Assessment 1: Portfolio report (40%) Overview The main objective of this assignment is to allow students to evaluate and experience both the theory and practice of international human resource management within the global context. The principal objective of using the scenario method is to acquaint the student with situations that might be encountered in a real business environment.
Details PORTFOLIO:A REFERENCED REPORT
The scenario method
The case study presented here is a plausible (but fictitious) scenario of real life situations that may confront a human resource professional in any industry. This scenario does not include analysis and conclusions, but only facts which have been gathered from a variety of sources, including real life experiences by manufacturing managers, text-books, journal articles, conferences and seminars. Students are expected to identify credible courses of action; and formulate strategy and recommendations. In so doing students will need to read widely, both academic, and practitioner literature, keep an eye on various media sources and discuss the pertinent issues, with their tutor,
other class colleagues, their family and the wider community. This Portfolio Report will provide each student with the opportunity to: Develop skills in analysing facts, appraising alternatives, reaching rational decisions, and planning the implementation of the decisions made. Apply theory to real life situations, developing practice and skills in solving international human resource management issues
The format and sources
The Portfolio needs to be presented as a report, with standard inclusions of an Executive Summary and Contents page. Appendices may be included if the student feels they are appropriate. An introduction and a short conclusion are necessary components to demonstrate a professional approach and presentation. Reference lists and Appendices are not included in overall word count. However, Appendices must be kept to the minimum and should not to carry your argument. The Portfolio also requires a broad range of research sources. Sources are to be cited in text with a
reference list, using the Harvard method. While the sources can be varied, they need to be academic sources. The academic sources should demonstrate a wide field of research and ideas that support the assertions made in your work. Unsupported work and ideas will not be viewed well. The number of sources required is a minimum of 8 for this Portfolio. Naturally, more can be included. The Portfolio is to be your work as an individual.
You are a consultant that specialises in the Human Resource aspects of developing an international business focus and have been approached by Winch-It Industries Pty. Ltd to assist in analysing and, where appropriate, developing a plan to assist the company in expanding overseas. While the Board of this company is open to other ideas, they are set on a direction of international expansion. However, the Board wants to adopt a cautious approach until they have a sound understanding of all the issues, including the HRM aspects of international operations.
Manufacturing in Australia
It is generally acknowledged that manufacturing in the Western world, especially countries like Australia with a small base of clients and population, are having to compete on terrain that is increasingly difficult – the so called ‘level playing field’. Globalisation, including the movement of vast amounts of manufacturing, from a previously robust economy, to other countries has created a broad range of difficulties for existing and intending manufacturers. Difficulties often experienced are in maintaining existing markets and products or in establishing new areas of opportunity.
The state of manufacturing
Faced with increasing pressures from costs, predatory practices of other manufacturers, the incessant pressure created by the ‘off shoring’ processes associated with globalisation and ever expanding demands by consumers for increased quality with lower pricing, many existing manufacturers are forced to either join this outward flow of manufacturing processes or become far more adept at surviving in their existing markets and in establishing new markets and outlets for their products. Cost pressures on raw materials, labour, skills shortages and a small and limited local market make it difficult for the managements of manufacturing organisations to create and maintain
returns on investor capital. Management must also consider shareholder concerns as to the continued risks associated with on-going investment in local manufacturing. Consequently, many organisations have moved their manufacturing processes ‘off shore’, to provide products to the market at considerably lower purchase prices than local manufacturers. Some organisations have experienced initial reduced quality problems by going ‘offshore’, however many organisations have been able to eventually overcome this problem.
