Ask Your Career Counselor

/ 12:05 AM September 20, 2015

Managing and developing human resources (HR) in the global setting is increasingly more challenging. Managing people as a firm’s resource is both academic theory and business practice that must be clearly understood by CEOs and the organization’s movers and shakers. While the theoretical aspect of the HR discipline may be somewhat universal, the same cannot be said of its practice.



As an academic theory, the goal of HR management is to enable organizations to meet strategic goals by attracting & maintaining the right number and quality of employees. The HR manager must continually ensure a fit between the organization’s overall strategic direction and its workforce. The basic premise of the academic theory of HR management is that humans are not machines. An interdisciplinary examination of people in the workplace is constantly needed. Therefore, psychology, sociology & the behavioral sciences, industrial engineering, and industrial relations play a major role in effective HR management.



As a business practice, HR comprises several processes which, when used together, help achieve the theoretical goals. These processes include a wide array of functions from workforce planning, staffing, rewards and retention, and workplace learning and performance.

Global HR management is concerned with employing and maintaining people in international or global organizations, beyond just the expatriates. A typical global organization operates via subsidiaries overseas, which rely on the business or manufacturing capacity of the parent company. Such organizations bring with them their own management attitudes and business styles. Human resources managers cannot afford to ignore the international influences on their work.


Global HR management involves a number of issues not present when business activities of the organization are confined to one country. The issues include varying organizational models, varying HR policies and practices, cultural differences, and different approaches in selection, deployment and rewards for expatriates or TCNs (third-country nationals or those belonging to companies other than the parent company) in relation to those of the “natives.”

To respond to these issues, the corporation must develop multi-dimensional strategic capacities that can allow them to compete globally and respond locally to changing market requirements.

Convergence and divergence

Global organizations today must constantly face the challenge to make their HR practices ‘converge’ worldwide to be basically consistent in all locations, and ‘diverge’ to be differentiated in response to domestic requirements so that they can compete locally. Often, managerial traditions in the parent company shape the key and strategic decisions, but local autonomy is allowed to ensure that local conditions and requirements are sufficiently taken into account.


In the early 1980s, Gerard Hendrick Hofstede, a Dutch social psychologist and Professor Emeritus of Organizational Anthropology in Netherlands, researched on value differences among 11,000 IBM employees in 40 countries, focusing on the influence of national culture on the sub-cultures of the worldwide organization. Hofstede concluded that it was “impractical to produce a unified managerial approach that could be adopted worldwide to meet the needs of individuals and groups, their structures and the requirements of change. The conclusion to be drawn from this study is that a contingency approach to human resources management is called for in these circumstances.”

On the other hand, Dr. William Ouchi, best known for his “Theory Z” or Japanese Management concepts (based on Dr. Edward Deming’s ’14 Points’), also made an important contribution to our understanding of the international dimension of HR management. He studied the characteristics of Japanese and American organizations to see if selected practices from Japan could be translated to the United States. Ouchi discovered major differences in the behavior of Japanese and American organizations. Some characteristics of the ‘universalistic approach’ to HR have been adopted in many organizations and indeed are regarded as ‘best practices’.

Cultural differences have produced the slogan in global HR management: “Think GLOBALLY and act LOCALLY”. This means that an international balancing act is imperative. This leads to the fundamental assumption made by Christopher Bartlett and Sumantra Ghoshal (Managing Across Borders, 1991) that “balancing the needs of coordination, control and autonomy and maintaining the appropriate balance are critical to the success of the multinational company”.

Traffic jams

A critical issue today affecting people – businessmen, employees, students, and everybody else who need to be on the road – is the heavy traffic all over Metro Manila.

On September 16, 2015, PMAP (People Management Association of the Philippines) held a press conference at Gloria Maris at the CCP Complex to discuss this issue. PMAP President Roberto Policarpio, Vice President Jesse Rebustillo and Executive Director Rene Gener took turns in presenting the issues and addressing questions from the press. PMAP Past President Barbie Atienza emceed and moderated the presscon.

