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Business ethics entail a variety of human virtues that center around making business enterprises successful. Business ethics are also a form of applied ethics (naturally acquired ethics) or professional ethics (learned ethics) that help transnational human resource leaders carefully examine ethical principles and moral and ethical problems that arise in a business enterprise and the surrounding environment. In business enterprises, people ought to have the desired cognitive leeway or intelligences, which will assist them in their business ventures. These intelligences are linguistic, spatial, logical-mathematical, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, and intrapersonal and interpersonal. Interpersonal intelligence refers to one’s capability to develop a business by mobilizing all their abilities towards completing tasks (Elkin 2007). Intrapersonal intelligence is a person’s ability to relate with other partners or team players in a business enterprise, for example, the ability to relate well with other people through a friendly conversation and appropriate addressing of junior staff during general or departmental meetings.
There are five categories of cognitive minds that help in business ethics. One of them is the disciplined mind which focuses on one’s efforts. It encompasses the application of one’s attempts in a rather organized and disciplined way. The efforts that one applies do not need in any way to affect other people negatively; it would rather affect them positively to engineer their objectives and land on the set goals. Another category of the cognitive mind is the synthesizing mind. This category helps one in surveying a broad range of sources required in business ethics (Neal 1999). The decision of what ought to be done depends on what is important so that the priority of needs is set, as some things should be given immediate attention due to their sensitivity and importance (Hofstede 1992).
The third category of the cognitive mind is the creating mind. This category of the mind is quite useful, especially in areas where there is stiff competition. It will help in searching for new ideas and practices. It will also help in adopting a risk-taking attitude and aid in the discovery of innovations and opportunities (Joinson 1998). The respectful mind is the type of the cognitive mind that enables us to understand others in a business circle. The respectful mind also helps us to develop and have good listening skills and assists in the formation of friendships with other people.
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Another type of the cognitive mind is the ethical mind, which is associated with an individual’s conscience. With the help of the ethical mind, a person will be able to approach other people and react to different situations with ethical consideration. It enables a person to determine what kind of worker or citizen they want to be. The ethical mind is reinforced in an individual through their family teachings and the community at large. Unethical behavior is likely to negatively affect a business organization and spoil its reputation (Reilly & Karounos 2002).
In order to do well, business leaders should always believe that what they are doing is good for the organization. They should also make sure that they step back at a certain time and think carefully about the nature of their work. Moreover, business leaders should undergo trainings on a regular basis, as this will help them to rethink what they are doing for the betterment of their businesses. Since nobody is perfect, business leaders should consult a trusted advisor who is a member of the organization, someone outside the organization, or a truly independent board of trustees (Boone & Van Den Bosch, 1997).
Trans-Cultural Human Resource Leadership
When crossing cultural, national, functional, and business unit lines, the “business ethics and multiple intelligence” approach to human relations is an essential, irreplaceable ingredient for effectively appreciating and building trust and respect/reciprocity and managing international employees within the global organizational milieu that we now live in. Outward foreign direct investment in China from developing or third world countries has equally encouraged the country to access and initiate business ventures in these countries (Confucious film, 2011). Over the previous decade, Chinese multinational companies made enormous amounts of outward foreign direct investment (Tosey & Llewellyn, 2002). Nowadays, China is one of the leading foreign investors in the world. Recently some literature devoted to the Chinese international human resource management in Chinese enterprises has emerged.
The growth and development of Chinese trans-cultural human resource management / leadership have created unexplored challenges for Chinese multinational enterprises (MNEs). The implication of this is a significant development of Chinese international human resource management in Chinese enterprises that aim to found subsidiaries abroad. The emergence of Chinese international human resource management as a competitive player worldwide results in both opportunities and challenges for Chinese managers, multinational/transnational corporations, and international business leaders who would like to copy the Chinese way of business organization.
Line executives are more sensitive than human resource executives to the practicality of management issues, people management, and business issues. Thus, the human resource’s strategic orientation is the most critical and important area to be improved. Since 1991, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the People’s Republic of China has increased making it one of the world’s fastest developing economies. The country’s Gross Domestic Product has increased by 77%, and the annual Gross Domestic Product has increased by 12.1% over the last five years. Today China is the world’s largest supplier of coal, textiles, steel, and cement. Also, its power generation has ranked top among developed nations. With these developments, the People’s Republic of China has made an effort to create multinational firms and foreign joint ventures, which in turn creates avenues for the establishment of a “socialist market economy.” All business leaders have to have knowledge about international human resource management in order to deal effectively with issues resulting from departmental and managerial duties.
