With increasing globalization, most multinational corporations can not avoid cross-culture management issues. Especially, cross-cultural human resource management (HRM) has becoming one of the critical operating strategies. And in this paper, we will mainly analyze the current situation of human resource management activities that include selection and recruitment, training and development, and performance management in the Chinese and Australian cultural background.
We aimed to find out the differences of human resource management activities between Chinese and Australian human resource department, and look forward to helping a Sino-Australia joint venture (JV) enterprise which is poor at cross-cultural human resource management. Culture forms values, creates attitudes, and influences behavior (Luthans & Jonathan, 2009).
Due to national traits and region of culture, the interaction between different cultures is considered as cross-culture. And under the cross cultural background, international human resource management should carry out the activities of human resource management based on characteristics and differences of culture (Ramamoorthy et al. , 2005), which could increase the efficiency of human resource distribution and utilization.
According to the Hofstede’s theory, we have got five cultural dimensions which as power distance, individualism versus collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity versus feminism, and long term orientation versus short term orientation (Hofstede, 1984). China and Australia have obvious differences in the cultural dimensions, which are showed as follows. Comparison of China and Australia on cultural dimensions cultural dimensions |China |Australia | |power distance |high |low | |individualism |low(collectivism) |high | |uncertainty avoidance |low |high | |masculinity |balanced |above the average(masculinity) | |long-term |high |low(short-term) | Source: From Hofstede and Hofstede, Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind.
And then we will analyze the activities of human resource management as selection and recruitment, training and development and performance management under their respective cultural backgrounds. Firstly, in selection and recruitment human resource activities, there is a large difference between HRM of Chinese enterprises and Australian enterprises. In Australia, the labor pool is relatively mature and developed (Dobbie & MacMillan, 2012). Because of Australia is supposed to value individualism, the HRM of Australian companies used to selecting and recruiting much people depend on market mechanism. Labors change their job and joined choice making with the need of market and the HRM think the person is wanted by them can be got through the mobility of trained personnel and market competition.
They do not think this kind of person is disloyal to a company in their mind. But China emphasizes socialist collectivism as the value of the times. And in the case of collectivism, the HRM of Chinese enterprises tends to select and recruit the talents in the range of their favorable groups, they think the groups of graduates from famous colleges that should have the inherent abilities. So the degrees from domestic-famous such as Tsinghua and Peking University would be preferred by HRM. Furthermore, the HRM of Chinese enterprises attach great importance to ‘Guanxi’ (relationship) in the selection and recruitment of employee (Wang & Cindy, 2008).
And by the impacts of ‘Guanxi’, the HRM of Chinese enterprises trend to create a job in order to accommodate a person, without considering person’s ability. So these situations have been a contrast with fair competition rules of Australian HRM. On the other hand, Australia is a short-term oriented country, the relationship between HR managers and staff is simple which is similar to a buyer-seller relation in short term. The manager of human resource department generally prefers candidates who have strong capacity to work and innovative consciousness. On the contrast, the long-term oriented Chinese HRM focuses on employee royalty, and try to reduce the rate of staff turnover. They expect employees to work steadily in long term, instead of frequent turnover behaviors in the workplace.
Furthermore, because of the high power distance, in the standard of personnel selection in Chinese HRM, they mainly focus on personal background and seniority (Zhang, 2003). There is an obvious top-down hierarchy; the higher position is decided often by strong background and seniority. However, in the Australian HRM, the first is that personal ability to work and communicate. The job is offered to the person who is capable, and the manager of human resource department offered the qualified person an opportunity to move ahead quickly. Secondly, in the parts of training and development, there are also some differences between Australian and Chinese HRM because of the impact of different cultural dimensions.
Under the influence of collectivism culture, what contents the Chinese enterprises use to train their employees generally have to meet the organization’s development goals . Most employees accept their superiors’ arrangement of the job training ,which mainly provides them with the skills training aiming at the skills that their job needs (Xiao et. al, 2011). This kind of job training is only beneficial to employment needed skills. Furthermore, being influenced by the high power distance, in the training process, the employees who are being trained are under high pressure from their superiors and have to accept the arrangement of training. Because most of the trainings are passively accepted, obviously it doesn’t work to take the ways of high participation training in China.
Under the influence of individualism culture, the HRM of Australian enterprise lays stress on the career training and continuous education. The training was provided by HRM for their employees usually can help the employees to achieve their personal goals, but may be far away from the whole organization development vision, but beneficial to the employees’ personal future careers. And in such a low power distance country like Australia, the employees who are being trained appear more active in the training process. They are more willing to show themselves, and actively express their ideas; meanwhile, they are good at communicating with the coach. Thirdly, in the part of performance management, there are also some differences between Australian and Chinese HRM.
Being influenced by the high power distance, in Chinese enterprise, the performance management system is usually built by the top manager, so the top manager decides the performance standards and evaluation criteria. There is a low involvement of employees. However, with the lower power distance, employee could participate in the performance system building, the employee and HR manger could come together to develop a performance management system. Australian advocate individualism, and emphasize personal achievements and rights. But in a country emphasizing collectivism culture as China, the values of pursuing the harmonious atmosphere makes the interpersonal relations in the collective obviously more important than individual achievements.
When it comes to the performance evaluation, Australian emphasize standardized and quantified performance evaluation system, hoping that they can objectively measure individual contribution and value, while Chinese prefer the traditional way of evaluation which usually depends on experience because they don’t want to destroy the harmonious unity of their collective (Rajendar ; Ma, 2005) . And on the other hand, in Australian enterprise, the compensation system depends on the staff function and ability with low power distance. In this system, it is not unusual that employee with special skills or talents could get more compensation and bonus than manager in higher position.
But in Chinese enterprise, the compensation system mainly focuses on job grade and employment level. There is a clear rank in the compensation system. In conclusion, it’s very easy to find that main differences in the activities of human resource management between Chinese and Australian enterprises from what has been mentioned above. So far, for a Sino-Australia joint venture enterprise, it is necessary to combine comprehensive considerations cultural background of China and Australia for carrying out the human resource management activities. Furthermore, the joint venture enterprise should place great emphasis on building of enterprise culture and foster cohesion and centripetal force enterprises.
Usually successful enterprise has excellent enterprise culture which enables employees to establish common values and standard of behaviors (Deem, 2009), it built a great channel between the parent-country nationals and host-country nationals to communicate more smoothly, that is helpful to minimize any culture clash. And in order to achieve optimal allocation of human resources under the context of international, Of course, there will be also many challenges and hardships along the way.