Employees are indispensible to an organization. Personnel management, now known as human resource management (HRM), ensures that an organization produces maximum output with the greatest efficiency. The role of HRM covers selecting and hiring the right employee, training and retaining talent, wage dispensation to maintaining employee relations (Nankervis et al, 2011). In this essay, we will be looking into a case study of HRM in Brunei and will cover three topics. Firstly we explore how culture affects the way a country runs its economy, its legal and political system, and how they adapt to technology. Next, we discuss how HRM allows individual employees to acclimatize themselves to technical differences in an organization. Lastly, we will do a comparison of how HRM differs in Brunei as compared to a western country.
Culture (An Overarching Umbrella)
Laurent (1986, p. 92) stated that, ‘every culture has developed through its own history some specific and unique insight into the managing of organization and their human resources.’ Hofstede’s (1984) cultural dimensions theory defines that the values of a society are influenced by their culture, and their belief in those values shapes the behavior of the society. This cultural dimension is most frequently used across culture studies, especially in differentiating Asian and Western cultures (Cho, et al. 1999).
Figure 1: Hofstede’s Software of the Mind (Hofstede, 1984) Dimension| Explanation|
Power Distance| The degree to which the less influential associates of institutions (such as family) and organizations expect and accept the unequal distribution of power.| Collectivist vs. Individualist| The scale of which individuals are incorporated into groups| Masculinity vs. Femininity| Refers to the distribution of roles and values between the genders. The women in feminine countries have the same modest, caring and competitive, like the men. However, in masculine countries, women are more competitive and assertive, but not as much as the men.| Uncertainty Avoidance| A society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity|
Figure 1 identifies the characteristics of the four dimensions (Hofstede, 1984). Brunei regained independence from British rule in January 1, 1984 (Brunei Civil Service, 2007). Bruneian’s are ruled by the Sultan and adopt the National Philosophy called the ‘Malay Islamic Monarchy’ (MIB) where the Malay culture, language, customs and Islam is incorporated as a set of model values. The population in Brunei is estimated at 390,000 and it comprises of Malays, Chinese and Ethnic Minorities with 67 per cent, 15 per cent and 18 per cent respectively (Kramar & Syed, 2012). According to the Country Paper of Brunei Darussalam, the Government Sector employs 12.23 per cent of the entire population (Brunei Civil Service, 2007).
Brunei’s legal and political system is based on both the Islamic law and English Common law. The Sultan takes on the role of the Prime Minister and is the head of government and chief of state (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013). Brunei’s social structure is one of absolute conformity to the Sultan’s authority and challenges made by individuals and organizations are frowned upon (Clarke & Salleh, 2011). Therefore it is evident that power distance is high in Brunei.
Brunei’s economy is heavily dependent on the Oil and Gas sector. Actions have been made to branch out into a variety of non-oil related sectors. In a 2008 estimate by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the labor force is composed of agriculture, industry (oil and gas) and services, with it being 4.2 per cent, 62.8 per cent and 33 per cent respectively (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013).
Local males and females hold different employment structures, with the females being hired excessively in office, cleaning jobs and associated occupations. Males are predominantly hired in top managerial roles, as well as ‘non-office’ middle level jobs,...