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Development of a Multinational Personnel Selection Case Study

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Updated: Jun 19th, 2019

The case study considered in this essay is based on Mr. Koenig, the owner of ComInTec, who instructs Mr. Koch, the personnel in charge of human resource department, to apply standardised selection techniques for the recruitment of new managers. From a general point of view, this approach could appear sensible.

However, from a critical perspective, this could be injurious to the firm in the end since it fails to take into account political and, most importantly, social differences with regard to hiring managers. This paper discusses the potential weaknesses and strengths of adopting such an approach. In addition, it makes recommendations based on what the project team has tasked to be done.

The standardised recruitment procedures for the multinational personnel selection system proposed by Mr. Koenig, the director of the firm, requires that the firm replicate the same parameters in hiring staff across geopolitical borders.

The new move was spurred by the intention of the firm to bring together Asian and German HR experts who would constitute a cooperative project management unit. To this end, 25 middle level management positions were to be filled and, therefore, the new personnel testing system was being projected as the means through which the recruitment would have been done.

On the one hand, the personnel selecting system was thought to be significantly more economical than it has appeared. This is because Mr. Koch and his team were to develop the parameters and replicate them in the countries in which the hiring of new workers could have taken place.

This could have saved the company thousands of dollars because, if it had had to develop selection procedures for each country, it would have required hundreds of hours of work force to research the requirements and conditions of each region.

In addition, with a standardised system, the firm could appear more transparent in its selection procedures since it could be impossible for anyone to accuse it of discrimination that is likely to occur when recruitment is “segregated”.

Finally, a standardised system would have been undoubtedly simple to manage, and the same employees could have been used to carry out the hiring process in all the countries, having made the process cost effective and expedient, which Mr. Koenig seemed to want most of all. Nevertheless, this system has several significant shortcomings.

First, standardised testing automatically precludes economic, social, political and cultural differences among countries given that these factors cannot be assumed as universal. For example, as evinced by the tense relations between the German and Chinese teams, both the cultures vary in their response and respect for authority, among other factors.

Therefore, if the same testing system could be used on people from both the cultures without considering the differences, then the selection could fail to be standardised at all. This also applies to the economic setup of different countries. Mr. Koch argued that, in a country like Thailand, it may have been difficult to find people as qualified as they were in Germany based on the different educational standards.

As a result, he asserted that the same test could ultimately discriminate against potential employee who could be a citizen of a country with low economic growths and/or relatively poor education systems.

As aforementioned, there are benefits of the standardised selection system. However, most of these are short-termed. In fact, if one looks at a bigger picture, then these advantages will be surpassed by the weaknesses of the method. As Koch told his boss, by having failed to account for the social and cultural differences, there would have been fallout.

Retrospectively, Mr. Koch pointed out that when the firm had carried out staff cuts without allowing workers to give their views, the organisation was involved in lawsuits and could have lost millions of dollars unless their lawyers had been very effective.

In the same way, Koch found the move to standardise the selection procedures a capricious one that could not be sustained in the long-term. In the previous system, when personnel were being hired, there could be structured interviews in which the candidates would be interviewed by HR representatives from both the company’s headquarters and the country they would work in order to get the right contextual setting.

The firm could hire professionals it considered competent based on the universal standards, but these employees could not be as productive as assumed in the first place. This is because the market dynamics in a firm that deals with information requires socially and culturally competent people.

If I were asked to consult with the project team, I would recommend coming up with a way to convince Mr. Koenig that he was making a serious mistake by trying to transcend the diverse cultures in which the firm’s interests were vested. However, from his interaction with Koch, it is evident that he is not an easy man to convince to change his mind.

Therefore, I would advocate for a compromise so that both the sides are taken into account. For one, instead of standardising the test for all the countries or specialising for each one, the regions could be grouped based on the similarity of their cultural and economic dynamics. Thus about two or three systems could be designed.

This approach could save the cost of making numerous single country adjustments. In addition, the strategy could reduce the number of assumptions in a standard test, which make it so likely to fail. On the premises of discussion with Koch and his team, there are some cultural imbalances that appear to negatively impact the relationship between the Chinese and western employees.

The West repeatedly criticise their Chinese counterparts in public, which is a cultural faux pas in China and could likely cause offences. Even when Koch overstayed the meeting, he did not have time for lunch, although he was aware of the fact that it was very important to his Asian colleagues.

Evidently, the cultural dynamic in this team also needed to be improved since one of the challenges that it was facing in arriving at decisions was the fact that members did not recognise or respect each other’s cultural traditions.

I would recommend taking more time to engage in cultural centric discourse and try to learn more about each other, especially the westerners who seem to disregard or be ignorant of Chinese negotiation or debating techniques.

Conclusion and recommendations

At the end of the day, one only needs to look at the communication challenges between members of Koch’s culturally diverse team to appreciate the fact that recruiting without accounting for such disparities is bound to cause problems.

The owner of the company wanted to save money and time, having sacrificed important considerations for the selection procedure for the sake of superficial expediency, which was likely to be counterproductive in the long run. I would recommend that, should he refuse to budge, the team should come up with a compromise instead of implementing the flawed and unpredictable strategy of hiring managers.

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IvyPanda. "Development of a Multinational Personnel Selection." June 19, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/development-of-a-multinational-personnel-selection/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Development of a Multinational Personnel Selection." June 19, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/development-of-a-multinational-personnel-selection/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Development of a Multinational Personnel Selection'. 19 June.

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