Academic literature not only from management sciences but also from other social sciences is arguing for a fundamental change and transformation of societies, institutions and organizations worldwide. Sometimes referred to as globalization or post-modernity, this phenomenon implies changes in technology, global economy, transference of skills and labour across nations and global interdependence and connectedness and transcendence of national boundaries in business. As pointed out by Rijamampianina (1996) these global transformations and occurrences imply many practical challenges for the International Human Resource Management (IHRM), for example the phenomena of global assignment and global movement. Now the Western business organisation has more multicultural work force with more diversified talent and a challenge for the human resource manager consists in how to transform this diverse talent in a functional competitive advantage for the organisation in the long run according to James& Snell(1994)
The challenge of managing a multicultural workforce against the backdrop of business ethics and multiculturalism is an ardent challenge also because little is known about the practical implications and modus operandi for the cosmopolitan HR manager .Moreover, solutions to cope with organizational diversity and multiculturalism are based on the individual experiences of the managers and their organisations. The challenge itself implies that the cosmopolitain HR manager needs to operate through multicultural lens of unorthodox, non-traditional management styles and need to have a skill set which can be viable across different cultures. Hence, it will require a paradigm shift from traditional western style management to a more inclusive, integrated and flexible approach to International Human Resource Management (IHRM).
Among the skill set required the cosmopolitan HR manager will need to recognize the existence of multiple intelligences, role of spirituality and organizational energies on one hand and organizational ethics in the context of personal experiences ,shortcomings as implicit in the concept of “shadow effect’ on the other. Throughout this essay it is argued that without this new consciousness and practical tactics resulting from its cognition the cosmopolitan HR manager cannot perform his duties well. He has to take into account the multi-variate effects of globalisation as well multi-cultural potential of work force all over the world through talent hunt scheme.
The international face of doing business is changing in the wake of globalisation as people have to move from one place to another place. This movement is not shallow in the sense that they have to move into new cultural set up with shadow effect of their own cultural ethos. The managers assigned with international assignments have to cope with dual responsibilities: they have to fulfill their business responsibilities together with keeping in mind the cultural sensitivities of that particular location as underlined by the study done James and Snell titled as ‘The Need for Creative Enquiry for the Next Millennium’. The very title of the study suggest that there is a need to be more creative in doing business at global level on the part of human resource management because the cultural landscape of the world in intruding in the business locations all over the world. It is worthwhile to note multiculturalism has become a prominent feature of Western societies, but it is still not recognised in the corporate milieu owing to distinguished Western business ethos. The associated changes with globalisation are the rise of multinational corporations (MNCs) and their spread all over the global for acquiring specific competencies along with new talent which takes into account the multicultural aspects of globalisation and cultural relativism for doing business in new places all over the world. At psychological level, the traditional notion of intelligence is also becoming somewhat obsolete as it requires a new paradigm shift in devising and applying novel notions of intelligences. With the wake and spread of global business assignments the notion of multiple intelligences applied by Howard Gardner is of immense significance as it can do away with the shadow effect of traditional notion of intelligence as well as working in the mono-cultural business milieu as underlined by Caliguiri et al (1998) in his study ‘Families on Global Assignments: Applying Work/Family Theories Abroad’. The very title of their study suggests that how family is affected by global assignments. Family can be taken as the shadow effect of HR manager which follows him with his assignments at global level. this study highlight that how the use of multiple intelligences is contingent in current business model. This change is essential is essential for the multi-cultural setups through which the realization of the goals of MNCs can be made in effective manner according to Caliguiri et al (1998). In similar fashion, Tosey and Llewellyn (2002) made contribution to the study of multicultural work ethics by totalising all human experiences as well as their outcomes which can be utilised for the success of business and human resource practitioner.
In the remarkable movie of Michael Brooks, it was exhibited that how ignorance to culture and ethos deeply affects the overall working of those who are assigned with important assignments. Mr. Brooks was sent by the State Department of the US to look that why Muslim people laughed. He was sent off-handedly in a hectic manner without giving him training in understanding the cultural background of the Muslims in the Sub-Continent. He failed to underline the causes that why Muslims laugh in that particular region of the work. Furthermore, he was also assigned the task to write 500-page report on his findings. As the things unfolded, he brought both Pakistan and India on the brink of war. His failure was on the part of ignorance about the culture and ethos of people of the Sub-Continent. He met and dealt with people as if he was in the US. Looking for the Comedy in the Muslim World (2012) reveals that international assignments require new mode of dealing with these assignments. One has to acquaint oneself with the essentialities of multi-tasking which come in the domain of multiple intelligence networking in an organisation for the success of international assignments at global level.
