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Cultural Comparison Between China and South Africa

Hofstede’s Framework

Source/Hofstede’s Insights

Value China South Africa United States
Power Distance Very High Low Very Low
Individualism Low High Very High
Masculinity High High High
Uncertainty Avoidance Very Low Low Low
Long Term Orientation Very High Low Very Low
Indulgence Very Low High High

 

Schwartz Framework

Value China South Africa United States
Conservatism High Low Low
Intellectual Autonomy High Low High
Affective Autonomy Low High High
Hierarchy High Low Low
Mastery High Low High
Egalitarian Commitment Low High High
Harmony Low High High

 

How Culture Impacts HR Management in a Global Organization

The aspects of culture that influence the nature of interactions between population groups revolve around religion, social organization, and language among others. In this regard, company leaders must demonstrate their ability to overcome challenges surrounding the cultural aspects because of their ability to influence the outcomes of events in the contemporary society. In the same vein, cultural elements such as power distance, masculinity-femininity, and collectivist-individualistic play a critical role in defining the management approaches organizations can use when expanding their operations in the global business environment. From this realization, company managers must develop various approaches that influence the perspectives of individuals towards the stipulated HRM practices because of the need to achieve the expected outcomes.

National cultures shape the perspectives of individuals towards work. For instance, Chinese employees are likely to work for more than six days in a week compared to their South African counterparts who follow the five-day work routine. From this realization, the HR managers in charge of operations in the two countries must acknowledge the cultural aspects manifested by the two countries before rolling out terms of work. Importantly, culture plays an important role in shaping the HRM practices that organizations in the global organizations should use to accomplish their desired outcomes. Therefore, understanding the cultural differences and embracing diversity provides an edge to Multi-National Enterprises (MNEs) because of their ability to overcome issues affecting individuals in their surroundings.

Understanding the national cultural system of a country enables organizations to develop suitable HRM approaches that complement the lifestyle of the locals. In this case, Company X must understand China’s critical cultural elements to avoid developing HRM concepts that interfere with their perspectives towards work (Kerdpitak & Jermsittiparsert, 2020). Importantly, company managers must familiarize themselves with the acquired and shared values that differentiate China from the U.S. and other countries. Likewise, the cultural identity of South Africa differs significantly from that of China, an aspect that hinders Company X from replicating similar HRM practices such as those in its parent company. Hence, understanding a country’s national cultural system is an important aspect that organizations must embrace when executing their expansion plans.

Language is a potential communication barrier that may hinder the relationship between expatriates and local employees. In this regard, identifying a company representative who is well versed with the native language is essential in penetrating the foreign market and building healthy relations with the different stakeholders affiliated to the corporation. Learning the language of the host nation not only enables one to understand the cultural values but also demonstrates an interest to acquire the shared values practiced by the local population group. Besides, when company executives familiarize themselves with the native language, it becomes easier to gain the employees’ trust and create an enabling environment where work can be accomplished with ease.

In China where time is considered a serious aspect of life, lateness is not tolerated. In fact, being late in China is a serious offence that attracts dire consequences to the affected parties. From this realization, time management is an important element that must be considered by expatriates working for Company X in China (Liu & Meyer, 2020). However, South Africa has a relaxed mindset about time and more than usual, employees are likely to be late. From this realization, the development of HRM practices in the two countries should be different because of the cultural perspectives and understanding of time and punctuality.

Employment Laws

China

The labor law and employment protection law safeguards employees against discriminatory practices due to their gender, race, and religious beliefs. Likewise, the special provisions on labour protection for female employees guarantees 98 days as maternity leave for new mothers in an organization (Chan & Selden, 2019).

South Africa

The Employment Equity Act (EEA) oversees a series of recruitment and selection approaches adopted by organizations such as the prohibiting of medical testing on new employees (Espi, Francis, & Valodia, 2019). The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) requires employers to provide employees with particulars about their actual work in the workplace.

The Significance of Employment Laws

Employment laws protect workers from exploitative employers who take advantage of various opportunities to advance their selfish interests. It should be noted that the employment laws in both China and South Africa are similar to the American labor laws because of their focus on providing employers with a directive that hinders them from exploiting vulnerabilities manifested by their workers. Individuals working in the U.S. are protected by the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws while those working in South Africa are protected by the Employment Equity Act (EEA) and other laws such as BCEA. In China, the labor law protects worker’s rights alongside other legal guidelines such as the special provisions on labour protection for female employees that directs employers on issuing the leave days for pregnant women. Besides, the laws in two countries focus on elevating employees into a position where they can negotiate for best terms of work that enable them to accomplish their desired career goals and objectives.

How Laws Affect the Hiring Process

In China, the labor and employment protection law expect Company X to provide more employment opportunities to Chinese employees compared to their expatriates. From this realization, Company X’s hiring process will lean towards Chinese employees as opposed to recruiting more expatriates in the workplace. In the same vein, the special provisions on labour protection for female employees will require Company X to allocate 98 days as maternity leave for all new mothers when drafting contracts to its female workers. In South Africa, managers at Company X are expected to incorporate the values highlighted by the Employment Equity Act (EEA) in its hiring process. Likewise, the company will be required to acknowledge the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) when defining the job descriptions for its employees.

