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Challenges Faced by the Multinational Companies- Leadership Dimensions continued (part 4 of 4)



© 2017 Martin Zafirov, PhD Student, New Bulgarian University (F29144)

Edited by: Yara Mohamed, Mona Timor Shehata

Published by: Ahmed Mohamed Hassan

The necessity of comparative studies of management in the different cultures sets new areas of interest in the analysis of the intercultural business environment and its impact on the organisation. Cultural differences – knowing them, assessing them and taking them into account, are extremely important in achieving effective management of the human capital. The main problems which arise in organisations with different cultural discourse are related to overcoming ethnocentrism (the tendency and mindset to assess a culture only based on the standards of your own culture) and the reaction to the culture shock.

The conditions in the multinational companies and especially the specific characteristics and requirements of the human capital make the issue of the leadership in these companies one of the most important ones for them. It is not possible to build an effective leadership which would lead to effective management of the human capital in a multinational company if the leaders rely only on getting to know the cultural values, stereotypes and cultural trends in this company. It is necessary to apply this knowledge in the actual operation of the company by using different management models and methods for employee motivation for achieving optimal efficiency in the work process. The following table shows in a summarised form the main management tools, approaches and models depending on the reference boundaries of the cultural dimensions based on the Geert Hofstede’s model[1].


Table 1: Main management tools, approaches and models for the different boundaries of the cultural dimensions according to Hofstede

Dimensions Low values High values
Power distance – Flat organisational structure

– Most-effective management approaches are used in team activities;

– Efficiency is achieved by adding more persons to the decision making process

– The organisational structure is most efficient when there is a centralised power and clear hierarchy;

– Management from position of power;

– Answers and responsibility are to be found at the high organisational levels.

Individualism versus Collectivism – Harmonious relationships are valued more than honesty;

– Age, traditions and wisdom should be respected;

– Implementation of changes should be done slowly;

– Feelings and emotions are repressed in order to preserve harmonious relationships.

– Punctuality and personal freedom are highly valued;

– Challenges and remunerations for a job well done are a strong form of motivation;

– One of the effective management tools for revealing of potential is encouraging discussions and expression of original ideas as well as acknowledgement of the achievements.

Masculinity versus Femininity – Effective management depends on the equality between men and women;

– Women are capable of doing anything men can do;

– Positions and work relations are organised in a way as to not discriminate against any of the two genders.

– There is an inclination to separate into male and female roles;

– Effective management is achieved based on this;

– Behaviour should comply with the stereotype: Analytical attitude and reservedness by the men, emotionality and expressiveness for the women;

Avoiding Insecurity – Informal business relations;

– Inclination towards changes;

– Effective management is a management which does not create structures and rules unnecessarily;

– Control of the emotions, self-restraint;

– Variety is valued.

– Effective management is based on precise and clear expectation parameters;

– Planning is an important part of the management tools;

– Frequent communication and detailed plans;

– Focus on the tactical part of the project;

– Emotions are expressed through gestures and intonation;

– Structure is desirable and expected;

– Formal business relations, requirements and procedures.

Long Term Orientation versus

Short Term Orientation

– The successful management strategy acknowledges the equality of all;

– It stimulates creativity and individualism;

– Mutual respect;

– Adaptivity towards changes;

– Setting short term goals.

– The family and the family type relationships form the base of society;

– Successful management is based on the traditional positions;

– Acknowledgement and reward for loyalty, stubbornness and dedication;

– Frivolous and extravagant behaviour is not tolerated.

The dynamic world with all the changes happening in it lead to the rise of a new generation of leaders. The main characteristics of this type of manager are presented in Johnson and Oberwise’s article “Your #1 Leadership Challenge: Human Capital Maturity”[2]. According to the authors, it is about the rise of a new type of manager in the big companies (especially the multinational ones), whose experience is totally different from the one of the leaders of the previous years. The claim of the authors about the rise of this type of new leaders mostly in multinational companies seem completely logical, because this is exactly where there are many cultural and value differences regarding the human capital which require the most effective and adequate management.

If we look for the main difference between the new generation of leaders and the ones from the past, undeniably it is that leaders nowadays work in an environment quite different from the one in the past. The main reason for the change in environment is the accelerated globalisation which causes the need for global leadership. The authors of the article claim that most of the managers have to deal very early in their career with the necessity of working with teams whose members are located very far from their homes. So in order to be effective leaders should quickly become aware of and master a concept which is still unknown for the vast majority of current managers, namely human capital maturity.

Human capital maturity may be related to the employees possessing three important attributes (qualities): savvy (rational) understanding of the business, high emotional intelligence and a strong aptitude for continued learning. Even though it may be summarised this way, it should not be forgotten that the concept of human capital maturity may appear in different forms depending on the conditions in which it is applied. Studies show that there are stable differences in the work forces between some economies, relating to how the work force works productively in organizational settings.

