Management of an international company

INTRODUCTION

This paper will compromise of three tasks that will use Canada and Denmark to analyse the management of an international company. In task one; it will compare the political, cultural and legal aspects of both countries that need to be aware of. In which will affect new international manager if were to move at that particular country. In the second task, a female worker is being transferred by the organisation to be the senior manager in Denmark. This section will identify and discussed the main issues and preparation before departure respectively. It will be followed by conclusion to summarise the paper and finally, extra information of both country in a table form is attached as task three.

TASK 1

International management can be affected by the political-legal systems and the cultural structure of one country. Therefore, as an international manager, one should be aware of such sensitivity issues if they are moving to any particular country.

Political system is a set of formal institutions that constitute a government and how these groups interact with each other. Both Canada and Denmark have a democratic political system. Nevertheless, there are political risks that differentiate both countries.

The risks in Canada according to Quinn (2010) 'Prime Minister Stephen Harper might try to trigger an election, especially if the main opposition liberals continue to struggle'. Maybe due to the current political situation, it does not bode well for the Canadian economy of having high unemployment rates in Canada. The political reactions of the liberals are they say it is the flaws in Canada's employment insurance system.

However, in Denmark, its orderly political parties reflect its attractive labour market which generates high employment security. Therefore, the unemployment rate of Denmark is lower than Canada (refer appendix 1).

For a new international manager, it is important for one to be sensitive and understand the culture (cultural sensitivity) of the country that they will be transferred to. As stated by Hellriegel, Jackson & Slocum (2005, p. 75) 'Culture refers to the unique pattern of shred characteristics, such as values, that distinguish the members of one group of people to another'. By understanding the country's culture and also the organisational culture, it may break the ice, meaning easy to socialise between the two. To blend with the people around, one should know at least the etiquette and customs of the country they are transfer to. And also etiquette and business protocols of the country for doing business.

Canada is a culturally diverse country where the people are encouraged and retain their cultural identities, traditions, languages and customs. So, one should be prepared to socialise with different kind of culture in Canada. Denmark is a high egalitarian society which means all people are equal and should have equal rights and opportunities. Therefore, women in Danish societies are highly respected in the workplace and receive equal pay and have access to senior positions.

While doing business, Canada and Denmark share the same approach upon meeting one another, that is by shaking hands and maintain eye contact while shaking, with everyone upon arrival and departure. But in Canada, honorific titles and surnames are usually not used, while the Danes preferred the opposite.

Theoretically, by looking at Geert Hofstede's value dimensions which consists of power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism, masculinity/feminity and Long-term orientation versus short-term orientation, it underlie organisational behaviour and also identify cultural differences.

The power distance of Canada and Denmark both are low in dealing with hierarchical relationship which reflects that the countries have greater equality (cooperative interaction) between societal levels. The second value is uncertainty avoidance. In Canada it is high which means strict laws and rules apply to provide more security and greater career stability. Whereas Denmark is the opposite, therefore the company activities are less structured and less formal which shows that they are willing to try new ways and approaches. Canada and Denmark have high individualistic values, where the populace are more self-reliant, practicing the concept of autonomy, look out for themselves (independent) and their close family members. The relationships between individual is rather loose. Moreover, privacy is considered as the cultural norm. In term of masculinity and feminity, Canada is considered as masculine and Denmark is feminine. Masculinity shows being assertive and competitive. Feminity shows good relationship and cooperation, and, conflicts are solved by compromise and negotiations; not strike. However for the last value, long-term orientation, there is no data for Denmark but, Canada have low long-term orientation that indicates the society's belief in meeting its obligations.

Hence, to be successful international managers, they need to know the cultural variables, effects on behaviour in the workplace and also appreciate cultural diversity.

The legal system is an outgrowth of culture that reflects the societal norms. The laws and regulations within a country is an important aspect for an international manager to know about. The laws includes taxation, non-discrimination, fair wages, a minimum wage, children protection, overtime pay, income security and many more. Therefore, before going overseas an international manager should consult with experts in international law.

In Canada, it practices common law. An international manager has to know about the employment contract where it is not customary in Canada; there is no need to have a written employment contract, unless it is for the executives or the employees that were hired for a fixed term.

Whereas, in Denmark practices civil law. It place written act above judgement. According to Stiltze, Sanbeck and Balle (2003), the employer is obliged to provide written information regarding ones employment (Employment law). Failure to do so, the employer is obliged to pay employee remuneration.

Workers also have their own right which is different for each country. Canada's standard working hours per week is different than Denmark. In Canada the lowest would be 40 hours and highest is 48 hours per week. Whereas in Denmark 37 hours per week. And in terms of overtime pay is also different. Canada employees would be paid one and a half times the employees regular pay rate. And Denmark employees would be remunerated with the normal wage or higher rate.

In terms of holidays, Canada has nine public holidays and employees entitle a day off with pay for those who have met certain requirements. However, if they work, they would be paid at a premium rate of one and a half time or two times the regular payment. Besides public holidays, employees are entitled to two weeks vacation a year with pay. While in Denmark, it has thirteen public holidays, and, employees entitled up to five weeks of vacation a year with pay in addition to public holidays.

The reason that international manager should be aware of the holidays and working hours is it gives employees the rest that they needed. And also the new international managers are concern not to disturb; balance work life, spending time with families (leisure time), and respect the locals (including employees) especially during their religious holidays. Moreover, they can plan the time accordingly in advance.

TASK 2

The main issues that need to be aware of as a new senior female manager who only speaks English to be posted in Denmark for three years are regarding; cross-cultural interactions, language barrier, managing cultural diversity and also the situation and condition of living and working in Denmark. More to that, not only working matter but personal matter have to be taken care of too especially being accompanied by the husband and two pre-school aged children.

