Saturday, February 28, 2009

Google it!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I dont know man but Google has simple changed the way people used to think of anything. Today I attended a presentation by a google representative and to my surprise he gave me two new concepts. I used to think that I am one of the most techy person around, among the business graduates. But Google really has alot to offer. 
Two new things I learned today were

Google Insights :
Wow! What a wonderful tool it is. You type the keywords and you analyze the how many times we it has been searched on google and use it for your Search engine optimization. I have tried this and it gives you a detailed analysis of what you are searching and analyzing for. And most important and interesting thing is, they are offering this tool for free. I am still figuring out, where the hell they are earning from. They have given you the tools for free and the only source I can think of is Google Adsense and Adwords. Well I believe Google still has lot of offer but the things they have given to their consumers are simply awesome like gmail, search engine and the latest addition is chrome

Google Analytics
Another wonderful tool which is also free is Google analytics. Have you ever think how many people daily visit your site, how much time they spend and what is the percentage of people who just see the website and close it. Google analytics gives you all this. All you have to do is to copy a small code in your homepage HTML file and you will get this all. But the analysis doesnt end here.  Google analytics is a world which gives you so many things about your website that you can easily make stratgies and marketing plans for further pursual.

Monday, February 16, 2009

HRD and Globalization

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cross cultural Preparation

‘Cross cultural preparation’ educates employees (expatriates) and their families who are to be sent to a foreign country. To meet with the globalization needs these employees must understand the different business practices and the cultural norms of different countries. To prepare employees for cross cultural assignments, companies need to give cross cultural trainings. Many big companies do mistakes by sending their employees on foreign assignments without any preparation. As a result problems arise and many of them return back without completing the given assignments. To succeed globally, an expatriate needs to be

  • Aware of the new culture and has learned about all the factors discussed above in context to the new culture he is going to
  • Competent in his/her areas of expertise
  • Having motivation to succeed, and tolerance, un biasness and flexibility for the new culture.

One of the reasons for high failure of these expatriate is that companies place more emphasis on developing the hardcore technical skills of these employees not considering the factor of cultural understanding which is even more important in this case. Training is essential for this cross cultural preparation.

Cross cultural Training

Before leaving for the new place employees need to be get trained about the language, culture and custom etc. Participation of the employee’s family in these training is also very important. These expatriates should be told by the HRD that how this foreign assignment will fit in their career plans and what can they expect from the company upon returning back. There are several techniques for cross cultural training. Methods range from presentation techniques such as lectures which the expatriate and their families receive, attending culturally diverse communities in the home country, experiential exercises which is a mini culture experience.

This cross cultural training continues when the expatriate reach the host country. There again orientation to the customs and culture is given to them. Some times expatriates and their families are paired with an employee in the host country, who helps them understand this new environment. HRD role doesn’t ends here. HRD has to prepare expatriate for return to the parent company. Here employees are encourages to self-manage the repatriation process.

Diversity Training

‘Equal employment opportunity’ and ‘Affirmative action plan’ (An action plan to increase minority representation) are important but not enough to deal with diversity. To successfully manage a diverse workforce companies need to ensure that

  • Employees understand that their behaviors and stereotypes influence their behavior towards other employees of different gender, ethnic , religious backgrounds etc.
  • Employees consider cultural differences to be natural and accept them.
  • Behaviors of employees should be improved towards diverse workforce

All these points can be accomplished through diversity training programs. Basically these programs are designed to change the behavior/attitudes of employees and develop behaviors to work with diverse workforce.

Attitude awareness and change programs

These programs are designed to create awareness among employees about the differences in cultural back grounds, ethnicity, or personal characteristics which influence behavior towards others. The thinking behind these programs is that it would help employees to avoid negative stereotypes when working with diverse workforce. These programs help employees to examine the cultural difference among work force, their attitude towards minorities etc. Video tapes and experiential exercises are used to create awareness of negative stereotypes effect on minority.

Behavior based programs

These are the programs use to change those behaviors which ultimately create hindrance in personal growth and productivity.

