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Kelly’s Assignment

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1) Explain the clashes in culture, customs and expectations that occurred in this situation. In the first time Kelly meet her subordinate, Kelly exchanged the usual handshake greetings with the westerners, and then bowed to the Japanese; an awkward silence and exchange took place, with the Japanese looking embarrassed. Japanese men are unusual with the Western greeting style. Japanese did not like to do individual presentation, but rather wanted gain consensus among themselves and their contact and present a group presentation. And that is the reason why the first time they failed to do presentation without meet their groups and other contact. Japanese felt confused and offended when their college when the Americans chatted on about their children’s achievement and the Germans talked about their family position since Japanese do not talk about their family affairs to the outsiders. In a business appointment, Kelly planned to get straight down to business, so when the client company’s CEO handed her business card, she put in her pocket without a glance, and did not give him her card. Afterward only she found out that a Japanese businessman use the business card to convey all accomplishment and position without having to say it himself. 3) Turn back to the clock to when Kelly was offered the position in Tokyo.

What, if anything, should have been done differently, and by whom? As for the company, they should have well plan in human resource function such as selection, training, acculturation and evaluation of expatriates. Many company select expatriates only on the basis of their domestic track records and technical expatriates. In this case, Kelly has been selected to do foreign assignment because she had done such a great job in Boston and in recent short assignment in London and Munich. However, Kelly did not speak Japanese and that she knew nothing about Japan. Thus, the prior things to do are to undertake cross-cultural training which includes cultural training, language instruction and familiarity with everyday matters. The suitable method used in relocation cross cultural training includes role play, simulation games, self- reflection and assessment, group discussion and others. The important issues need to be addressed includes brief overview of host country’s cultural values and business approaches, with emphasis on expectations about leadership, negotiation style, conduct of meetings and business writings, even the surprising course and management of culture shock should not be underestimated.

In addition, cultural assimilators expose trainees to the kinds of situation they are likely to encounter that are critical to successful interactions. Language training, sensitivity training and field experiences are also training options. They should provide consultation service, especially for expatriate, by giving advice and assistance whenever needed. In terms of compensation and benefits, the company promise offer Kelly attractive package which included a higher salary, bonuses, a relocation allowances, a rent free apartment in Tokyo, and an education allowance for her two children. However, when they arrived in Tokyo, they discover the apartment is so tiny, given that there are four person need to live in that apartment and they have bring too much personal belongings.

Thus, the balance sheet approach should be used to equalize the standard of living between the home and host country and add some compensation for inconvenience or qualitative loss. The company should provide larger apartment that can accommodate Kelly whole family. Moreover, Kelly and his husband should initiate to do their own pre departure training by searching the information through whatever sources to learn more about Japan, especially in cultural, custom and belief issues. Joe should do the job survey in Tokyo before moving to the place so that he really explores the job opportunities there instead of relying Kelly’s company to request networking in Tokyo. 4) You are Kelly. What should you do now?

If I were Kelly, I will strive to fulfill my responsibility in Tokyo by participate the training course to know more about Japanese culture, what are the things can do and cannot do to facilitate and improve the interpersonal relationship in Tokyo Company. I will try my best to form team spirit with my subordinates, no matter which countries they come from instead of relying my assistant, Peter only, so that my subordinate will know that my passion in work and we have the same goal to hit the target. Instead of back to USA that might loss her job, given that her husband has quit his job too, it is less risky by staying in Tokyo to finish the assignment to support her family financial problem. Moreover, if she able to fulfill this time foreign assignment, her boss may give her more awards, however if she quit, she will loss everything. So it is safer if she continue the assignment in Tokyo.

1. Referring to this chapter 9, evaluate Avon’s Strategic International Human Resources practices in global markets regarding development of a global management cadre, HCN’s and building company associates and independent representatives in host countries. As a multinational company (MNC), Avon had practice polycentric staffing approach in its international human resource management. The polycentric staffing approach is often used with a multinational strategy and fills key positions with host country nationals (HCNs). HCNs are local managers hired to fill key positions in their own country. This approach helps Avon to “act local” and it help Avon’s business process can be practice smoothly in every nation by knowing well local culture and ways to do business. By hiring HCNs, cost of it can be less expensive than using PCNs, and can help stave off problems in sensitive expatriates. Disadvantages of this polycentric approach include difficulty coordinating activities and goals between the subsidiary and parent company. But this had solved by Avon through its global Internet platform.

