Cultural Diversity and Challenges for Human Resource Management: AStudy of the Indian ManufacturingSector Soumi Rai
Symbiosis Institute of International Business, SIC Campus, Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park, MIDC, Hinjewadi, Pune – 411057, Maharashtra, India ______________________________________________________________________________
„Diversity‟ is today a key word for organizations and leaders alike. This word encompasses within itself a vast reference to all facets of mankind, be it gender, language, culture, race, religion or creed. With shrinking horizons and ever expanding business complexities, this word portrays the face of a twenty first century organization. Studies related to aspects of diversity have been manifold, but most of them have concentrated on the cross-cultural diversity aspect of organizations. This research paper tries to understand a different perspective to the word „Diversity‟, by looking at the effect of culture related diversity on the human resource practices of the Indian manufacturing sector. This research stems from a previous literature review done by the researcher on Human Resources practices of the Indian manufacturing sector, that found lacuna in relation to focus on actually understanding this specific sector. The research shall be concentrating on selected manufacturing organizations, to understand the cultural diversity existing there. It shall further concentrate on understanding the effect such diversity has on human resource practices of the organization, specifically related to broader domains like recruitment & selection, performance appraisal systems, training and development initiatives, career & succession planning issues, leadership development and empowerment.
HRM or human resource management has been widely defined by scholars as a strategic function that encompasses management of its critical human assets for gaining competitive advantage in a dynamic business environment. HRM is the function performed in
organizations that facilitates the most effective use of people to achieve organizational and individual goals (John Ivancevich and Glueck, 1989). The concept that „human resource‟ is a valued asset that can help tide an organization over turbulent waters has been very aptly realized in the recent times of economic turmoil by businesses worldwide. The genesis of this concept however lies with the onset of Behavioral Movement in the early 20 th century when eminent researchers like Mary Parker Follet, Chester Barnard, Elton Mayo and Douglas McGregor realized the most important component of any business – „its manpower or human resources‟ that made the difference towards better efficiency for any organization. Termed the „Human Relations Movement‟, researchers tried to understand how issues like working conditions, workplace relations, job satisfaction, work variations etc could actually impact efficiency levels for an organization. Armstrong (1992) defines HRM as a strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organization‟s most valued assets – the people working there who individually and collectively contribute to the achievement of its objectives. Despite its origin in the United States, HRM has forever remained a topic of debate amongst the academicians and businesses alike. While businesses in the initial years of evolution failed to understand how the concept of HRM differs from the concept of purely Personnel management, academicians had their own schools of thought relating to understanding HRM. (Cakar and Bititci, 2002) through their research demonstrated the levels of inconsistency in the study of HRM with respect to HRM models from a business process perspective. There exists a lot of debate in HRM related literature pertaining to the concepts of hard & soft „HRM‟ (see for example Storey 1989, Legge 1998, Guest 1999, Truss 1999,
Granton et al 1999) and also to an understanding of the strategic role of HRM in a...
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