In the Current Economy Why Do National Variations in Human Resource Management Offer Particular Advantages or Disadvantages?

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In the current economy why do national variations in Human Resource Management offer particular advantages or disadvantages? Considering the current globalised economy companies have to deal with national variations in Human Resources Management to work effectively. That matter offers particular advantages and disadvantages. The current global economy is based on a free trade market and most of the time obeys to a capitalist model of doing business. Exchanges of goods, capital, knowledges and human resources are now established on a worldwide level. In the same time national variations in human resources management are observable and relevant when we focus on the culture of a country. Indeed national variations can have different nature as work environment, laws and national culture and these criteria influence Human Resources Management abroad. This essay will analyse the influences of national variations in human resources management and the consequences. Firstly, we will discuss the reasons for what national variations influence Human Resources Management. Then we will focus on the general advantages and disadvantages offered by national variations. Human Resources Management in a company is influenced by two main criteria which are the the business strategy of the company and the environment. National variations appear when we focus on the company environment. The nature of the influences of national variations on Human Resources Management can be multiple. Indeed, the environment gathers national culture, political system, national laws, markets and technology. That means that the work environment and especially Human Resources Management have to deal with these criteria as national culture. The US has a particular national culture in his work environment which is based on individualism, masculinity, low uncertainty avoidance, a medium power distance and a short-term orientation (Hofstede, 1983). These criteria have affected professional relationships and the way of thinking in the US. Considering HRM, human resources practices have been influenced by that national culture in some extent. On the other side the culture of European countries like Sweden for example is based on individualism, femininity, a lower uncertainty avoidance and a low power distance (Hofstede, 1983). The difference in national values between Europe and the US can explain the differences in human resources practices in order to fit with the values of the employees. The Chinese culture is based on collectivism, masculinity, a low uncertainty avoidance, high power distance and a long term orientation (Hofstede, 1983). The Chinese culture is also strongly attached to the Confucianism which Cardiff Metropolitan University ● IBM 3, BSP 6061 ● st20011935, Valentin Fortea-Vicente ● Nov 21st 2011 1

wants to reach a social harmony with strong familial and collectivist values. The cultural differences between countries explain the adaptation of Human Resources Management to each countries, the aim of HRM is to fit in the best way to employees and reach economical objectives in the same time. Easterby-Smithy, Malina and Yuan (1995, p.55) said "HRM appears in an extent to vary as a result of culture or context". They highlighted some examples as the fact that (1995, p.55) "The main differences in HRM between the two countries (China/UK), therefore, appear in the 'softer' areas where relationships are important: appraisal, reward systems, the process of assessing potential and the basic stance of unions towards management". These differences can be linked to the main cultural aspect of the Chinese culture which is the Confucianism and the collectivism. Indeed, HR practices have to deal in the first place with relationships which means that they have to ensure the well-being of employees. Chinese values prevent the use of HRM and HR practices which place relationships on the second plan. This point is relevant of the dependence of HRM to national values and...
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