The increasing presence of Chinese business operations in foreign countries has created some unique problems with regard to the management of company workers and other related staff in such firms. The dynamic interplay between company/business and workers has transformed both the role and the importance of human resource functions in firms like these (Milhouse, Asante & Nwosu 2001). The human resource has and ought to adapt new international human resource management roles in order to cope with the increasing competitiveness thrust upon China and other countries where Chinese firms is based. With the opening of Chinese firms in foreign countries, new requirements have appeared as to how to manage the existing workforce that includes subordinate managerial workers and other manual laborers. There is one main factor that influences the existing human capital pool in the People’s Republic of China, which is the Cultural Revolution.
With the issues that characterize both the history of China and the current challenges encountered by multinational enterprises in managing businesses, it is evident that a new role of human resource managers has to be found. In the past, when the People’s Republic of China was founded back in 1949, the roles of human resource managers were absolutely different, as compared to today’s human resource managers. In the past, the role of human resource managers was traditional. The government had a centralized planning model, which entailed the state setting the wages and initiated the development of a unified labor allocation system. This had an influence on Chinese human resource officers operating in foreign countries because the government coerced them into following the same policies and principles in foreign countries (Yao, 2000).
This led to little improvement in the capital maximization, as human resource managers had little knowledge and experience in the benefit and importance of multiple intelligences in international human resource management. This includes crossing culture, that is, understanding the culture of the country in which the business firm is situated. Apart from the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, the government also created a labor allocation system, which in turn had little discretion for enterprises to hire laborers, fire them, and at the same time pay compensations to employees. The government or the state also influenced decisions, even in areas within China and foreign countries where discretion existed (Harzing & Pinnington 2011). This influence was through controlling the personnel function; therefore, it was not always effective for businesses operating in foreign lands. Following the opening of China to foreign companies and countries and the reforms in labor, the criteria used in the selection and promotion of human resource managers have changed. These changes are mainly focused on preparing Chinese trans-cultural human resource managers/leaders who will be able to operate in foreign countries and will be equipped with cross cultural skills in business, which will improve the performance of their firms in different foreign countries (Yum 2007).
Foreign multinational businesses are able to hire their own human resource executives in joint ventures. When Chinese firms are in foreign countries, they are able to expatriate managers and fill key positions (Nussbaum 2003). Following the movement from centralized economic planning by the government towards a quasi-market economy (decentralization), both the role of human resource managers and their importance have also increased dramatically. The new competitive environment and a large number of entrants to the market economy require a human resource manager who has skills and motivation derived from knowledge and experience in international human resource management. This is in an effort to tackle conflicts and other social and cultural clashes that might arise in the course of business administration.
China faces a constraint in high quality human capital, as opposed to financial and technical capitals. This is an example of how Chinese firms operating within China and in other countries need to focus well on the roles that human resource managers play in increasing the competitiveness of Chinese multinational businesses operating outside China (Tosey 1994). International human resource management skills will first enable them to gain knowledge of critical business issues facing their organization/firm. This means that a trans-cultural human resource leader/manager will be able to understand both the demands regarding the market place and other critical areas in which a business organization in the industry faces stiff competition (Bowden & Mulnix 2005).
The human resource manager should also know about some critical human resource issues that arise and relate to the actual dealing with some important business issues and ideals. This entails the understanding of how the human resource manager has contributed to the achievements of the business’s goals. The human resource manager should also have knowledge and experience based on their awareness of the current situations and state of affairs, as well as their functions. This requires the human resource personnel to be aware of the function needs in order to improve and address human resource issues that are critical in enabling the business organization to address business issues effectively.
Some of the business challenges that Chinese firms face are government regulations, the government approval process, and the Chinese culture that might be different from those of other people in different countries of operation. The effects of environmental uncertainty, that is, an uncertain and quick change in the market, need a human resource manager to have and be well-equipped with knowledge in trans-cultural human resource management / leadership in order to solve various conflicting issues that arise in the course of business administration (Confucious film, 2010) . Some other challenges include international relations, that is, interests of other partners in business ventures, methods used in the distribution of their products, and so on. Growing sales is another challenge to business efficiency, as they may lead to increased inflation rates of wages and general inflation in the country of operation. Recruiting and maintaining workers may also be a challenge, as most talented workers tend to be poached by other business firms. In case they are retained, they will demand a higher pay than other workers. Finally, one more challenge is to decide on the structure and strategies that should be implemented in the business firm.
