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The individual portfolio is intended to enable students to develop their critical and reflective
thinking. The portfolio should be made up of 4 elements (or chapters):
I. First country study (800 – 1000 words)
II. Second country study (800 – 1000 words)
III. Evaluation of the country studies (1000 words)
IV. Reflective Statement (1,500 words)
The country studies
The two country studies should be based on countries that have very different systems such
as the UK and Germany, Germany and France, US and Russia, Brazil and Canada, Brazil
and China (please see a tutor to agree your choices).
Each country study should:
a) Identify the factors (this may include such areas as economic system, corporate
governance, employee relations system, approaches to equal
opportunities/diversity as well as others) that influence the approaches to
managing people in that country.
b) Discuss how these factors shape HRM strategy and practice.
The evaluation of the country studies
This should compare and contrast the two case studies in order to evaluate the opportunities
and challenges that an organisation would face operating in these countries. This should
draw on your understanding of the purpose of HRM as well as course themes.
The reflective statement
The purpose of this reflective assessment is for you to identify the impact of the module on
your understanding and development as well as focusing on what concrete measure will
increase your performance both as a student and as a practitioner.
The statement should reflect on:
a) The most important things (knowledge or skills) you have learnt over the module
and why these are important to you.
b) The implications of these things and particularly how these will be useful to you in
c) The development of your own learning and thinking during the module and how you
France and Germany
Different institutions of corporate governance produce different output that differ due to unique decision-making process, patterns of adjustment, and the value added among the various parties. The sustainability of institutions in any country is determined by the national system of corporate governance. Organization of various activities in any institution can contribute to resilience of domestic institutions. The organization of the workplace involves the micro issues and the role of labor in corporate governance. All employees must align to the jobs demands and the workers competencies. This is a challenge to most firms in these two countries as the basic performance of the companies is determined by the correct match between the tasks and the competencies. It is also important for employers of these organizations to monitor the workforce through performance tasks in different work environment (Pierre & Peters 2000).
The German social model includes a social cohesion, high competition and decreased level of social inequality. Majority of German market are politically instituted and socially controlled to provide a competitive market across the world. However, globalization has brought great changes to the market through the rising technology and integration of financial markets. The rise in technology has created pressure on Germany economy as a result of increased products in the market (Weber & Kabst 2000). On the other hand, integration of financial markets raises the pressure on capital market. In the last few decades, European capital market has realized changes through internalization of world financial markets and more so, implementation of different political reforms. This paper will analyze the various issues that influence the management of people in both France and Germany.
CHAPTER I. GERMANY
The Corporate Governance in Germany
The manner in which corporations are managed and rationalized can have an impact on society. For example, large corporate have great impact to the society as they are able to provide job opportunities to many people thus developing part of economy’s wealth. Therefore, these firms can form the face of our society or social institutions which determines the relationship between economy and society. For long period, the corporate governance system has been recognized as an insider-control and a stakeholders-oriented system. However, this has changed with time as internalization has forced many countries to adapt to corporate governance system that follows the capita market based Anglo-Saxon model. This system has been realized in corporate such as big universal banks. For German corporate governance system model, it is based on two main pillars which include the Dual-Board Institution and Separation of Management and Supervision (Weber & Kabst 2000). Under the dual-board institution governance structure, the management board (Vorstand) and the supervisor council (Aufsichtsrat) have different functions. This structure prohibits a member from on body to participate in other bodies. The management board is responsible for directing different activities and on the other hand, the supervisory council has responsibility of appointing, dismissing, and supervising the management board. In addition, the supervisory council has the duty of analyzing the corporation’s financial records.
Germany has an open economy that is highly depend on industrial sector, producing a third of its gross domestic products for foreign market. The economy is characterized by social protection and great effort from the state’s role. Due to this kind of openness, the state is influenced by the intense global competition. Therefore, the Economic decisions are subject to the state’s need to compete in the global economy. Protection exists in different sectors of the German economy, particularly on individuals (Freedman & Jaggi 2010). For example, this has been done through social security for heath care, old-age pensions, unemployment, nursing care, and social welfare. However, those employed are also protected with respect to their jobs and income as negotiated by the trade unions, the social partners, and employer’s associations. On the other hand, Germany’s labor market is heavily regulated. In addition, people are protected from completion by institutional forms of governance in the Germany system. The management of firms is done by various parties that include employees’ and union representatives in the supervisory boards of directors and workers’ council. On the other hand, firms mainly receive their capital through a bank-based system and via government administrative planning approach. Government has a great impact on the Germany economy as half of the GDP passes through it. There are factors that lead to forces of global capitalism within institutions that are a regulated by the social market economy. The German government has been a dilemma of implementing liberal or non-liberal modes of regulation. In liberal system of regulation, the features tend to oppose rigid regulations of the labor market like obligatory social security and dismissal protection from both employee and employer.