Recommendation for Company X’s Global Expansion

Given the affordable human capital in China, as opposed to South Africa, I would recommend Company X to focus towards the East because of the immense benefits that can be accrued from the expansion. It should be noted that the Chinese market demonstrates potential growth for all industries, a move likely to influence the overall performance for Company X. Even though China’s focus on outsourcing manufacturing is on the rise, the Asian leader is appealing to global corporations looking to expand their market share and increase their product portfolio.

In the global context, employment laws play an important role in protecting individuals against any malpractice that may expose them to harm or deny them their entitled rights and freedoms. From this realization, employment laws eliminate the different vulnerabilities that employers can exploit during their interactions with employees in the workplace. The primary employment laws focus on discrimination, minimum wage, and workplace health and safety.

Alternatively, China has numerous government policies that favor corporations on the verge of expanding their services in the global market. In this regard, the Chinese government has been commended for setting up incubation centers that allow young people to create innovative solutions, which respond to emerging challenges in the contemporary community. Besides, the Chinese government supports innovation and inventions, a move that has enabled the country to become a global economic leader (Jensen, Liu, & Schøtt, 2017). From this realization, these measures appeal to both local and foreign entrepreneurs who can benefit from the innovative solutions developed in the country.

The abundance of skilled workforce in China outshines that of other countries around the world. As a result, labor is cheap and does not compromise the quality of the finished products, a move that has compelled many countries to focus on expanding their services towards China. The availability of a skilled young workforce in China provides organizations with an opportunity to invest in Research and Development (R&D), which enables them to develop cutting-edge solutions that address both emerging and underlying problems in the modern community.

Since China’s business regulations and policies are always evolving, organizations benefit from the changes that are made to favor business growth and development. Surprisingly, certain industries are unregulated, presenting an opportunity for corporations to pursue desired outcomes and develop viable solutions that meet the changing needs of consumers. From this perspective, China proves to be an ideal target for an expanding organization such as Company X, which is looking to diversify its product portfolio and increase its market share in the highly competitive global market.

Lastly, China’s political stability has had a positive impact on its economic growth and development over the years. Unlike countries such as South Africa that are often met with political unrest, China’s stability on the political and economic dimensions has transformed it into a preferred market for expanding organizations around the world (Liu, Cheng, & Cheung, 2017). In achieving a healthy business environment, political and economic stability are critical in the operation of different aspects that influence the changing needs and patterns of consumers. Therefore, expanding Company X’s operations in China will safeguard the organization from economic defects such as hyperinflation that interfere with the overall performance of corporations.

How Company X will Benefit

Expanding Company X’s operations in China will yield positive outcomes because of the favorable business policies, political stability, and evolving business regulations. Importantly, the organization will benefit from a ready consumer market that embraces product diversity and will tap into the abundant skilled young workforce, which will enable Company X create cutting-edge products and solutions.

Hiring Strategy

A Clear Employer Brand

Company X will penetrate the Chinese market with a clear employer brand that will appeal to the young skilled Chinese workforce by offering them attractive packages.

Employment Posts that Resonate with the Company Vision

Candidates develop a perception of an organization after looking at the advertised position. In this case, Company X will advertise for positions that will enable it accomplish its objectives in the Chinese market.

An Active Social Media Presence

Before penetrating the Chinese market, Company X should deploy an online approach that will capture the attention of the Chinese consumers and employees.

Utilize Applicant Tracking System

Since Company X will be venturing into a new market, there is a need to invest in a tracking system that crosschecks the identity of applicants.

Use Niche Job Boards

Compared to using the general job boards, niche platforms will expose Company X to specialists who have the much-needed experience to jumpstart its operations in China.

 

 

References

Chan, J., & Selden, M. (2019). Labor legislation, workers, and the Chinese state. In Handbook of Protest and Resistance in China. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Espi, G., Francis, D., & Valodia, I. (2019). Gender inequality in the South African labour market: Insights from the Employment Equity Act data. Agenda33(4), 44-61.

Jensen, K. W., Liu, Y., & Schøtt, T. (2017). Entrepreneurs innovation bringing job satisfaction, work-family balance, and life satisfaction: In China and around the world. International Journal of Innovation Studies1(4), 193-206.

Kerdpitak, C., & Jermsittiparsert, K. (2020). The Influence of Organizational Culture, Employee Commitment and Organization Citizen Behaviour on the HRM Practices: Mediating Role of Perceived Organization Support. Systematic Reviews in Pharmacy11(1), 407-415.

Liu, S., Cheng, I., & Cheung, L. (2017). The roles of formal and informal institutions in small tourism business development in rural areas of South China. Sustainability9(7), 1194.

Liu, Y., & Meyer, K. E. (2020). Boundary spanners, HRM practices, and reverse knowledge transfer: The case of Chinese cross-border acquisitions. Journal of World Business55(2), 100958.

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