The basic things that need to be prepared to enter Denmark are valid passport with visa for a foreigner. As an international manager that are transferred, by having a visa only do not give right for a person to work but only to stay in Denmark. Therefore, work permit should be obtained.

As a senior manager who is responsible for planning, directing, monitoring, staffing and controlling the people and their work should be able to understand and interact with the people around. Therefore, need to attend cross-cultural awareness training before departure to reduce the risks of failing to interact effectively across cultures and also to reduce culture shock. Not only that, the person can try to search the internet to gather extra information they should know about living and business operations in Denmark.

Culture shock can be defined as 'a state of disorientation and anxiety about not knowing how to behave in an unfamiliar culture' (Deresky & Christopher 2008, p. 302). As a senior manager, it may affect temporarily of not being able to function the role properly as stress attack and have an impact on physical and emotional discomfort.

Being in Denmark does not mean the only culture that will be encounter is the Danes culture, but a lot more. Hence, as a senior manager, who is responsible to manage the subordinates need to take note of one's ethnicity as there will be cultural differences among one another as ethnic subcultures can have a significant impact on an organisation. As a result, need to know how to manage cultural diversity, and it should be manage alongside with Denmark customs, organisational culture and also one's ethnicity culture.

As stated in Hellriegel, Jackson & Slocum (2005, p. 527) 'Cultural Diversity encompasses the full mix of the cultures and subcultures to which members of the workforce belong'. The possible ethnicities are not only the Danes but also the Germans, Inuits, Faroese and other immigrants.

Hence, diversity training should be carried out which compromise of awareness training and harassment training. This training will help to increase the awareness of different subcultures exist within the organisation and being educated about it. And also the people are informed with the negative consequences of stereotyping.

Not only that, a senior manager should be aware of the act on the Prohibition of Discrimination in the Labour Market in Denmark. This act 'prohibits direct and indirect discrimination based on race, skin colour, religion or faith, political convictions, sexual orientation, age, disability and national, social or ethnic origin' (Olsen 2008, p. 4).

Another factor that should be conscious about is that Denmark is low in uncertainty avoidance. Therefore it is common to encounter with high job mobility and also in taking risks while managing, so as a senior manager should be prepared to adjust to that situation. If conflicts ever arise, however, should be noted that in Denmark, it will be dealt with negotiations (Feminicity).

As for the language, Denmark official language is Danish. Therefore, to break the language barriers, the manager should learn to speak Danish before departure. Languages constitute culture. Denmark people are proud of their language. Since Danish language is not practise widely around the globe, for the Danes, their language is the one that glue them together within the society. Danish language employs gender-neutral words that do not distinguish masculine or feminine words grammatically. Hence, it reflects that Denmark care less about gender differences that shows it is an egalitarian country. Not only the manager should try to learn and understand the verbal language but also the non-verbal because it can convey different meanings and it might be an important message.

Not only cross-cultural communication (by language), but the custom of the business negotiations in Denmark should also be aware of in hand for a senior manager in order to be successful and accustom to the country. In Kwintessential, it lists the business negotiations etiquette. That are agenda should be made before meeting, final decisions will be made after consulting with everyone involved, presentations should be well-organised and factual, maintain eye contact while speaking and direct communication where the Danes prefer to get down to business quickly.

As stated previously, Denmark is an egalitarian society, this gives a positive and security feelings of going to Denmark as being a female senior manager. As a female senior manager and bringing a spouse to Denmark, there will be a possibility to get pregnant. This issue need to be taken into account too before departure. In Denmark, Stoltze, Sanbeck & Balle (2003) wrote that, a pregnant women need to notify the employer at least three months ahead before the child birth. Moreover, both parents are entitled to take parental leave up to twenty four weeks after the child is born. Only the two weeks after the birth is compulsory to take maternity leave. And working mothers are able to arrange flexible hours to balance work life (work and family) easily.

Apart from work related, other personal factors in terms of family needs should be taken into account in hand too. Having a four and a six years old kid, their education factor should be considered by understanding and following the Danish education system. In Denmark, the school age is seven and it is common for a six year old to attend pre-school nursery class to get used to the school environment. As a working mother, should look for a day-care centre and a nursery class for the four and the six year old respectively that also offer English language.

Living three years in Denmark can be considered as a long period of time. Hence, socialising among the neighbourhood beside colleagues is also important. This shows that the family and she are adapting with the Danish culture. If invited to any Danish home, it is important to respect and be conscious of the dining etiquette and table manners if invited to in advance. As stated in Kwintessential, one should be punctual. As to show respect and politeness, it is better to contact the hostess ahead of time enquiring whether they should bring any dishes or not, and also, asking for a tour at their house as they are proud of own accomplishment of decorating it themselves. One should offer to help the hostess with the preparation or clearing up after the meal.

Moreover, having the knowledge on taxes rates and health insurances is also important. The taxes in Denmark are high due to the free health care system which is finance through tax. By the time moving to Denmark, one should register at the National Register where a national health insurance card is automatically given.

Finally, it is the duty as an international manager to know and discuss in advance with the company at home country about compensations that include salary, tax equalization allowances, benefits (home benefits for family) and allowances for cost of living, housing and education (for the children) for the survival fitness at other country; Denmark.

CONCLUSION

To summarise, this paper have discussed about the main issues as what an international manager should be aware of, if were transferred overseas. The main issues stated in the two tasks previously consist of, having information on how the political issues would affect the country's economy that the international manager should know. Moreover, the cultural diversity that one may encounter and be prepared by having cross-cultural awareness training before departure, learn the language of the country to go to as a barrier breaker, along with the customs of the country. And also, the legal system of the country which include being conscious about its employment law and workers right. Lastly, the education of the children and housing matter should be considered ahead if the family was brought along.

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