According to MMDA, 326,504 vehicles pass through EDSA everyday. Up to 15,000 of them are buses. About 71% of vehicles on the Metro roads in any given day are buses and jeepneys. In the first four months of 2015, LTO recorded 118,892 registrations in NCR alone – 59,132 cars/SUVs and 59,760 motorcycles. That’s 14,783 new multi-wheeled vehicles and 14,940 new two-wheeled units added every month to cramp the roads. The 23.8 kilometer EDSA can only effectively accommodate either 83,000 cars or 24,990 buses or 16,600 trucks or 499,800 motorbikes at any given time. (Note that it’s OR and not AND.)

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) reported that traffic congestion costs the Philippines P2.4 billion a day in 2012. If unresolved, the Philippines will lose P6B daily by 2030. The University of the Philippines (Diliman) reported that traffic costs include: value of the time lost, fuel costs, vehicle operating costs, impact on health, and greenhouse gas emissions (that are currently estimated at 4.7 million tons per year).

Coping mechanisms


Based on PMAP’s recent survey, up to almost 50% of its company members don’t implement a flexible time scheme, while up to 80% have no ‘work-from-home’ schemes. Only 15% of respondents have shuttle buses for employees. Roughly one-third of transportation assistance to employees are in the form of gas or fleet card, while two-thirds of companies that provide assistance do so in monetary forms. More than 80% have no car plans for employees, while 12% have car plans for officers, and 45% have ‘selective’ car plans. Of companies surveyed, 40% provide transportation allowance to employees while two-thirds do so for company officers.

Obviously, the issue on traffic jams and commuting problems need long term solutions, according to PMAP leaders. PMAP advocates that government and industry must collaborate to ensure the welfare of employees, especially as their productivity & capacity to earn are now affected by daily heavy traffic jams.

I doff my hat to PMAP Director Ellen Fullido, PR Committee for the Annual Conference Chair Badette Cunanan, New Media Committee Chair Auggie Cadua, and PMAP Communication Specialist Richard Mamuyac for spearheading the presscon.

Annual Conference


This and many other issues will be discussed in the much awaited Annual Conference of PMAP on October 12-14, 2015 at the Marriott Grand Ballroom. Keynote speakers are Jollibee Food Corporation President Jose Tanbuntiong and Albay Governor Joey Salceda. Other luminaries who will grace the occasion are Hon. Herminio “Sonny” Coloma, Secretary of Presidential Communications Office; Carmen Melissa Antonio, SVP of Nestlé Philippines; Sheel Majumdar, HR Director of Microsoft Philippines; Jesper Madsen, Country HR Director of Accenture; Javier Vincent Rufino, Director for Mobile, Inquirer group, Vibhas Ratanjee, Senior Practice Expert, Gallup; Evelyn Salagu-bang, SVP & Group Head, Banco de Oro; Ann Margaret Santiago, Group Head, HRMD, Smart Communications; Atty. Josephus Jimenez, PMAP Past President; Sandy Prieto-Romualdez, President & CEO of this paper; and Ramon Segismundo, Senior VP of Meralco.

Aside from interesting leadership tracks, PMAP’s conference shall tackle CEOs’ outlook on emerging workforce issues, HR trends, creating employee value proposition for Millennials, social media impact on employment cycle, and working hours and its impact on engagement and productivity.

For information or registration assistance, contact Cacay Ponce de Leon at +632 726 1532 or visit PMAPAnnualConference.

PMAP President Obet Policarpio and Vice President Jesse Rebustillo are managing this year’s Annual Conference. This is the annual event organized by the premier organization of HR practitioners in the Philippines (since 1956), not by just any other event organizer.

(Ernie is the 2013 Executive Director and 1999 President of the People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP); Chair of the AMCHAM Human Capital Committee; and Co-Chair of ECOP’s TWG on Labor and Social Policy Issues. He also chairs the Accreditation Council for the PMAP Society of Fellows in People Management. He is President and CEO of EC Business Solutions and Career Center. Contact him at [email protected])

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TAGS: business strategy, convergence, divergence, human resources, People Management Association of the Philippines, strategy, traffic
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