There has been a paradigm shift in socioeconomic transformations over the past two centuries or so. How countries perceived their knowhow is never the same. The world has turned to be one global village .This aspect of globalization has been facilitated by emergence of free trade, removal of trade barriers, increased foreign direct investment, free movement of labor, technological advancements among other factors (Robertson, 2005). As the world adopt emergence of globalization, some economies such as Indian are forced to rethink their future if they have to survive in the fast growing organization. It is important to now recognize transformation as pre requisite to the survival and growth of firms in the globalization process. Public firms in India are experiencing winds of change. Thus the Human Resource need to play a lead role along with business functions in managing these complexities ((Sparrow, Brewster and Harris, 2004). Let’s shift our understanding to the meaning of globalization.
What is the Real Definition of Globalization?
In giving the definition of globalization we first need to define international trade. International trade is simply the exchange of goods and services between countries or movement of labor and capital across boundaries. Then globalization is: “The expansion of markets to include clients, production inputs, and competition without due regard to regional, national, and international boundaries” “…doing business with an international mind rather than doing it with the local mind.” Globalization is an ancient occurrence. Some proponents argued that the economy of the world got globalized about two to three centuries ago as it today it might seems. Since then the term has been used to reflect on the technological advances which has facilitated international trade both in home country and abroad. The integration of both telecommunication industry and financial markets are just but a few fruits of globalization (Kassai, 2008).
In the economic and political arena, globalization is a process by which firms are denationalized, with an extension to cross border exchanges. It may involve changes in the political ideologies, legal structure and the creation of global economies (urban industries, financial markets, and village markets). When firms decide to participate and establish themselves in foreign markets, then we talk of globalization of their business activities. They will first need to familiarize their products or services to the different culture and languages. Then, exploit the benefits of the fast growing internet industry by creating the virtual presence in the competitive global markets. Finally, tap the existing e-business like the Amazon by creating multilingual websites (Brewster et al 2004). Globalization has four major components which include: exchange of goods and services otherwise known as trade, movement of capital across the borders and movement of people and exchange of technology.
Globalization can be driven by:
Market forces which may be as result of changes in the per capita income of a country, change in life style of the citizens and changes in organization behavior as one of the global clients, cost factors which may include lobbying for large economies of production and low labor costs which are as a result of the creation of newly industrialized nations with high production abilities, competition forces such as emergence of strong global presence thus creating interdependency among countries, emergence of new competition class with an intention of producing counterfeit goods and increased alliances globally, government forces such as tariff reduction and removal of other trade barriers, privatization of some key firms in major parts of the world and forming of trade blocs such as European Union, ECOWAS among others (Carson, 2009).
Globalization has revealed the role played by the Human Resource department in an organization. Thus the globalization changes have fueled the notion that human resource is an asset rather than a liability to an organization which want to compete effectively in the global business. The proponents of globalization debate argue that Human Resource functions follow a longitudinal change assumption that there is transfer of work a broad, greater sophistication of work in the Human Resource information technology, competition for gifted and talented employees( including the most rated hierarchy), new structures for international HR functions, strong marketing and corporate communications (Pinnington, 2007). The HR function is building itself in response to the above processes by creating alliances with functions, creating new roles and skills required for the effective management of the HR functions.
The Role of Human Resource Managers in a Changing Environment
Human Resource professionals are expected to play a role in spearheading the changes the HR is currently facing .They must formulate policies which will steer the development of HR department to the next generation to come. The creation of virtual office will increase emphasis on job performance rather than the traditional hours worked. Workplace flexibility is expected to increase as more and more employees will be working off site. With this arrangement, offsite employees may attend fewer meetings. Job specializations and specifications can be the order of the day as jobs are much more collaborative. Managers will spend most of their time managing their respective teams leading to the autonomy in the working groups. There will be a decentralized system of Human Resource Management (Pinnington, 2007). The managers will have to find a solution to manage: employee orientation, corporate culture and socialization in the workplace. In addition, they will be forced to act as experts in the organization who can shape the behavior of employees in the absence of face to face communication. Thus, they will have to find a way of accepting all the employees in their respective virtual work stations.
Dilemmas Faced by Human Resource Managers
The global business concept has posed a major challenge to the role of HR department in an organization. Small firms are already registering a high growth in their profit margins and as such expects their forecast and growth to be dully in the global business. Such organizations rely more on the services of HR department to facilitate their cross border work. The HR managers must be knowledgeable to handle diverse risks as pertains to different; cultures, languages, political ideologies, legal environment and economical background. They will be called upon to: formulate and manage global employees, keep both written and verbal corporate policies which will be transported to other countries of operation. They will be again expected to inform the senior managers informed of the dangers they might land the company into if they fail to comply with the transnational issues. They will have to provide their expertise to all the branches of the company in the whole world.
HR managers will have to equip themselves with additional foreign languages if they have to recruit new employees from other cultures. If not, they will be forced to either learn the new language or higher a translator. Globalization will facilitate the use of English as a language since it is the most preferred language by most Multinational companies. We need to look at how globalization relate to culture and how they influence most business activities and the attitude of HR professionals in an organization. Firms must accept cultural differences that exists and shape the character of managers in developing their overseas operations (Kassai, 2008). That is individual achievements and autonomy, competent supervision, fringe benefits, security or simply norms of the society.
Therefore, the cultural diversity must be accepted in the organization.HR managers should acquaint themselves with such norms in order to promote, appreciate the cultures that exists in an organization. An appreciation of such cultural diversity will enable the firm attract and retain more customers .Competition will reduce in the international market since employees from these cultures will already be providing language and skills needed to overcome such competition.
Competencies for a Human Resource Manager
HR managers need to develop knowledge and skills that will help them carry out their duties in an effective manner (Czebter, 2009). Such skills include: flexibility at work, cooperation and team work, excellent communication skills, decisiveness and leadership skills.
Many researchers have recommended that for HR to function appropriately in a global environment , it has to face serious challenges that can at times impede its operation. In conclusion, the role of HR manager can be drawn by:
- Making a distinction between local HR manager and the Global HR manager.
- Draw a functional line between global recruitment, management and reward which has been actually ailing.
The role of HR managers is most likely to deviate from less administrative to a more sophisticated role in the years to come. Thus will always be called upon to exercise their authority.