Approaches to Equal Opportunities/Diversity
Both countries operate under a common community (European Union). Therefore, both have approaches to equal opportunities since they have common regulation and organization. For instance, they share the same industrial regulation system. They also share the same European single currency and this give them great benefits in terms of stability in currency, European identity and more so, low cost of trade. The European Works Councils meet yearly in order to share information and discussing on various economic and social developments. Although, there is a common framework for European countries and similarities in the systems of industrial relations, industrial relationship in both France and Germany may differ a lot. This is as a result of difference in the path of dependency and directions towards development based on their own situation. Both countries may differ from the aspects of labor market, employers association, trade unions, collective bargaining, or government’s roles and regulations.
Employment Relationship in Germany
German employment relationship is characterized by a “decommodification” of labor. Since German is recognized to have the most successful economies in Europe, employees tend to be highly skilled and their training is conducted through a multi-employer and quasi-public system of occupation training. Employees are graded largely according to their level of qualification. There is also income differential between the top management and production employees. Work councils ensure that workers who have attained certain qualifications acquire jobs and prevent skilled workers from being categorized to unskilled jobs. Majority of employees in German have interest to form a reliable relationship with trade unions (Freedman & Jaggi 2010). This enables the workers in different firms to react on static negotiations with employers by forming strikes and lockouts. This employee’s relationship has shown an increase in compliance from employers and pushing back strikes as they harm the company at large. There is another trend that has been noted in German, this is about the growth of temporary work where companies can increase their work force during the peak-season. This has resulted to exploitation of the employees. For instance, such jobs can be associated with low wages, negligible job security, minimal benefits, no job prospects, and little training. On the other hand, temporary and triangular employment relationship can increase possibilities of reducing unemployment rate, hiring, and training cost (Freedman & Jaggi 2010).
CHAPTER II. FRANCE
Proper corporate governance has become a key value driver of enhancing the country’s economic reputation among its financial and industrial partners. Many companies in French Republican have lately switched to operating by governance. Almost all French organizations are handled by the general managers who are responsible for shareholders and other investors. The shareholders and investors have been given necessary powers and during the AGMs, they make most important corporate decisions. The French regulators develop a general framework for corporate governance and this can have other company governance organs to perform certain duties. Therefore, the French companies can select a one-tier or a two-tier board system. These organizations can also decide to separate or combine the functions of the chairman or the Chief Executive Officer. However, the regulation of governance in the recent years been developed by reference to soft legal guidelines. These guidelines are complied in the corporate governance codes which are provided by the private organizations. Therefore, the type of corporate governance in France is one that balances the powers, and which ensure there is board performance and transparency of corporate practices. Each board of director has a specific role to play in the organization. The progress achieved in improving French corporate governance in different companies is an evident balanced power of governance. This results to transparency of practices and this contributes to competitiveness and high performance of the companies in the France.
There is increasing recognition of economic globalization that generates patterns of both economic convergence and divergence. France global environment is characterized by the increasing mobility of foreign capital and talents. However, the government has decided to strengthen its policy of attracting foreign investment and promoting France. The current bill and related measures firms throughout France with the means to take action and boost employment (Freedman & Jaggi 2010).
