-depth look at these aspects with the help of scholarly sources help to further understand human resource management.

In this manner, organizations and the human resource management in their development and implementation of strategies need to evaluate the various factors that may hinder their mitigation efforts. For instance, Flextronics should have tested the training programs and evaluated success before implementing and adopting it in the entire organization globally. Considerations need to be given to factors such as role that culture plays, the various attitudes, beliefs and experiences. This may mean for example employing a decentralized approach to training and development where processes are tailored in accordance with local culture of the various locations.

List of References

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Armstrong, M. and Baron, A., 2005. Managing performance: performance management in action. CIPD publishing.

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