One approach is to ask the employees (create focus groups) to point out the incidents in which situations of employees differences were handled unfairly. Furthermore specific training programs are developed by HRD to address the issues presented by the focus groups. Another approach is to train the employees about the basic behaviors they need to have in the workforce. E.g. managers and employees should learn to avoid statements containing negative racial, sexual and cultural content. Another important behavior based approach is the ‘Cultural immersion programs’. In these programs employees are sent into different cultural, racial and national communities so that their living styles can be studied. The degree of interaction varies and may involve talking with community members, working in community organization or just learning about their culture. Behavior modeling techniques are often used in which one interpersonal skill is highlighted. Each training session presents rationale behind key behaviors, a role model performs those key behaviors in video tape and then a session is devoted in learning how these behaviors can be used in jobs.

Team building methods

These methods are designed to improve team or group effectiveness. Talking about globalization and diversity, people from different origins and cultural backgrounds have to work together in teams so these methods are very useful. Group building methods help teams increase their skills for effective team work. In this regard a couple of team building techniques to understand people’s feelings, perceptions, beliefs while working in groups. Team building methods often involve experiential learning. Team building methods include adventure learning (through outdoor activities), team training and action learning (working on an actual plan).

Masculinity Vs Femininity(Pakistani Context)

There are some factors which we have to consider when we talk about Masculinity and Femininity in any particular culture.

1. Proportion of the gender having more or equal dominance
2. Values held by the different genders
3. Expectations of organizational roles for each gender
4. Contribution of each gender in Decision making
5. Influence of the religion
6. Degree of competitiveness and Assertiveness in genders
Now I will discuss them one by one according to the Pakistani culture
Proportion of the gender having more or equal dominance
The definition of dominance is an individual's preferential access to resources over another. Clearly, if males dominate females, it is to restrict mating opportunities for other males. Dominance is measured by the number of times individuals defer to one another in social or other interactions

This factor has lot to do with the population factor. There are three major cities of Pakistan for which the issue is quite discussable; otherwise if we talk about the major population of Pakistan, Male has the dominance because of many factors. Remember that it is not possible to have the full dominance of any gender in any society. So in this context we have to think which gender has a greater impact comparatively. Now if we talk about the Pakistani culture, Male is normally the sole earner of the family or sometimes there are more than one man who is earning for his family. Another factor that leads to dominance is power. The more a person has the power, the more likelihood of dominance will be there.
The power can be achieved through many sources. One very conventional source is the power through position. So if we closely look at our society, there are more males than females who have the power through position. There are more number of politicians, high level managers and CEOs who are at the top position which shows the male dominance in the society. Now if we follow the above mentioned definition, I cannot find a single profession which has the female dominance until it is something which can only be done by females. The example I had in my mind was Doctors who have specialized in Gynecology. There must be many of course, but still if we safely assume, there are more number of males in any profession than females.
Values held by the different genders
This factor has to do with the importance that a particular gender gives when he/she is working in an environment. Hofstede conducted a research in Canada and China where noted that in a work setting, males value "advancement, earnings, training, up-to-dateness” while females value “friendly atmosphere, position security, physical conditions and manager cooperation” Now if we take the example of Pakistani gender in a work environment, we have to think what both genders value more in a work setting. Salary is an aspect which has the equal importance for both.

But if we talk about the other aspects, Females also look for a friendly work environment where their managers are more cooperative while males are more concerned with growth in an organization. In general, Pakistani women are virtuous, painstaking, graceful, homely, and selfless and God-fearing than western women. As we have discussed earlier that there are more males in Pakistan who are at the top position than females so these factors could be one of the reasons.

