Development of Multinational Personnel Selection

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Licensed to the University of Regina for use by Professor Sandra Steen in the course “MBA/GBUS 843 Strategic HR Management," from 01/07/13 to 04/30/13.


Professors Diana E. Krause and Reiner Piske wrote this case solely to provide material for class discussion. The authors do not intend to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a managerial situation. The authors may have disguised certain names and other identifying information to protect confidentiality. Ivey Management Services prohibits any form of reproduction, storage or transmittal without its written permission. Reproduction of this material is not covered under authorization by any reproduction rights organization. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, contact Ivey Publishing, Ivey Management Services, c/o Richard Ivey School of Business, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 3K7; phone (519) 661-3208; fax (519) 661-3882; e-mail Copyright © 2007, Ivey Management Services Version: (A) 2007-12-11

On Monday morning at 8:30 a.m., Dr. Thomas Koch was leaving his luxury condominium on the 28th floor of a building specifically constructed for expatriates and Hong Kong’s wealthier citizens. He was going down to Causeway Bay, towards his office in Hong Kong’s central business district. On the way, Koch listened to the voice mail messages on his cell phone, one of which was from the assistant of the firm’s owner, Peter Koenig. The message stated that Koch was expected to call back before his meeting with the human resources (HR) team that he was leading. The human resources team meeting was scheduled in order to bring together German and Chinese human resource experts to form a crossfunctional project team. In the context of global restructuring, the company, ComInTec AG & Co (ComInTec), had introduced a new regional management level. As a result, 25 middle management positions were expected to be filled in the Asian-Pacific-region (APAC) (e.g. regional head of purchasing, regional head of supply chain management, national chief executive officers (CEOs), national head of finance and accounting, and national head of operations). A new personnel selection system was expected to fill these positions with qualified employees. ComInTec’s own recruitment channels, as well as “head hunters,” would be hired for the recruitment process. The overall responsibility for implementing the new personnel selection process was the responsibility of the project team. According to the company’s inhouse global localization policy, 90 per cent of the new management positions were filled by individuals who originated from the country they would be working in. The affected areas included sales and marketing, purchasing, supply chain management, and finance and accounting, at locations in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jakarta, Melbourne, Sydney and Shanghai. The managers’ annual salary ranges between €40,000 and €150,000, depending on the location. The new personnel selection system for APAC was part of the company’s new objective to standardize all human resource instruments for selection purposes around the globe. This new personnel selection system had to be developed internally.

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For several years now, Koch had been finding faults in the design of the individual assessment centres. According to Koch’s opinion, there was only very limited opportunity to influence possible modifications because the individual assessment centres were conducted by external consulting firms. Additionally, Koch questioned the validity of the information obtained from the centres, as well as the personnel selection system as a whole. ComInTec had little interest in empirically evaluating the validity of the assessment centres and statistically analyzing the outcomes of such personnel selection procedures....
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