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This finding emerges in the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) series of five online articles about HR practices in India. The series is a resource to help non-Indians understand the culture, history and economics of that country, said Nancy R. Lockwood, SPHR, GPHR, manager of the HR Content Program for SHRM and author of the series.
“For Indian companies to be competitive and become global members of the world, it is important to have excellent HR practices that are appropriate in the context of Indian work culture and also support their organizations to be successful in the global marketplace,” she concluded.
Globalization has brought an influx of multinational corporations to India, with Western HR practices and concepts such as gender diversity in leadership roles. As a result, women are entering professions previously seen as male domains: advertising, banking, civil services, engineering, financial services, manufacturing, police and armed forces, and emerging fields such as information technology and communication.
Multinational corporations with offices in India hire women for important leadership positions, Lockwood found, and this raises expectations and hastens the pace of change, she added.
Culture and Ethics
Lockwood also recently authored a Research Quarterly on
Business Ethics: The Role of Culture and values for an Ethical Workplace. In today’s global marketplace, HR professionals need to be aware of cultural differences that can influence business ethics, she concludes.
Communication styles, values and beliefs are among the differences that influence business ethics, Lockwood pointed out. For instance, communication in the United States tends to be more direct than in other cultures.
In this article, understanding how such differences can influence communication styles is more than just an issue of etiquette, explained Lorelei Carobolante, GPHR, member of SHRM’s Global Special Expertise Panel, and chief executive officer and president of G2nd Systems. Cultural differences can effect productivity as well as have ethical implications, she said.
“When a manager provides employees with the same desk, the same computer, the same tools, but fails to provide instructions that are equally understood and interpreted by native and non-native English-speaking employees, not only does the manager foster a lack of productivity from employees who cannot understand the subtle implications derived from culturally based expressions, but the manager then does not actively support and potentially damage an employee’s ability to excel,” Carobolante added.
Develop a global mindset, Lockwood urged. HR professionals can do this by living overseas, reading books about worldwide issues or by developing a focus group of employees with international experience.
The India articles and Research Quarterlies can be found at
Lisa Rabasca is a freelance writer in Arlington, Va.
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