U.S Multinational In China
Roses Inc is a multinational corporation (MNC) that deals with beauty products in the United States. In its expansive project it intends to send expatriates to facilitate a ‘start up’ in an offshore operation in China for a three year period. The expatriate grouping is very diverse in terms of age, gender, ethic origin and marital status. Again, a number of the expatriates have dependents or spouses that will accompany them for the duration of the assignment. To effectively adjust in China and promote the MNC operations effectively it will be required to take various considerations or preparations.
To enable efficiency and effectiveness for the expatriates it will be critical for the managers in question to understand in addition to the business operations the Chinese basic social sciences. This way it will be able to operate without conflicts with the surrounding. Understanding the people’s language, mode of dressing, attitudes, values, beliefs and different understanding of time would be necessary as it would reduce conflicts. (Briscoe R. and Schuler S, 2004. 50). Communication is very vital in the operations of any company or firm and having a basic understanding of the locals’ language will be very important.
To boost trust with the Chinese people the MNC must demonstrate responsibility and accountability. It must avoid illegal dealings by all means for instance it must avoid any form of corruption that would tarnish its name. Paying or rather adhering to the set rules and regulations of operating business will also avoid conflict with the local authorities and business will be boosted. The MNC must be keen in paying relevant charges and at a timely manner to maintain a positive image with the locals. (Byram M. 1997, 51-57).
Adherence to the set standards of corporate conduct and responsibility is a must if effectiveness is to be attained. Producing quality products is another very important aspect that the company ought to ensure. Poor quality products will by all means be avoided by consumers in addition to facing stiff competition from other MNCs in the region. There is need of carrying out effective research on the area or location of the premises before hand. The research will be critical in ensuring that the issue of ethnocentrism does not arise as it has disastrous effects on business operations.
With effective understanding conflicts are minimized both from within and from without. The research ensures that accurate information is acquired and hence generalizations and assumptions of any kind are effectively dealt with. (www. bawtc. com). Interferences with the local people’s culture should by all means be avoided as there would translate to negative effects on the business operations. Understanding the locals social institutions would also be vital for instance how the Chinese people value the role of the family and its position in society.
Understanding the locals’ political organization is also important as interferences would have a negative impact on the business operations. A solid understanding of the Chinese culture or rather their ways of life would go a long way in ensuring that Roses Inc operations are successful in China as they have been in other countries. Major aspects of culture include their language and communication, religion, personal achievements as well as social behavior and socialization. (www. bawtc. com).
Culture is critical as it determines people’s values, customs, the aspect of time, roles, attitudes as well as the concept of the universe. It is also very important to ensure that they do not seem full of arrogance, domineering or patronizing to the locals, instead they ought to operate within the locals’ context. Friendship in the Chinese culture is accompanied by much emotional attachment unlike in the US where if you met a person once they tend to become your friends. Understanding this is important as it ensures that expatriates understand the Chinese well and hence minimal conflicts.
(Briscoe R. and Schuler S, 2004, 2). The diversity in the expatriates is of much importance as it will see to it that Roses Inc employees will not be adversely affected by the culture ethnocentrism. It will be able to adjust well in the Chinese setting without the assumption that one’s culture is superior to the rest. Culture ethnocentrism causes the ignorance of vital aspects of people’s culture. It can lead to conflicts both from inside the organization as well as with the surrounding.
Internal conflicts would be due to the fact that leadership may be negatively affected. General acceptance and internalization that cultures are not only diverse but also distinct will ensure that the adverse effects of ethnocentrism in multinational corporations are countered effectively. Prior knowledge especially from the adequate research carried out would also help in countering the negative effects of culture ethnicity. Other vital aspects to consider in addressing the issue of ethnocentrism are through group cohesiveness and empathy in the companies.
Social institutions set up in society ensure that culture is perpetuated and understanding them promotes general understanding of the hosts’ cultural attitudes. (Adler J, 2002, 120). On effective location in the hosts’ country, the expatriates should ensure that their activities are in line with the locals’ culture so as not to face rejection. Remaining neutral regarding the Chinese political ideologies as well as in their lifestyles will not cause negative effects on the company’s activities. Supporting one political party or ideology translates to rivalry from the opponents and such rivalry is bad for business.
Rival groupings would keep off the company’s products and that means the demand and profit levels would be lowered. Incorporating the locals in the business operations for instance by employing locals from the region surrounding the firm will have positive effects on the company’s operations. Those that qualify to carry out important operations of the firm can be hired. Hiring people who are not from within the area of location would create rivalry between the two regions. The management must therefore be very keen in ensuring that they are beneficial to the people surrounding them.