Employee Relationship System
The employee relationship system in France helps those working in various companies in the following ways. First, through trade unions movement although is regarded as one of the weakest in European with only 8 percent of the workers joining this unions. Despite the low membership and traded unions, they can mobilize French workers to great effects. Secondly, the employees are in a position for collective bargaining in the company, industrial and national level. Each level, there are details and rules on who is responsible for bargaining and ensure that the agreement is valid. However, the industry level agreement is the most important for negotiation although in many cases, the rate they set are below the actual figure that they should get. Thirdly, the system enables employees to have a workplace representation. However, France has been known to have the most complex system of employee representation compared to other countries in Europe. For example, the entire representatives of trade unions and their structures are directly elected by all workforces. The legislation that was passed in 2013 allowed representative of employees at board level. It was later expanded in 2015 where it allowed the large companies to represent at least an individual at the board level (Freedman & Jaggi 2010). Fourthly, the European-level representation allows representatives from European Works Councils as well as the European Company bodies to be selected by the unions. However, there is exception of board level representatives in the European Company where the representative body decides how the leaders should be selected. In addition, there is health and safety representatives which are the most important input for employees at this sector. The committee must be consulted and analyze various issues that demands an outside expert who handles the case. Finally, France has been known to be leading in participation of schemes unlike other European countries. This is as a result of requirement of those companies with more than 50 employees to abide to the law that offers a profit-sharing scheme.
Approaches To Equal Opportunities/Diversity
Workforce diversity acknowledges that people differ in various ways. They may differ in terms of age, gender, social statues, color, marital statues, religion, ethnicity and culture. The predominant diversity across European countries is different. Therefore, organization understands that they require skilled labor in order to take the competitive advantage of flexibility in the business environment. For the last few years, a national debate has emerged in France on diversity and to some extent the issue of diversity as a “business case.” For many years, the issue on equal opportunity between men and women has been a major debate in France (Weber & Kabst 2000). This has been contributed by the increasing awareness of the challenges connected to French model of equality and integration of immigrants, and more so, equality of rights for all citizens. The government policy intervention on equality on employment comes in different dimensions. One is the human rights which are based on ethical stance of justice, equality, and fair treatment regardless of age, gender, race and sexuality. Second dimension involves cost-effectiveness and efficiency. This kind of discrimination may affect employer as they fail to employ the best inputs in their firms. In addition, there is political and social cost to discrimination that a society as a whole bears. Thirdly, involves the kind of human capital argument which adds value to labor force by developing a wider range of experience.
CHAPTER III EVALUATION of the COUNTRY STUDIES
Human resource management is an important tool for the success of any business. It involves the collection of policies that help in organizing various activities and manage people who undertake this work. To have appropriate Human Resource Management, the top management should select the most suitable workforce to the right place. The practice of Human Resource Management may differ in German and France due to the factors discussed above. Each factor shapes the HRM in its unique way. The major difference is in terms of different approach to capitalism in German and France business system. For instance, France applies an outsider-shareholders focused approach to capitalism unlike Germany which uses the insider-stakeholder approach. This means that firms and other organizations in France focus on shareholders’ interest. The above factors also shaped the HRM in terms of states regulation. In other words, the manner in which firms in Germany and France associate with the states is different. However, states are playing important role to the state’s business system. In Germany, the state uses a “bargaining corporatism” and this makes the government to have stronger intervention to its economic activities. In addition, the German state embraces collective organization and representative of its workers. Thus, employees from different organizations are involved in decision making process. Unlike Germany state’s regulation, France does not have a bargained corporatism. Instead, it has its own “corporatism.” The link between employees unions and organizations is only applicable at enterprise level. France lack authoritative trade union at political level and this makes it different from German state regulation.
German’s firms obtain its finance from cross-investments. There is good relationship between the companies and financial organizations such as commercial banks. On the other hand, the system in France allows transparency and balance of power within the firms. Therefore, this has developed a good relationship organizations and financial organizations which help them to rise their capital for expansion. The two states have different market economic system. For instance, France operates under liberal market economic system while German works under corporate market economic system (Pierre & Peters 2000).
These differences influenced the Human Resource Management models as well as Human resource practices. The France business system is depends highly on individualism and thus trade-unionism is not well developed as that of German. In Germany, the presence of unions is crucial. However, this is different in France where legislation force firms to have a certain size of employee in order to consult trade unions in certain circumstances (Marginson 2004).
Human Resource Management uses the matching model to ensure that most suitable individual is located at the right place. In general, the matching model means that the internal situation is matching to the external environment which includes the cultural forces, economic forces, as well as political forces. Internal situation of a company involves the connection between strategy and mission, human resource management, and organization structure. However, HRM deals with recruitment, selection, training and development, communication, reward, goals and performance management. Let’s take a German as an example, and how the HR practice in different firms (Pollitt & Bouckaert 2000).