Chatterji (2007) defines ‘global mindset is a cognitive orientation anchored in any organization and expressed through its values and practices that demonstrate its ability to transcend the boundaries of immediacy.’ This mindset require a dynamism inherent in HR managers to absorb and apply diversity of thinking and working in several directions by for the long term sustainability in the wake of uncertain global situation. The globalisation has made everything fluid as marked by Friedman in his seminal work ‘The World is Flat.’ Friedman () further contends that the fluidity of globalisation is blurring identities in every arena of private and collective life like concept of nationhood, citizenship, sports, consumption, business locations etc. according to Chatterji (2007) the development of global mindset is more than mere paradigm shift to accept everything multi-cultural; it is a holistic approach containinig cognitive abilities to synthesise broader and more open approach through multiple intelligence and then embedding of these approaches into broader corporate values to give a competitive edge to organisation.
Chatterji (2007) used the typology of minds developed by Perlmutter(1969). Perlmutter (1969) gave the concept of three types of mindsets which are used in businesses. The first one is ethnocentric which reflects the home-grown feelings of managers. This mindset depicts that the best way to deal with business is best embedded in nationalistic as well as ethnocentric framework of culture. This mindset is not useful now in global workplace as it relies on exclusivist agenda. The second type of mindset which Perlmutter (1969) highlight is polycentric mindset in which everything outside one’s own culture seems to be relevant and effective for every purpose. The third type of mindset is geocentric which entails into its fold the geographical context for the realization of business goals. The major flaw of Perlmutter typology is that it does not incorporate the cognitive aspects of minds to underline their functioning in particular cultural contexts. However the geo-centric mindset is viewed as the global in the broader perspective because it sets mind where body is. But this is not sufficient. Howard Gardner conceptualization of multiple intelligences can be a better option to highlight the kind of minset required for HR practitioner engaged in global assignments.
The management of new business in the era of globalisation covets a dynamic mindset which takes into account the changing nature of requirements unfolded by the forces of globalisation everywhere. Chatterji (2007) of Indian origin recognises the energy of multi-culturalism in new businesses as he is of the view that new working milieu requires business leaders and managers to withhold their national aspirations and overcome the compartmentalization of national borders. Chatterji (2007) poses the important question that ‘How the macro-level national strategies of economic reform translate into the meso-level enterprise or industry reorientation is of considerable interest.’ He is of the view that at micro level all businesses should take in consideration the local sensitivities of people and filter down the global ethos based on diffusion and multi-culturalism connecting it to global level agenda. Chatterji (2007) cited examples of various Indian organisations which have successfully achieved their level of success which have worked on these lines.
The energy system painted in Chakra is derived from the holistic experiences of human beings. Through this model the organisational energies of human beings can be tapped as they tapped by non-Western cultures. The concept of organisational energies is paramount in many non-Western societies as they give strength to the employees through their conscious connection to organisations. Tosey and Llewellyn (2002) done remarkable work in this regard underlining that how human motivations are drived by set of different modes of thinking predicated on rationalization of human thought, practical thinking, emotive state of mind and aesthetic sense. The depiction of organisational energies is well painted in the movie ‘Rize’ where a minority race of ‘krumpers’ declined to be oppressed by the majority race through their practice of dancing. It was through dancing in an organisational manner that they realised their organisational energies. In similar vein, every organisation can set preferential scheme of things to highlight their organisational energies for the maximisation of their protracted business goals. The relaisation of organisational energies can be useful in the creation of niches based on aesthicism, rationalism and emotionalism of the employees. The responsibility of HR practitioners in this scenario becomes more profound as their task also includes to focus on organisational energies. They have to broaden their mental horizon for this purpose and shed off the shadow effects of operating in mono-cultural and nationalistic mindset. The practitioners of human resource management now have to take into account the ethical considerations of their employees in line with aestheticism. Similarly spiritual experiences have to have given due place in the workplace as current Western system of business relies on non-spiritual ethics devoiding it of every human and social concern. The addition of spirituality can be an anti-dote to side-effects of overwhelming global corporatism which is based on profitability at every cost according to Tosey and Llewellyn (2002).