It can use local people to advertise their products as this will create the feeling that the locals are part of the company or that the company operates to serve the locals. Seeing that one of their own is using Roses Inc products will increase the business operations for the company. (Adler J, 2002, 120). Tension has to arise within the company because it has to be in consistency with the locals demand as well as its own internal consistencies. Institutional factors like economic, structural and political determine the choices that MNCs have to make if they are to maintain effectiveness and efficiency in the face of intensive competition.
Important issues the human resource management have to address in line with the locals include time off, benefits, gender composition, training, executive bonuses as well as participation. The company must also be very cautions in respecting the locals’ historical sites. Respecting what they deem important will benefit the company in terms of increased business activities that translates to increased profits. This is very important as profit maximization is the main aim of any business or enterprise.
If the company has enough resources it can establish many regional offices so as not to create regional rivalry where areas where the company is located may benefit to the attention of other region who may feel sidelined. Respecting the locals’ religion is also very important especially as they would effectively respect the days they consider important and conflicts would be minimized. Contributing to the locals activities for instance through community based activities and employment creation works to create a positive environment for the company’s operations.
The diverse cultures of the expatriates would ensure that there is effective communication as some may effectively understand the Chinese language. Understanding intercultural socialization is very important if efficiency is to be attained in the host country. Cultural awareness is hence a vital factor for the international companies to consider before they venture in today’s global market place. Understanding not only the verbal language but also the symbolic language is also very essential for the success of any multinational company.
Most people are very cautious regarding the aesthetics that are in line with their culture and if Roses Inc can incorporate such aspects in their procedures then they can attain unbelievable results. (Byram M, 1997, 51-57). Understanding the Chinese view or perception about time consciousness would be an effective way of minimizing conflicts with the local employees. Advertising methods pursued should not be culturally offensive as that would displease the locals who in turn would shy away from the company’s products.
To be efficient in China, Roses Inc must also be very keen in ensuring that it is environment friendly by reducing pollution of any kind that would cause harm to the locals. (www. bawtc. com). To ensure that the expatriates are comfortable it’s important for the company to facilitate for the consistent supply of essential services for instance housing, medical care, education for the children involved as well as transportation. In China, transportation in most cities is a hardship and adapting could be a hectic task. Walking could be possible for the younger population but this would not suffice with the older people.
Using the local buses or train can also be applied but the company should provide enough vehicles to transport the expatriates to work. The road signs are in Chinese and this calls for its effective understanding by the drivers in question. (boscoho. com) Due to overcrowding the traffic is slow and moving from one place to the other is difficult and might be uncomfortable especially to those not used to such experiences. The Chinese people have a tendency of speaking loudly in public, an act that people used to the lifestyle in US may find rude or unbecoming.
Prior understanding would eradicate any misunderstanding that might arise. The Chinese food may also be a fact that could cause culture shock as it includes snakes, cats and dogs. Better understanding through cultural awareness works to enhance a company’s prospects in business. In building an international organization, new capabilities can be created where by the MNC adopts an organizational culture that reinforces diversity and cultural strengths. (Beardwell I. and Holden L. 2001, 69). All in all the expenses involved with expatriates by and large surpasses the cost in mother countries or when locals are used.
Locals are not fully exploited as in most cases they lack the technological knowledge or skills. Repatriation is highly detested as it is wastage of scarce resources. MNCs like Roses Inc must ensure effective adjustment or adaptation are realized so that the cause is not in vain. Effective training is therefore vital in promoting cultural awareness. Expatriates better understand their culture as well as those of the local people and this is critical in promoting business activities. Support programs are necessary as through them expatriates are encouraged and adaptation process becomes easier.
The support would ensure that issues affecting their productivity are immediately dealt with before they cause harm. A policy on expatriates is very crucial in enhancing an effective venture in China. There is also the vital issue of supporting the expatriates especially in troubled times like fears their career may be disrupted or even on matters relating to personal or family issues. Mentorship programs can be effective in ensuring easy adjustment into the new location. Preparation and effective planning are important aspects that the company should consider if it is to enjoy the benefits of foreign investment.
Planning starts before the selection of the expatriates. (rphrm. curtin. edu. au). Aspects considered when selecting included technical ability, managerial skills, cultural empathy, adaptability, diplomacy, language ability, positive attitude, emotional stability, maturity and adaptability of family. Other factors that promote or lead to successful expatriate activity are effective technical competence while on the job, personality traits that favor good relationships, environment and the family. (Graham E, 2000, 49).
Cultural sensitivity is also very important in ensuring this is attained. Great challenges to the success of MNC in any country are the language barrier which hinders communication. Without well coordinated activities the three year assignment would be in vain and there would be a crisis as the returns would not match the costs incurred.
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