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Role of Human Resources Manager In The Expansion of International Business

Mohammad Mosaddek Hussain

There are a major development in the role and function of Human Resource Management in the multinational and foreign companies working in own countries as well as different countries. At the same time the role of managers who are posted or deputed in other countries has been changing in line with the countries, economic trend, socio-political situations, desires of people and attitude towards the products of foreign countries. To raise the profit and expanding of business are also major challenges for the companies and employees posted in another countries. As it was shown that the employees are the principal agents to cope with the situation of another countries to attain the  business goal of their own companies as a whole.
Similarly the dimension of Human Resources work may not have high influence in some businesses throughout the world. On the other hand, some business posseses a lot of influence among the consumers and economies in other countries.  In terms of this, some organizations that spreads  world wide business activities, needs to be staffed properly  but with some different  terms and conditions of employment. This is where the importance of international human resource management and the role of international human resource manager arise. International human resource manager must be responsible for framing new Human resources policies and strategies that gets in line with the location’s socio political, economic, ethical and religious issues for which managers need to posses both explicit and tacit knowledge about the existing situation.
The development, growth and significance in International Human Resource Management originates from the augment of globalization. This  growth can be focused very obviously over the past half century. This term explains the propagation of international business relations, foreign direct speculation, worldwide mergers and acquisitions trends, quicker and affordable transport and swift technological development in many countries. Amalgamation of markets multi-nationally was involved by globalization and the involvement was done on a regional level as well which is enthused by the rise of potential and authoritative markets in china, India and Eastern and Central Europe as a whole.
Besides, multinational companies are yet other visible manifestations of globalization. As companies expand domestically to a certain level they then try and expand their business in other countries. To achieve the business goal of the companies these steps are to be considered before launching of finding international markets. So, due importance should be given on these points:
1.      Identify the actual role of  HR Manager to be posted in other countries.
2.      To collect full information for the chosen geographical area.
3.      To discuss the role of IHRM in relation to company’s global involvement.
4.      Analyze the skill of competence of the HR personnel
5.      Provide adequate training for handling personnel competently.
6.      Devise skill and competence evaluation process of the personnel
7.      Collect information from similar business organizations
8.      Depute Experts of this field, if necessary
9.      Orient personnel properly to be posted other countries

To describe the International HRM we should go through the similar reports, journals and practice manuals of different MNCs, thus  it can be grasped and be defined as ‘the set of distinct activities, functions and processes that are directed at attracting and maintaining an MNC’s human resources of different tiers. As a result,  It  would be the aggregate of the various HRM operation methods, personnel direction systems used to manage people in the MNC, both at home and overseas.’ as  viewed by Taylor, Beechler and Napier, 1996, pg: 960.
Studies show that we can see various models that best explain the International Human Resource Management. These models have been put forward to illustrate how the HR function is configured and stratified for different kinds of organizations. In this event, the Schuler et al. (1993) model explains us the integrative framework of international HRM process. This is a conceptual framework that tried to record HRM activity to the diverse strategic requirements for integration and local responsiveness. Schuler et al. (1993) defines strategic international HRM as ‘Human Resource Management issues, functions, policies, practices that result from the strategic activities of multinational enterprises and that impact the international concerns and goals of the enterprise as a whole.’
“International Human Resource Management may also be referred to as a scrupulous type of devolution activity and maintaining HR role as per need of different situations and countries. Besides, while an organization wants to spread its international activities in various out country locations, the organization definitely attribute the degree of decentralization as deemed fit, but internationalization is not just a form of decentralization but have different considerations before it’s processes start . This is actually the most complex forms of the same and involves different types of language, culture, economic and political systems, legislative frameworks, management styles, conventions and diversification that stay within those national boundaries.”  as Torrington, Hall and Taylor, 2005, pg: 695 expressed in their research.
On the other hand,   an another model as  proposed by Perlmutter (1969) was purely network based in real sense that illustrating the globalization of companies gradually. His model was initially implemented in the international human resource management features rather than the international business field.
On the other hand, Kobrin (1994) ‘identified the different issues of HR management process such as training, recruiting, selecting people and resources as the prime reason for which the  international human resource theorists adopt the Perlmutter’s model widely in their programmes.’ Perlmutter (1969) initially defined three organizational types based on management’s mindsets. They are ethnocentric, polycentric and geocentric organizations. Later he came with the fourth type of organization which is called the regiocentric organization.
“THE ETHNOCENTRIC MINDSET reflects a spotlight on home country values and methods of operating. The consequence is the key positions are filled by the parent country nationals which give them a high degree of direct control over the subsidiaries.
THE POLYCENTRIC MINDSET focuses on host country values and methods of operating. The key positions are filled by local employees and the parent company is less interested in homogenizing the organizational culture.
THE GEOCENTRIC MINDSET focuses on global operation methods and values. These values are not nationally specific but transcend national boundaries and become almost multi-cultural. This approach involves best people for the job and the selection is done from all over the global organization.
THE REGIOCENTRIC MINDSET recognizes regional operational methods and values. The organization is normally structured along regional geographic lines (e.g.: Europe, America, Asia Pacific Rim) and employees are transferred within these regions allowing certain degree of integration and recognizing regional diversity.” Perlmutter (1969).