In the past, human resource managers had to be like generational leaders, meaning that they had to understand all social and technological changes taking place, as compared to traditional managers who were conservative about business management. In today’s market, resources are mostly outsourced and one does not need to entirely rely on resources present in their land (Bonsal, 2008). Almost 45-50% of necessary resources will be available in other nations. Hence, in order to be effective, leaders need to be well versed in the knowledge of different cultures of other countries. This outsourcing of resources is done in countries where there are people from different cultures, families, sects, races, languages, different mindsets, and having various ideas. For a manager to be able to perform all trade activities, it is important to monitor all aspects of human differences, which is not considered in traditional stereotypical management styles.
A trans-cultural human resource manager should be able to handle conflicts arising as a result of different ideologies among members of the staff and workers, both casual and permanent employees. This should be resolved during regular meetings or through grape vines, which are informal organizations formed within a larger formal organization (Karsten & Illa 2005). A manager should respect and take into account all views of the interested parties in the idea development, as this will make all the parties fully satisfied with the meeting. Cosmo-managers, especially in such a country as China due to its fast growing economy, should consider interests of all people, but be focused on one thought process (Cameron & Quinn 2010). The assumption that a manager holds about people and an organization directly affects the organization.
For instance, a company that sells tricycles and scooters based in China is a troubleshooting call for American-based tricycles and scooter buyers and users. The same team comprises people from South Africa, China, Malaysia, the United States of America, France, Japan, and many other countries. They believe that China is not a strong English-speaking country, and thus tricycles and scooters technical support has employed people who can speak English well and who come from different nations. Thus, it is quite interesting to infer managers from an individual team’s activities and their respective thought processes (Uba 2010).
Best managers are made best by the organizations they work for rather than best business schools; hence, the organizational ideology they were born and raised in is vital in the management process. Considering the example provided above (tricycles and scooter), if manager Y in the Latin American business company of tricycles and scooters thinks that the team members they have are only performance driven, it works only if the manager is able to unite their her team members and encourage them to remain focused on their objectives and set goals. With regard to the social aspect of management, that is, how the manager relates with their team members, there is a connection between the team members’ attitude to the manager and their completing the task. Hence, business leaders need to be knowledgeable about solving group conflicts, tensions, and other social vices and misunderstandings.
The value of emotional intelligence at work
Emotional intelligence is causal attributions that individuals make when confronted with a failure or some professional setbacks. Trans-cultural human resource managers / leaders should have valuable knowledge that will help them to cope with contradictions and tensions in the workplace. Trans-cultural human resource managers / leaders also need to be well conversant with and make causal attributions in their global business venture. The ability to handle work-related stress and control emotions is another aspect that is closely related with emotional intelligence (Cooper & Slagmulder 1997). The manager’s ability to control feelings and handle stress enables the business to increase its productivity. Through this, the sales per square foot, per employee, and per the Chinese yen also increase. Emotional intelligence has to do with knowing when to express emotions and how to control them.
Conclusion and Recommendation
Different cultures have different ways of expressing their emotions. Thus, human resource managers are required to have trans-cultural knowledge of cultural diversities. This will also enable business leaders (managers) to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships with their subordinates. In the process of venturing into business activities within and outside their countries, business leaders (human resource managers) need to have empathy, which is another aspect of emotional intelligence (Balmer & Greyser 2003). This entails the process where managers try to put themselves in the position of their clients while considering their products. Emotional intelligence by itself may not be a strong indicator of job performance, but rather it helps to provide the bedrock for competencies in business activities by different firms. Human resource managers also need to differentiate between emotional competence and intelligence, Emotional competence refers mostly to social skills that an individual has and that lead to excellent performance in the world of business and in the workplace.
Emotional competence is linked to the emotional intelligence that a manager has. These skills are sure to help human resource managers in dealing with their daily activities. One needs a certain emotional intelligence level in order to learn emotional competencies. For example, if one has the ability to recognize and learn what the other person is feeling, this enables them to gain a certain competence skill, for instance, influence (Douglass, 2007). Influence here, as a virtue of leaders, will then enable managers to communicate their idea and encourage their followers to abide by or adhere to it. Being able to control and regulate emotions enables human resource managers to develop some of the following competency skills: initiative skills and / or achievement drive. Initiative skills will enable the manger to set desirable goals and work out the most effective ways of achieving them.
Emotional and social competencies help to establish whether the business will be able to achieve its goals and objectives or not (Burkoff 2011). Furthermore, as the pace of changes in the business world and the general world of work increases, demands also increase on a person’s cognitive, emotional, and physical resources. Trans-cultural human resource managers need to have all these sets of abilities in order to be able to predict and solve problems associated with tensions and contradictions in the business organization. With the help of the knowledge about trans-cultural human resource leadership, international human resource managers will be able to cope with the ambiguity of today’s business environment and international human resource management.