Strategy and Human Resource Management Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

In 2004, it established its operations in Mexico to cash in on the high rate of diabetes in this country. Diabetes is responsible for 13 out of every 100 deaths in Mexico and Novo Nordisk expanded into this Latin American market. It also encompassed Mexico as part of its global campaign and its representatives went to schools and villages to spread awareness about the disease and the ways and means to cope with it.

The HR system that was implemented in Mexico was different from the one that existed in Denmark and this was mainly due to the differences in culture, work attitude of the people and national factors that have a profound impact on the employment benefits of the workers. For example, in Denmark, every worker gets to participate in the decision making process. This is a part of the Danish culture and comes from the long-standing democracy and freedom that has been a part of this society for many centuries. In Mexico, the same participative process did not have the same results because it took way too long for decision-making and some of the workers believed that they are better off following instructions rather than contributing to any important decisions of the company. Also, in Mexico, people are used to working under a boss who makes all the decisions for them and a boss will always remain the highest form of authority for the Mexican workers (Davilla, 2009).

Another significant difference was in regards to the freedom given to the employees. In Denmark, employees had flexible working hours and most of them had the option of working from home because of the superior technology available in Denmark like non-stop electricity and Internet connection. Mexico is still grappling with infrastructure problems and there are frequent power cuts and Internet outages and this significantly reduces the productivity of workers. Yet another aspect is the quality of life and the work-life balance that is available in the two societies. In Denmark, workers work for the stipulated eight hours a day and enjoy the rest of their leisure time with their family and friends. On the hand, Mexicans are used to working long hours that they hardly have any time for anything else other than work. So, Novo Nordisk had to come up with the challenging aspect of catering to the needs of its Mexican employees which was very different from the Danish culture and environment.

This difference in the national policies and infrastructure, culture and mindset of the workers in the two countries necessitated for a different HR policy for each country because a blanket HR policy encompassing the entire global workforce was expected to be a complete failure. So, Novo Nordisk was forced to modify its HR strategies and policies to meet these differences in Mexico.

The HR system of Novo Nordisk, Mexico incorporated a lot of its recruitment and training policies that were in vogue in Denmark and only altered a few aspects to meet the needs of their Mexican workforce. The staffing process started with an online psychological test and the interview consisted of a panel of experts who questioned the candidate without any form of bias or discrimination. After the selection, employees were given an orientation of the company's policies and they were given responsibility for their career growth and development. They were provided with the necessary on-the-job training and there was no discrimination or favoritism within the company. Many Mexicans are used to a fairly high degree of favoritism within the organization and this proved to be refreshing change for them. Also, employees were given the choice to move to any part of the company's worldwide operations (Davilla, 2009).

The reward system that has a direct impact on the HR-performance link was one of the most competitive in the Mexican labor market. Also, all employees had the right to have access to productivity bonus, irrespective of their position or hierarchy within the organization. In Mexico, it is rare for companies to have a bonus system and this motivated employees to work harder. Also, they have a sense of pride because they are working for a company that offers drugs to people with diabetes. There is a personal connection for most Mexican employees because they know at least one person suffering from diabetes and they feel that they are working toward making a positive difference in their life. Another HR-performance link for the Mexican employees is their higher quality of life that is offered by this firm. Novo Nordisk ensures that its employees have a healthy work-life balance and they are not asked to work for unreasonable works through the week. All these HR strategies have created a sense of pride and belonging among the employees and they want to contribute to the growth of their organization.

The HR model used in Novo Nordisk, Mexico is the integrative model developed by Bamberger and Meshoulam in 2000. The firm follows the commitment strategy where the locus of control is high and employees are held responsible for their actions and progress in the work environment. The acquisition aspect is internal, in the sense, the right employees are given a chance to move ahead by way of promotions and this also acts as a catalyst for the improved performance from employees.

However, there are problems associated with this approach. The organization makes it possible for their employees to move freely within the worldwide operations of Novo Nordisk. Let us assume for example that a bunch of Mexican employees want to move to Danish operations of the company and in such a case, they will have to follow the HR policies that are practiced in Denmark. This is likely to be different from the ones they are used to in Mexico and this can prove to be a challenge. The HR managers should take additional care to ensure that these employees fit into a different HR strategy and it continues to motivate them to deliver the same high performance. It is also important that the employees do not feel discriminated or neglected at any time because this will have a direct bearing on their performance.

The migration of Novo Nordisk employees from one country to another is a classic example of the challenge facing HR managers around the world today. While a global HR strategy may make it easy to implement policies especially when the workforce is diverse, it is also difficult to customize to meet the cultural differences and mindsets of people and societies around the world. On the other hand, having a strategy that works well only for a particular country restricts the migration of workers from one part of the company's operations to the other and requires additional interventions and policies to ensure that employees are always motivated. In this case, Novo Nordisk follows the second option where their HR policies are customized for each country and the HR personnel take care of their foreign employees and help them to fit into the new HR policy without having any negative influence on their performance.


International Business Machines (IBM) is a leader in the world of technology and sells a wide range of hardware, software and consulting solutions to individuals and businesses around the world. Founded in 1911 by Thomas Watson, this company has been ranked the seventh most profitable company in the U.S. In 2011 by the Fortune magazine. It has the most number of patents in the U.S. with nine research centers around the world (CNN Money, 2011).

The company has flourished in the 21st century by acquiring related businesses and selling-off departments or units that were lagging the company behind. As a result, it has a presence all over the world and more than 65% of its workforce resides out the United States today. It has more than 400,000 employees from all walks of life and culture who work around the world.

To cater to this diverse global workforce, the company's HR policies and strategies had to be altered. Firstly, the benefits available for employees including the performance and productivity bonus is the same for all employee's irrespective of the race and gender. All employees and not just the management is eligible for these bonuses. Its equitable HR policies has helped the company to gain recognition from many notable organizations including the Human Rights Campaign Group.

The company also aims to train its workers and help them to stay competitive in the changing technology environment. IBM spends an average of $1,700 per employee to hone their technological as well as inter-personal skills that help them to be more confident and has a direct impact on their productivity. Also, IBM conducts an annual survey known as the Global Pulse Survey in which 40% of its employees participate. Questions in the survey revolve around the workplace conditions, any suggested improvements and the community in which the IBM workers…

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