This is an important element of HRM in selecting workforce carefully. The selection method involves, interview, tests, and assessment (Pollitt & Bouckaert 2000). The common method of selecting worker in German’s firms is the initial screening of application documents. The second step is to interviewing the applicants who qualified in the initial process. Formal tests and assessment are used mainly for selecting management trainees.
A well trained workforce is also considered as an important tool for HRM. To achieve this, firms should invest in training their employees and help the organization to attain its function of flexibility (Marginson 2004).
The continuation of performance appraisal systems in various organizations in Germany differs significantly in terms of industries and type of employees (Beardwell & Claydon 2010). For instance, majority of the organization in the field of financial and chemical services provide rewarding system. However, there is the tendency of worker’s representatives to deny formal appraisal systems as they argues that this will develop great pressure to employees particularly when the appraisal is connected to compensation.
From such differences on social cultures, it makes HR practices different from the two countries. The HR practices in France firms tend to follow the communitarian system and group oriented unlike those based in Germany that believes in individualism (Beardwell & Claydon 2010). On the other hand, those working in France are rewarded based on group performance unlike those in Germany that uses individual achievements. Some of the companies in France that market economy, they tend to focus on short term financial performance. The liberal market economy system allows firms to increase the short-term competitive advantage, freedom to manage employees, and pay employees based on individual performance. On the other hand firms in German that operate in corporate market economy tend to focus on long-run performance and aim on investment strategies which involves product and innovation. On corporate market economic system, workers view their employees as a form of competitive advantage towards the market. The market economic system main focus includes training and development. Under this system, there is constraint of managerial freedom due to state regulations, but employees are involved in the firm’s decision making process (Pollitt & Bouckaert 2000).
CHAPTER IV REFLECTIVE STATEMENT
Through this study, I now understand that corporate governance is carried out employee and managers of the company to ensure that there is effective operation which will help them achieve their own interests. I also understand that Anglo-Saxon model in the interest of shareholders and it main aim is to maximize the company’s profit. I also learnt that in Anglo-Saxon model ownership of the firms belongs to individuals. On the other hand, by studying about German’s corporate governance, I have learned that in the German kind of corporate governance, the firms’ interest is not only focused on shareholders but other interested groups such as managers, the state, employees of the firms, and other business partners operating with firms. In addition, I have gained enough knowledge about the system of industrial relationship in both Germany and France. The system of industrial relationship includes institutions that are involved in hiring employees and the use of labor. For example, in German model is characterized by major roles ot trade unions through regulations of industrial relations. This study has shown that collective negotiations at national and branch levels are carried out by trade unions. Therefore, unions acts as represent workers from different firms and ensure their rights are respected. More so, the trade unions ensures that there social protection and health care is provided to all workers in the countries. For example, there are rules and concerning assurance with regard to space, working hours, safety, and protection from hazards. I have also learned that there are two parallel systems that regulate labor relations. They include the institutionalized and legally enshrined systems which allow workers to participate ownership and management of enterprises and more so, representation of employees in the supervisory board. The trade unions also ensure that the body representing the interests and rights of the hired workers are achieved. I now understand that Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism is characterized by the flexible labor markets and provision of an individual employee’s salary. In addition, this model has high differentiation between the wages of the senior staffs and employees of the firms. Firms in liberal market economies depend heavily on relationship developed between the employers and workers (Pollitt & Bouckaert 2000). Therefore, the top management who are operating under this model, they have unilateral control on various activities of the firm as well as the freedom to high and fire workers. Another lesson I learnt is that unlike the German model, Anglo-Saxon is characterized by decentralization of labor relations, weak acting of trade unions and work councils, as well as the short-time hiring of the employees. More so, I now understand that the inter-firm relations are a key determinant of the type of competition in the market. Therefore, any entrepreneur can understand the impact he or she can bring in both local and global market. This will help me to sharpen my skills of entrepreneurship.
On the other hand, I now understand that German model or non-liberal system is characterized by closer inter-firm linkages, coordinated interaction, and long-term cooperation. This study has also showed that business self-regulation function in Germany is performed by professional associations while liberal that is used in France is based on standard market relationship and more so, it is enforced by formal contracts. I also understand that the Anglo-Saxon model have same functions like that of liberal capitalism and treat business and firms as independent. Therefore, the labor market tends to be flexible in changing market and characterized by many workers. Therefore, countries applying this system are more likely to adapt to the new market or change their current business thus continue operating in a competitive market. Therefore, through this study, I gained an important skill which is needed in business management.
