SIEM / Spaces of International Economy and Management

Events & Conferences

Contact information

Professor Dr. Rolf D. Schlunze

Humboldt University of Berlin, Department of Economic Geography / Ritsumeikan University, College of Business Administration

Manager training events

International Human Resources Management (IHRM) Workshop for International Managers and International Students Ritsumeikan University BKC, May 16-17, 2009
Summary Report

Executive Summary

The workshop brought together international businesses and Ritsumeikan students for a unique and powerful exchange. All participants deepened their understanding of issues and solutions in IHRM. All completed the workshop with a higher opinion of Ritsumeikan University and its positive role in business and education.

Workshop contents

A workshop entitled "Going Hybrid - Aspire IHRM Communication" was held on the initiative of Professor Dr. Rolf D. Schlunze, Department of International Management, assisted by William Baber, a BKC language teacher with significant business experience. Claas Riese, a professional management consultant specializing in intercultural communication, lent guidance to the workshop as well. The workshop was held at Ritsumeikan Epoch 21 on the Biwako-Kusatsu Campus. The changing international human resource management (IHRM) approaches in Japan were discussed. The aims of the workshop were as follows:

The workshop was held entirely in English providing Ritsumeikan undergraduate and graduate students with a powerful opportunity for communicating in English. Participants included business students from Japan, China, France, Sweden and New Zealand all with good command of English. Interacting with these students, business managers from France, Germany and the UK described their experiences implementing IHRM strategies. They took the opportunity to reflect on and reconcile IHRM approaches. The workshop was designed to be mutually beneficial to the participants through an intensive exchange of ideas and practical training. The workshop had three structural elements:

1.Intercultural encounters - Challenges of IHRM
2.Guided discussion - Solving HR problems
3.Intercultural training - Open ended role plays

The workshop builds on theory and discussion in the classroom. Students subsequently report on their understanding of practical and theoretical issues raised in the workshop to the class.

Outcomes among participants

Fourteen student participants and the guest speakers replied to a questionnaire about their experience in the workshop. Their opinions were extremely positive. Specifically:

The three managers who were invited as guest speakers were also positive about the success of the workshop and made statements such as the following:

"I think these workshops are a good initiative. It is of very high importance that the university maintains close contact with industry. Theoretical education should be more synchronized with the fast changing 'real world'."

"It was a very interesting workshop ...ideas were very insightful. I don't think there is one right answer, but really different cultures getting together (and cooperating as well) is the part of answer."

The students provided the following feedback:

The questionnaire asked the students "After the workshop do you believe that international human resource management (IHRM) can create hybrid solutions?"Almost all students were positive in their response because during the workshop clear examples were provided. One mentioned that if HRM managers are sure about what they need, "...they should be able to motivate their employees to create an IHRM hybrid model." These students viewed the creation of such an IHRM model as a necessity. Another student believed that cross-cultural convergence through diversity can create hybrid solutions. Students also saw that the creation depends heavily on how people interact with each other, and they saw the importance of cultural understanding and mutual respect. They trusted that co-workers with different cultural background can be sensitive to each other's backgrounds and resolve conflicts. The hybrid solution was evaluated as the most efficient solution for IHRM.
We asked our participants "Do you believe that global standardization and localization can be balanced?" From the viewpoint of the students, a balance was seen as a must in order to create a fruitful workplace environment. One student commented: "I think it can be balanced for the rapid development of globalization: seeking common ground while reserving differences is the best rule which makes all parties comfortable and positive." Another student mentioned that it would be hard to standardize IHRM practices even during globalization, since it is impossible for cultural differences to disappear. Therefore, the balance of global standardization and localization was seen as necessary to achieve efficient management.
One manager responded that, "Achieving this balance remains the greatest task for a multinational company."Another provided the following insightful statement: "It is getting more obvious that global companies have to pay more attention to regional (local) success factors when structuring their organizations. There is a dilemma between the implementation of the corporate strategy (ensuring company strategies and processes are followed globally), and getting the optimum on a regional (local) basis. This relationship is not trivial and a hybrid HR organization can certainly help achieving the optimum."
This last statement strikes chord with the organizers of the workshop, Professor Dr. Schlunze, Prof. Baber, and Claas Riese. The IHRM relationship is complex and vital to optimization in international business. The workshop was able to synthesize the viewpoints of business leaders and students, all of whom left the workshop with increased respect for IHRM, each other, and Ritsumeikan University.

SIEM Workshop

David Sternis (Panasonic) presents about human resource management problems

SIEM Workshop

Audience consisting of international and Japanese students listen to presentation

SIEM Workshop

Team interview with managing director of Janfried Tirre (Sauer-Danfoss Daikin)

SIEM Workshop

Discussion with Chris Christophers (JAC Recruitment)

SIEM Workshop

Role play with William Baber and Claas Riese
(Aspire Communications)

SIEM Workshop

Wrap-up by Ms. Chen, a graduate students from China