ROLE OF INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER

The primary role of the human resources manager of a company that is expanding internationally for the first time is to formulate new HR strategies and policies based on the organization’s business policy and with the consideration of the new country. They must keep in mind the issues in the geographical location where the company is going to spread their business. Those issues may be of different types starting from political issues, labor issues, religious issues, diversity issues and issues of organizational culture and attitude of the consumers to be targetted.
Therefor, the other significant  role would be the transfer of knowledge and skill to achieve the goal of the organization. ‘Knowledge is defined in terms of its explicit and tacit qualities’ as Nonaka and Takeuchi, stated (1995). In this connection, Polyani (1962) highlighted that ‘tacit knowledge is the one that can be articulated and explicit knowledge is something that cannot be articulated.’ Both these knowledge has different methods of acquisition and accumulation purposes. Moreover, Lam (2000) argues ‘that explicit knowledge is mostly generated through reckoning and inference and can be acquired through learning, training reading and listening and tacit knowledge is acquired through exposure in different environments, face to face communications. Close interaction plays a critical role in diffusion of this knowledge and skill is attained through practical learning and doing the work through continuous practice.’
Considering the above discussion and arguments of the experts, it id inferred that it is mandatory for an international human resources manager to attain both explicit and tacit knowledge and practical skill in all respects. Explicit knowledge will help the manager in framing international HR policies and strategies based on organizational objectives and method of operation. This can also be addressed to as the internal factors in international expansion. Where as the external factors include the political issues, the opportunities and threats which they might experience. This requires the manager to posses’ abundant tacit knowledge which is acquired through experience.

Regarding the roles we can consider the work of Tregaskis, Glover and Ferner (2005). They examined the role of international HR roles in  different Multi-national companies and outlined the role of the HR manager. These include
“1. Global policy development.
2. Global HR policy accomplishment.
3. Best practice conception and allocation.
4. Utilization of the distributed HR expertise.
5. Creating buy-in to policy initiatives.
6. Information Exchange.
7. Socialization of the HR community.”
The above roles are self explanatory and it underpins the relevant knowledge requirement of the person involved in the international setting. Besides these roles, many sub-roles may be necessary as per situation of the specific geographical locations or countries. Before the operation in other countries, the organizations should plan and train the personnel about the oorganizational business goal, HR management role and techniques and tools, achievement strategy and  design an appropriate monitoring and evaluation tools for increasing business efficiency of international HR managers and employees. A regular data flow system can help the managers in finding loopholes during the period of business operation which can be learned emerged from the practical situation in other countries. So, the role of managers is really a challenging one in managing the human resources those are deployed to achieve the goal in favour of their own organizations as a whole.
Mohammad Mosaddek  Hussain, CIHRD, MIPM
Mirpur, Dhaka,
18 February 2016

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