This global Internet platform can let Avon’s headquarter management transmit the latest goals or coordinate activities within a very short time. Beside this, Avon had build company associates in countries and those independent representatives can attach to the associates, which locate in their area. When come across international management in the workforce, cultural issues always plays an important part. In the Avon’s case, most of representatives are locals. This is to ensure that the sales representatives or their workforce knows well about the local cultures in approaching the potential customers as well as retaining the loyal customers. In hiring female as their workforce, this will ignite a trustworthily relationship of Avon and the customers. Although the world cultures varied today, but still the majorities of the toiletries/cosmetic products are emphasize and targeted the female group. So, when Avon hired the female as their workforce, this will create a well understanding in selling and producing their products. This is because woman will know woman well. Especially for China, the tradition and the cultures of the Asian people is the man and the woman should not have much contact until there are married. So, usually when comes to contact will the opposite gender, Asian people will tend to get shy, this will not benefit the business.

In addition, Avon’s strategic human resources practices in the global market can be seen implemented throughout the whole company. Their HR department plays an important role in this process. Their plan was targeted towards implementing a leadership role, to inject culture and control, and to change management. One of the major strategies taken by Avon to build up their associates and representatives in the host countries was to form leadership’s roles. A leadership role was chosen for the employees to perform, where close partnerships with all departments were required to form strategic teams that are able to direct and cope with the future changes in the market. This strategy targets the District Managers, as they could help the Sales Representatives to get over the impact of proposed changes. It is crucial to identify the emotional needs to ensure the continuity of sales activities done by the employee. Basically, Avon is counting on the leadership capabilities of their District Managers to maintain the ongoing of sales process and to continue to recruit and motivate their Sales Representatives in the host country, as they represent an important part of the firm itself.

Besides, as the company is operating in a global environment, they need to focus on ways to make the representatives understand the corporate culture, and how to control them. The Avon independent representatives need to be controlled for them to increase their performance as well as to cultivate their loyalty. First of all, we can see that culture plays an important role in performance. As the representatives are in charge of sales, they must push sales to increase the company profit. Their attitude will have a direct impact on how they can sell. If they are constantly being pushed and is motivated, of course they will be encouraged to work hard for the organization. This sort of motivation comes from Avon’s way of communicating their values of trust, respect, belief, humility and integrity. These values are important for the employees to be absorbed into the company culture and let them feel that they are really a part of the organization. Lastly, we know that Avon is a large corporation operating worldwide. It is only natural that they implement changes in the organization that employees are going to resist. In order to overcome resistance to change, the stockholders expectations, goals, and motives behind the desired change must be clearly communicated to the employees.

It is for sure that changes will create confusion and fear in the employees, as they do not play the exact same role anymore. They may be required to do more, or simply cut off from their job. What Avon did was to define and communicate on each departmental member’s role and task, so that they understand what they should do and the expectations on them. For example, if certain regions that Avon is in have a high turnover rate, attention should be focused on the representative recruitment and retention in these regions. The employees would know about their effectiveness and they have to make sure they cover up on the gap left behind. If turnover rate is high, time is needed to retain the staff and this affects the company’s operation. 4. Avon’s future global expansion is contingent on hiring and retaining the best workforce and salespeople in the global market. What training and cross-cultural practices would you recommend to the company to deal with this area. From the articles, cultural sensitivity and local hiring will be the necessities for the Avon in dealing will cross-cultural practices. Cultural sensitivity is a concept of knowing and would able to accept the other cultures.

This should avoid the individualism and those people who think they should only follow their own cultures. With the ignition of this concept or practices to the people, this will generate a very quality workforce. Hiring locals would be a best way to avoid mess when comes to cross-cultural practices. In this way, it is not a solution to the cross-cultural communication conflicts, but I see it is a way of prevention of misunderstanding or miscommunication. For the case in training the expatriates, sent the expatriates for overseas assignment would be a good way. With overseas assignment, the expatriate will need to go for oversea branches or subsidiary to accomplish the assignment on hand. This would be a temporary rather than permanent move. This is to expose the expatriate to the new environment and test the level of adaptation and suitability rather than making permanent move that might affect the performance. Last recommendation here will be Overseas Staff Management Training. This training is to develop future management staff overseas by giving them the idea in running the business and doing their jobs base on the headquarter strategies and business practices. Understanding the objectives of the company and business are crucial for the workforce. At the same time, this training is to expose and train the workforces overseas in decision making.

The Interchange Institute (2010), Cross cultural training, Retrieve from http://www.interchangeinstitute.org/html/cross_cultural.htm#methodsrelo

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