Winch-It Industries Pty. Ltd. started out in the light manufacturing industry in Western Australia when two brothers, both mechanical engineers, decided to produce inexpensive and efficient hand powered winches for recreational boating and professional fishermen during the Second World War. This need came about due to Australia’s isolation from the rest of the world and the total lack of imported products. Wartime scarcity added to the problems. The brothers’ design was simple and effective, using locally made materials as the source of parts and a small market niche was established. This was further aided by a number of small defence contracts to supply winches to the Navy, giving the venture a special supplier status, a relationship that would prove vital in the coming decades. Arising from the general prosperity of the post-war years, the brothers saw a continuing future for their products – this lead to the establishment of Winch-It Industries. And while the initial base in recreational and small boat requirements was established as the foundation of Winch-It manufacturing philosophy, market opportunities presented by the Cold War period where there was an intense local defence industry served to tempt WinchIt into the design of a much larger range of models with differing specifications to meet exhaustive military design rules and strict specifications to meet the needs of a much larger range of winch uses. This period saw extensive expansion of the organisation with increased manufacturing and design facilities to meet expanding demand, both military and domestic. The steady rise in recreational boating from the 60’s and up until the present time ensured an expanding market. Winch-It earned credibility over the years and an expanded reputation for rugged reliability, excellent design and operational functionality. Also, throughout this period, a number of successful contracts were negotiated with various defence force departments, pre-eminently the Navy where the capacity of Winch-It to design and manufacture winches to demanding specifications was seen as one of the company’s many value-adding capabilities. Many recreational and professional boat users felt they had a ‘Navy quality’ winch bolted to their ‘humble tinnie’ (aluminium runabout). The company reputation for quality and innovation had been hard won, but acknowledged as ‘the’ industry standard. Winch-It has over 200 employees working in its West Australian plant at Highgate. For the last 18 months, the original owners had wrestled with where to take the company in its future direction. This culminated with a decision to publicly float the company to raise the necessary capital to expand their operations. The share offer was over-subscribed, with many investors taking large parcels of shares. This, in turn, led to the creation of a Board of Directors whose principal task was to set the future direction for Winch-It. The Board has
decided on seeking external consultant advice to guide Winch-It through the feasibility study of international operations. They are uncertain of what type of organisational structure they would use for international operations. The Board is confident Winch-It has the capacity and the money to consider a range of options. In reality, the company is faced with a narrow range of choice – either expanding to include overseas markets or to stay with local markets. In turn, there remains the further issue of where manufacturing should take place, locally, overseas or a mix of both. While opting to ‘go international’, the company is mindful that it lacks any experience in establishing any form of overseas operation and, accordingly, has sought assistance in this feasibility phase of options to promote discussion at Board level. The general ‘feeling’ of the Board is that the company’s future is strongly linked to expanding overseas. Additionally, the Board is divided on whether sending ‘one of their own’ senior managers to lead the possible overseas business would be the best choice. Specifically, there are several areas where the Board needs some direction via the advice you can provide. For simplicity, they have broken this down into several areas of interest that require your specific attention and ideas.
THE PORTFOLIO TASK
The task for you as a consultant is set out in the four areas of concern to be addressed (see below). You are required to produce a report for the Board that covers all of the four areas of concern. Further to this, the Board is more than willing to accept findings that may have not been considered in the four areas of concern. This means they are paying you to provide critical analysis of their situation and workable recommendations. Remember, you must also follow the guidelines regarding the necessary inclusions in your Portfolio Report as described earlier, such as including an Executive Summary, Introduction etc. Remember also, the Board is your client and is the decider of the usefulness of your Portfolio Report. This will help them decide whether they will engage you for future projects. Note: The content of this unit as provided in lectures and tutorials will assist you in this assessment you must consider the following four issues in your Portfolio:
The organisational context
What type of organisational structure for overseas operations would you recommend Winch-It adopt and why?
Winch-It recognises that it is important to consider the cultural context in a potential new overseas venture. What type of cross-cultural management approach and knowledge would you recommend and why?
The staffing context
Winch-It has some interest in sending one of ‘their people’ overseas to run the new business. What staffing option/s would you recommend and why?
International performance management
What performance management issue will Winch-it needs to consider if they decide to go ahead with the overseas operation?
Note: Students should describe any perceived problems and issues as well as advantages with the recommendations made regarding the above four issues.
A summary of the task required for this assessment are stated below.
Appendices, if used, should support the ideas in your portfolio. Appendices should not contain unrelated ideas to the rest of the Portfolio Report.Order Now