An Indian fable, Painter’s last Mistake, is a good example to show that how the realization of one’s own self is the best expression of one’s own capabilities and abilities. Other people often tend to undermine others’ work or decision without giving any option or alternative. The Fable’s last lines were of significance as they disseminated the message of self-realisation on the part of painter. In the similar fashion, the task of new cosmopolitan manager has also become quite self-realising and self-reliant as he has to relaise his own inner strengths to discern what is good for organisation and what is not. Another important message located in the Fable is about judging others’ work from their own cultural context. If the HR manager tries to impose monolithic design on everyone, the organisational energies cannot be relaised in productive manner and employees get snubbed by the power of imposition. The dilemma was vividly shown in the movie ‘Outsources’, wherein the main actor has to undergo poignant experience of cultural shock owing to his lack of knowledge for Indian culture. Once he got the idea of Indian culture, his performance got well and he felt comforted in his job. As Western societies have become multi-cultural at social level, they need to understand that importance of this aspect into their organisational softwares. Cultural relativism implies that HR managers ought to give due respect to every culture for the efficient functioning of organisations.
The work of Gardner (1983) can be quite useful for the HRM which aims to work at global level. his typologies of mind is quite different from the typologies of mind formulated by Perlmutter (1969). Perlmutter set up the typology of mind with respect to geographic location. However, Gardner’s typology is predicated on the cognitive abilities of minds which is all inclusive as it contains musical mind, ethical mind, bodily-kinetic mind, discipline mind etc as elaborated by Linsley (2008). For every sort of business duties, this typology is of immense significance as relationship management requires one to be ethical; counter staff ought to be disciplined and marketing staff should be bodily-kinetic which requires employees to be quickly mobile and agile in the disposal of his or her services. Garnder Model of mental typology puts an extra duty on HR managers to read the mind of employees before assigning them any responsibility. As we are currently studying the cosmopolitanism and HRM, therefore at global level this typology is of importance as it will help HR practitioners to assign global assignments to those who are in the better position to handle cultural shock as well as to understand others’ culture in discerning way. A rich blend of Gardner’s multiple intelligence and Perlmutter’s geo-centric mindset can be useful for new, cosmopolitan human resource managers. In fact, HR manager requires a complete de-programming in the face of new global challenges.
In recent years there has been a growing interest in the role of spirituality in business matters. As it has been mentioned by Cavanagh (1999) that Western culture has become more materialistic and less spiritual, therefore social and cultural concerns have been put at the backburner at the expense of public good by and large. With the rise of rationalization of business affairs, the dichotomy between profit-driven businesses and spiritualization of public life has been kept intact in Occidental cultures as underlined by Neal, Berggman and Bann (1999). Corporate concerns based on profitability and expansion of business has been kept paramount over spiritual aspects. As mentioned else where with the reference to the Looking for the Comedy in the Muslim World (2011), it is pertinent to note that when people from two different cultural backgrounds come in contact with each, they might have substantially different values, beliefs and practices that may lead to clash of opinions and might become a source of misconception about each other. One potential area of these misconceptions might entail the differing place and role of spirituality between Occidental and Oriental world views. As mentioned by Cavanagh (1999), Western business practices are substantially devoid of spiritual content; whereas Oriental culture often seek spiritual solutions to their mundane concerns. These cultural values and practices are brought to the organisations where Oriental and Western individuals come into contact with each other at different levels of their interactional experiences.
The cosmopolitan HR manager should ideally act as a bridge between different culture which are typical of organisational diversity in our times. These managers should be equipped with skills about how to transform the shadow effect in a strengthful and individual oriented job description and transform the shadow or package of personal characteristics as a source of motivation for the employees of an organisation. Human resource managers should be aware of the fact that spirituality has a potential for boosting the motivation level of many of the employees in a cosmopolitan organisation. Similarly they should take into account different types of abilities and unorthodox notions about intelligence and adaptability for the success of organisation’s business and productivity of employees.
The paper was based on the central assumption that in today’s connected, globalised world with inter-connected economies multi cultural work force and transcendence of nation in matter of business requires a profound revision of the traditional notion of HR manager. Broadly the paper tries to provide a framework for the role and responsibilities as well as managerial work ethics against the backdrop of ‘shadow effect’ and cosmopolitianism in international human resource management. It has been argued that successful and effective human resource management requires a more holistic approach to human resource. While on one hand, we need to realise that there exists models of human intelligence which substantially differ from traditional connotations of human intelligence such as mathematical abilityand logic. This powerful lesson in human cognition implies that if human resource managers are only tapping rational abilities of their employees, they are missing on numerous capabilities which human intelligence potentially processesfor their productivity. These include inter-personal intelligences. Peoples in certain cultures possess ability to handle and communicate emotions; while peoples from some other cultures are good at social capital formation; others use spirituality as an essential ingredient of their work ethics. Hence, it is concluded that aggreably in the future, cosmopolitan HR manager cannot do away with few words of foreign languages; what he requires is to translate one worldview into another keeping in mind that human beings are a sublime creature with immense creative potential and not mainly shadows among uncountable shadows of immense humanity in the world
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