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International Staffing: Abroad Challenges for a Human Resource Manager

Staffing a site internationally can add new responsibilities to human resource manager's duties. According to Bohlander & Snell (2007), there are three main ways an international site can be staffed. The first being when employees are sent from the home country of the company, these employees are called expatriates or home-country nationals. The second way to staff an international site according to Bohlander & Snell (2007) is by using host-country nationals, or people who are natives of the host country. Finally, Bohlander & Snell (2007) tell of a type of staffing where people from some other country besides the home and host countries fill positions, these people are called third-country nationals. "Most corporations use all three sources for staffing their multinational operations, although some companies exhibit a distinct bias for one or another of the three sources," (Bohlander & Snell, 2007, p. 646, ¶ 2).

Cultures vary greatly depending on which part of the world they are located. This may also pose a problem for human resource managers if they have not researched the cultural differences and adjusted their hiring and management procedures accordingly. One example is the Philippines. There is still a largely biased practice on hiring people for different positions. One may see a help wanted ad in the Philippines that reads something like, "Cashier wanted, must be female, at least 5'6" and not older than 26." One can quickly see a cultural difference in this situation. In the Philippines, there are many American companies, such as call centers, that practice equal rights as company policy, and this is accepted in the Philippines, but in some countries, this may pose a problem. If a position in some countries is typically filled by a man, and a woman is hired to fill the position, it can cause trouble within the company, due to the lack of equal rights present in some countries still today.

Communication across borders was difficult in the past but has become easier over the years. Bohlander & Snell (2007) tell that telecommunication and travel have made the human resources job of matching up employers and employees much easier over the years, by allowing easier communications with international employees. "HR departments must be particularly responsive to the cultural, political, and legal environments both domestically and abroad when recruiting internationally," (Bohlander & Snell, 2007, p. 648, ¶ 2).

In summation, a human resource manager or human resource department faces many challenges when international staffing becomes one of their duties. The must ensure that they are abiding by the laws of the host country as well as their own country. They must break the language barrier of the country in which they are creating a new presence. Human resource managers must also learn and respect the cultural differences of other countries. One example the author of this paper can provide is a time when the author was a training supervisor for the Big Boy chain of restaurants. Big boy was going international and the company was asking for volunteers to go to the new locations in Egypt for training. Females were not allowed to volunteer for these training positions because at the time women where not allowed to hold any supervisory position or any position with power in Egypt. Even though this would be considered discrimination in the United States, Big Boy's human resources department studied the Egyptian culture and made this policy to protect their female employees from harassment.


Bohlander, G. W., & Snell, S. A., (2007). Managing human resources (14th ed.). Florence, KY: Thomson Learning Higher Education.

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