In coping with a rapidly changing business environment diversity should be self-pacing and self-generating to ensure lasting competitiveness. Explicit management and organisational processes are the mechanisms that help achieve this goal.
Training and development is an important management operation that facilitates the continuous supply of valuable and diverse Human Resources, as an increasingly young multicultural and diverse male and female workforce brings an important new phase of challenges to international organisations.
GENDER UNRELATED TO ACHIEVING INTERNATIONAL PERFORMANCE
I think that most Human Resources and senior management professionals believe that the generation of young men and women will be unsuccessful working abroad, and that those who do work abroad will not be accepted by the culture of the host country or perhaps do not possess the necessary skills for “success”.
Consequently, the organisation does not select young men and women for these positions. I have had management professionals, suggesting that it is naïve for a female to assume that she will have the same chance to succeed in a foreign post as her male counterpart; as it seems that this is caused by the stereotypical perceptions that exist in the world of global commerce.
Gender and diversity bias roles in the workplace can prevent employees from achieving equal considerations for placements abroad. If senior management or even peers have certain perceptions, views or stereotypes, it is likely that an individual does not to relocate. Such practices may counter-react against those men and women who originally applied to go abroad, as they may now feel that being selected is not probable and the likelihood of being able to pursue an international position, actively, will decrease; the so-called self-fulfilling prophecy.
Linehan who writes in her book, “Senior Female International Managers: Why So Few” that women are not as adept at requesting what they really need from higher senior managers.
DIVERSITY LEADERSHIP STYLES
However, there are many techniques to offset such factors by developing strategies that fit into the culture as well matching with the style of leadership. As there are managerial styles that are neither, masculine or feminine but are acceptable to both male and female colleagues, supervisors, and subordinates.
Certain things can be done by employer to help create and reinforce a diversity perception of the international manager’s competency, e.g. by giving the employees a title that reflects the status and position of power. They can also train nationals to recognise a particular gender or diversity group as the norm, with values and traditions to provide realistic expectations on both sides.
Of course there needs to be careful management of the process to make sure both sides get the best out of what can still be a significant investment and a significant personal commitment from the employee involved.
DIVERSITY STRATEGIES AND CHALLENGES
The various different leadership styles for both men and women are significant factors in organisational structures, globalisation and team-based management. I think that senior management mostly agree with what Scott writes in Brandser’s book – ‘Man is the hidden reference in language and culture; women can only aspire to be as good as man; there is no point trying to be as good as a woman’. This surely must give the females a real motivation boost to work in an international organisation.
However, if a diversity strategy is to prosper, now or in the future, management needs to be more culturally sensitive and promote employees through flexible leadership, reminding themselves of the challenges of diversity, thus developing employees who can successfully function in a global context, thereby creating a culture of global awareness, competitiveness and transparency.
(c) 2013 New To HR (a Human Resources Global company)
Written by Nicole Le Maire, Founder of NewTo HR, a company which is dedicated towards providing new and junior/young HR professionals with the skills and expertise required to thrive in the HR industry. We can be contacted via [email protected] or via twitter @NewToHR