Expectations of organizational roles for each gender
For this factor, I have asked 20 people from different background that what role they expect from each gender. I will divide them into three categories. One is Conservatives, other is Mediocres and the third group is Elite group. Three of them gave me three different answers. Conservatives said that there is no need for female to work if the male of the family is earning and it is not at all a good practice that our females go to workplace and work side by side with males. The second group is Mediocres, who believe that Women should work, but they have defined certain roles for women and men. They said that Male can do any sort of work but there are some restrictions for females. They can work in professions like Teaching, Teaching and Teaching. When I asked them what else, they have no answer at all but they have added one thing that Professions like Teaching. The third and the last group is the Elite class of our society who talked about the women and men equality. They have their reservations that women cannot do labor kind of work but otherwise, if we talk about the work setting which we have discussed previously, if the above conditions applied for females, they can work anywhere. Unfortunately, most of the people belong to Mediocre when I conducted this survey and it is the fact that our society mostly wants females to work as a teacher. This doesn’t look quite obvious, if we see our overall environment and our perceptual field, but that is true because most of our population belongs to rural areas.
Contribution of each gender in Decision making
This aspect has more to do with our family setting rather than the work setting because in Work setting there are other certain factors that are pertaining for example designation. When we look our family settings, it is very clear that male has a very dominant position while making any kind of decision. Yes, females are there just to support the decision or give there suggestions, but in the end it’s the male choice to accept this or not. Also this factor has nothing to do with any kind of group. This practice is very common in all type of classes.
Influence of the religion
There are certain restrictions by our religion that Women cannot do any kind of job. There are many different views of different Muslim Scholars. Some says that she can work under some circumstances that she should be provided with secure transportation and should not cross the religious limits as she will be working with men too.
Degree of competitiveness and Assertiveness in genders
The last factor deals with the degree of competitiveness and assertiveness in both genders. Now this factor has certain intricacies. If we look at our environment, we found women as good as males. They are not just competent but also they are very assertive. Research has proved that females are equally competent in terms of mindset as males. But in Pakistani context, when we are discussing this issue, we have analyzed it with two major factors; one is the exposure each gender gets and the other is level of education each gender achieves. There is a trend that is developing now a days to educate women in rural areas but still a lot of work has to be done in order to change the perception who represent a major population of Pakistan. In major cities, we see a trend is emerging to educate their females equivalent to males. But I have seen many girls who still sacrifices for their education and let their brothers go for higher education. If we are taking the example of our university only where the gender ratio is almost the same, we can safely assume that degree of competitiveness and assertiveness is the same. But there is a point which I would like to make that in my two years of MBA; I have seen five to six marriages of my female class fellows. All of them were good at studies and GPA holders. To my surprise, none of them is working any where, hence they are not contributing their competitiveness to the society so what was the purpose of getting good GPAs.
Upbringing of a Male who becomes dominant by the Female who is less dominant
The question was How a Male becomes dominant when he is brought up by a female who is less dominant in our society. I believe we as Pakistani are living in a Collectivist Society. So the upbringing is not just by the mother but it’s the whole family system that is coming in our system from a very long time. We are taught from the very beginning to respect elders and the people around you. The whole family system has values which are mostly common in every family system in our society. I have seen this many times in my life that when someone lacks something, he/she wants his next generation not be what he/she used to be. For example, a teacher who gives you immense workload, if he doesn’t work hard in his student life and because of that he has suffered a lot and he doesn’t want his students to have this same inferiority. I have seen many women who haven’t gone to school when they were young; they have a greater desire than those who are educated to educate their children as much as they can.So the same is true in terms of dominance. In my opinion, it’s a human nature that these inferiority complexes are motivation of the upbringing of a child that is common in Pakistan. Women anywhere in the world want two things for sure regardless of the culture; one is security and other is good behavior.Although research has proved that Women are as competent as males, but still women cannot compare themselves in terms of power and stamina. So they are dependent on males for many reasons, even if they are working somewhere. So the first thing can be inferiority complexes and the second thing is the social values that are coming from generation to generation. We are taught from our childhood that a male can only be the head of the family and he should have a control over it. The mothers taught them that you will be the earner for us in the future, so with the time being he becomes dominant and moredominant. So the kid is not just brought up by the mothers, it’s actually the whole ritual and value system that has an effect on the kid upbringing. Moreover, he got influence from his peers and the happenings around him that how man is more influential than female.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Design by Pocket