Another lesson I have learned through this study is about social protection. In the two types of capitalism used in France and German are different. For instance, in Anglo-Saxon model the level of social protection is very low. In liberals, the states play minimal social protection of citizens and directed to the most needy. As a result, countries that practices liberalism are likely to have a higher level of social stratification of the population. This study has helped me to understand that accumulating wealth can be achieved by maintaining an efficient economy in the country. Therefore, as a person interested in human resource management, I can support that German model is socially oriented market economy. Unlike the Anglo-Saxon model, the German model pays special attention to social protection as this is a requirement for effective economic policy and mechanism that is need in investment of human capital. The study has also demonstrated the social market economy in both states and its effectiveness and how it has provided a more technical, economic, civilized, and social progress to these states. Therefore, this knowledge can prepare someone to be a good manager in a firm and ensure that the organization operates effectively and towards economic growth of the country. This has really taught me how important our firms are towards economic growth.
Through this study, I now understand the important of having an effective education and training system responsible for enhancing skills of workers and professionals. Implementing a good system can lead to better economy. A proper education and training system helps in providing the staff members with the necessary skills and information. As a result, the firm provides quality services to their client. This study has shown that the German model of capitalism, the education system is characterized by appropriate vocational training of workers. The model ensures that all the staff members acquire all the necessary knowledge and skills needed in the firms. The studies also showed how German model involves standardize and certify skills within a firm. These practices ensure that every worker is fit to the assigned duties. Since I intend to undertake a course in human resource management, this study will have sharpened my mind on the importance of employing qualified personnel in a company. Such benefits have been analyzed in this study. Therefore, this is another skill that I have gained through this study. On the other hand, France that uses the Anglo-Saxon model education system is different from that used in Germany as it is characterized by getting generic skills through formal education. In this case, investment on preparation of workers is made via investment of individuals. This has helped me to get better understanding of how the two systems of education have impact to the firms. Therefore, as a manager, I will understand the best strategies to used to enhance education of the staffs and ensure that they have a positive impact to the company.
I also gained knowledge on how innovation process plays an important role in the economic policy of the current states. In France where Anglo-Saxon model is practiced, the management system focuses on radical innovations. In those industries that are rapidly growing and developing high technology such as corporate finance, telecommunication, computer software among others, they uses radical innovations. This might be the reason for that such countries uses large proportions of venture on innovation which leads to development of various sector in the state. This has helped me to understand the importance of investing on innovations and the benefits it might bring to the company. I have also received an important idea that all workers, employers, and other interested parties must be involved in order to realize improvement on innovation. I have learned the need to allocate some funds for innovation during budgeting.
In general, through the comparative analyses mentioned above, I can list distinctive features that can be applied in management. Such features can help me to be a well equipped Human Resource manager in the future and mobilize people towards the goals of the firm. Through wide range of ideas, it might result to organized activities in the firm and deliverance of quality services to the client. Through this study, I have learned that the training of the workers is conducted at a level of general knowledge and skills obtained in formal education. Therefore, this idea can help me to appropriately use the amount in the allocated for training by directing them to the necessary sectors, thus utilize the resources of the firm. Such skills can help to increase the profit realization of a firm. On the other hand, I have learned that there is the need to specialize depending on the individuals and their possibilities to adapt to the system.
In general, I have learned that German and France firm’s differ in the level of cooperation. For example, they have different corporation in terms of employment of labor forces, development of firms, trade unions, and social norms. The big difference being the role assigned to vocational training of employees. In addition, German differ from France through the socially focused economy, developed systems of social protection f citizens, strong social policies, and high level of redistribution of incomes. However, both countries have embraced innovation process to improve on the current technology.
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Freedman, M., & Jaggi, B 2010. Sustainability, environmental performance and disclosures. Bingley, Emerald.
Marginson, P. 2004.The Eurocompany and European works councils, in A.W. Harzing and J.Van Ruysseveldt (eds) international human resource management. London: Saga publications
Pierre, J., & Peters, B.G 2000. Governance, Politics and the State. London: Macmillan Press.
Pollitt, C., & Bouckaert, G 2000. Public Management Reform. A Comparative Analysis. Oxford: University Press.
Weber, W., & Kabst, R. 2000. Personal management in international verglei. Paderborn: University of Paderborn.