The aim of this assessment is to help you to develop the knowledge, understanding and key skills that are required by today’s HR professionals working in global environments. By working through the activities in this portfolio, you will be engaging with the theory presented to you in class and applying it to an international case.
On successful completion of this portfolio you will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the following:
• The role of the international HR function in contributing to the broader objectives and strategies of international business
• Key challenges faced by international managers and the IHRM function.
• The theory and practice related to the full range of IHRM functions (training and development, selection, performance management, reward).
• The practical skills required by managers engaged in the strategic management of people within international organisations.
• The ethical implications of human resources management in international business.
Outline of the IHRM Portfolio Assessment
The portfolio is built around the case of a German company called Vogelhaus. The first five portfolio tasks explore an IHRM-related issue connected to the case and these correspond to the topics covered in the weekly lecture and seminars/tutorials. The final task builds on all your knowledge from the module and requires that you write a report outlining culture and HR practices within a particular country.
Changes to Vogelhaus following the PPV takeover will lead to inevitable staffing changes and there are a number of alternatives available to international firms, each of which brings their own unique benefits and challenges. In this first task, you are asked to draw on the academic literature, in order to analyse some of the challenges related to staffing and will apply these to the actions of the US firm in the case. This question is worth 10 marks.
Please answer the following question:
1. Drawing on the work of Perlmutter (1969), how would you characterise the approach (ethnocentric/polycentric/geocentric) to international staffing undertaken by PPV in the Vogelhaus case? What are the benefits and challenges which might result from this method of staffing? (max 400 words)
Task 2 – National Culture
In this second task we want to consider the role that national culture plays in shaping international management. Having a broad understanding of culture is important and can help us to appreciate why firms act in the way that they do. You will consider how human resource policies and practices are influenced by culture. Vogelhaus and PPV come from very different cultural backgrounds – to what extent will this lead to issues in the management of staff? This question requires you to do some research into the culture and HR practices of the USA and Germany. This question is worth a total of 20 marks.
Please answer the following questions:
1. Drawing on the work of Hofstede and other literature around national culture, compare and contrast the cultures of the USA and Germany. (5 marks) (max 200 words)
2. The predominant approach to HRM in the USA differs greatly to German people management practices. How does the literature characterise HRM in the USA and in Germany? (10 marks) (max 250 words)
3. Taking into consideration the differences that you have identified between German and American HRM, to what extent might the take-over of Vogelhaus lead to a culture clash? (5 marks) (max 150 words)
Task 3 – Recruitment & Selection
There is some interesting literature around the processes whereby multinationals recruit individuals to undertake international assignments. A large company such as PPV will have a significant global talent pool to draw upon and may make use of home, host and third country nationals. However, Vogelhaus has developed its own particular way of selecting staff and managing talent. To what extent will there be a clash of approaches? This question is worth a total of 10 marks.
Please answer the following question:
1. Imagine that you are the new HR director at Vogelhaus. Drawing on selection theory, consider the various options available to the parent company for selecting appropriate international assignees. Outline any changes you would make to the current approach to staffing and justify these changes. Bear in mind that there may be a clash of interests and values. (max 400 words)