Friday, October 22, 2010

On Internationalisation, Global Workforce Selection, and Fish Tanks

On Internationalisation, Global Workforce Selection, and Fish Tanks

Sorry to hear of your negative experience with what appears to be a failed attempt to engage cross-cultural bridging without representational dimensions of quantitative differences in cultures as exemplified by Geert Hofstede's cultural dimensions model. Yes he is a white man.You would not be the only Asian to consider the comparable usefulness of variations in cultural values to be fairly limited in scope as Ha-Joon Chang demonstrates in Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and The Secret History of Capitalism (2007). He reviews history to exemplify that cultures change and that for example barely a hundred years ago most literature published among formerly imperialist nations considered Japanese and Germans to be lazy, untrustworthy and disreputable. However it is perhaps white man's nature to seek categorize differently from that of the Asian.

Another book which appeals to me in terms of international perspectives is perennially The Geography of Thought (2003) by Richard Nisbett. My Korean students often react strongly to the idea that Canadians and Koreans might perceive a picture of a fish tank much differently.

However there is a lot of evidence out there to suggest that most multinational corporations have carefully selected their global-local employees and often discover their inter-cultural gaffs only when it costs them millions to billions of dollars in lost revenue. Employee selection among global companies is often according to highly specific cultural values selecting among individuals whose results in various HR competitive tests, interviews and performance reviews best support the mission and vision or values of their own corporate organisations. As a result these workers may often reflect greater similarities in terms of values across cultures than within them. Singapore would appear to be an Asian nation which provides opportunities for like-minded but culturally dissimilar people to innovate and create new opportunities based upon shared vision and mission whether on a corporate or multicultural level.

I agree that a key function of human resources needs to be geared towards cross-cultural inclusiveness however much of the research I have read in international HR functions suggest that best practices are often few and far between especially in recent efforts among nations like Canada for example to integrate needed new medical professionals from abroad. There is also a large body of evidence to suggest that many equal opportunity programs do not account for quality of skills or experience among selection practices which place priority on addressing disparity in proportional representation among various cultural or ethnic groups alone which often appear to leave the suitability of a white male candidate dead last. As well there is a dawning reality in Canada that the universities and researchers themselves appear to be facing similar increased selectivity among funding agencies for more calculated and commercially viable results generated from tax-payer funded programs. This would accord with what we are witnessing in Australia. Would increases in claims of academic misconduct not also be possibly tied to decreases in funding resources? Through increased equal opportunity would such claims of misconduct then not possibly be proportionally represented among perceived minorities and other special interests formerly under-represented?
Canada: "Lagging innovation leads feds to launch review into R & D," The Vancouver Sun, October 13, 2010

We have already learned an incredible amount in the course of these studies of the challenging nature of even simply increasing domestic collaboration alone. Just adding an international dimension to the course of innovation results in research can only magnify and highlight inherent weaknesses in systemic ineffective or inefficient management of research funding, accounting and reporting which already exist in national innovation systems around the world.

I am sure Singapore does have much to teach the rest of the world in terms of ensuring smooth successful collaboration results among multicultural groups and participants.

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