This it is extremely important for management based on this concept to clearly take into account the existing stable differences. The existence of stable differences, which was mentioned by Johnson and Oberwise, should be explored not only in the context of the individual countries, but also in the context of the intercultural (cross-cultural) differences which exist between the human capital in multinational companies. In relation to that, in the future the new generation of leaders and managers will be expected to achieve high results and high quality performance no matter where their workplace is located. It is necessary to get to know the many existing variations of human capital maturity and this has nothing to do with the claim that a large part of the employees in some economies are psychologically immature. In some areas of business activity the maturity model is related only with taking into account the fact that the abilities of the employees are built gradually over time, step by step.

Actually, it is possible to make a wrong read too (to reach a wrong understanding) about the strong sides of the maturity concept in each of the mentioned areas. For example, the authors mention cases in which employees may be unusually empathetic and communicate clearly and even eloquently, but at the same time they are so used to showing respect for their bosses and for traditional methods that they are averse to learning new ways of doing things.

According to the author of this paper, even though nowadays the human capital maturity concept is gaining in popularity it still has not reached the necessary level of development and awareness. If the education and development programs should be evaluated on a global scale this evaluation will show that they are not at the required level which would give the leaders enough training on how to evaluate human capital maturity. This conclusion is exactly what gives a reason to formulate one necessary direction for future improvement of the management activity at multinational companies.  During the current stage as a step in this direction may be pointed out that even just the action of becoming aware of the existence in differences in human capital leads to significant changes in the management process.

Johnson and Oberwise give two more pointers for successful work at multinational companies, which in my opinion are useful to the leaders and respectively lead to increased efficiency of the business activity in these companies. The first advice is based on the specific characteristics which become apparent in the process of working in a team made of members from different countries and respectively different cultures. In order to optimise the work process it is not enough to just get in touch (meaning establishing a way to communicate – with or without a translator). It is also crucial to understand cultural nuances which impact the quality of the human capital and its capability of working as a team within a multinational company.

In this case, in my opinion, it is not always necessary to use the services of a professional translator, if it is even necessary to use such for performing the communication. Regardless, a good approach would be to use an associate who knows well the cultural specifics of the region where the affiliate of the multinational company is located and respectively the human capital used by it. This is the only possible way of overcoming the differences which arise when combining human capital with different cultural specifics. This would lead to a significantly easier performance of the duties of a leader and an improvement of the end results of the business activity of the company.

The second advice is partly intended to reduce the negative impact of conducting inefficient communication i.e. a discrepancy between expectations and reality. When there is a difference between what the employees should be able to do based on their experience and expertise and what they actually do, it is a clear signal for the manager that it is necessary for some time to be spend on finding the causes which lead to this discrepancy. According to the authors, there are quite a few leaders who believe that these differences are due to a lack of sufficient communication on the part of the employees or a lack of quality communication between the manager and the employees. But it turns out that these are only a few of all the possible causes for the creation of this difference. In my opinion, if we have to look for another reason for this occurrence, it is undeniably related to the fact that the companies in question are multinational ones in which in almost all cases there are cross-cultural differences present in regards to human capital.

If the issues regarding human capital maturity as a leadership concept are explored from another point of view, and the results show that nowadays in order for organisations to develop their leadership they should make an effort to also include this concept as a base for improving the qualification and expanding the qualities of the managers working in a time of globalisation and an increasing number of multinational companies. Global leaders with a more realistic understanding of what to expect from their employees in the different environments will be much better prepared to improve their efficiency and respectively the efficiency of the company.

The thoughts presented so far show that successfully identifying, developing and maintaining the talent of the managers has a decisive impact on the long term success of every organisation, including multinational companies. This is why many of them, especially the largest ones, depend on “talented management” during the whole work process. This means hiring such managers who possess leadership qualities which will lead to a successful coordination of their actions with the actions of the departments responsible for the human resources of the company.

In his article “You Can’t Delegate Talent Management to the HR Department”, Ron Ashkenas explores the need for these so-called “talented leaders” or “talent management leaders”. According to Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, talent concerns the abilities, skills, and expertise that determine what a person can do. These talents enable those managers among the company’s roster who manage to implement processes thanks to which they are able to receive a direct assessment of the quality of the human capital and the possibilities for its improvements and at the same time to improve the concept of increasing the talent of the leaders themselves.

The author of this report accepts Ashkenas’s claim with no hesitation whatsoever because it is not possible and it is also inappropriate to demand development of the human capital in a multinational company without at the same time seeking a way to increase the efficiency of the system which manages and coordinates the actions of the company’s employees.

The article mentioned above also presents another important question which is an integral part of the explored question. As mentioned above, “having a talented leader” becomes a strategic advantage for every multinational company (and also for the other types of companies). Because of this, a decision to organise a company in such a way that the managerial decisions are made by a centralised body consisting of such talented leaders may be considered to be a successful one. The centralised function allows for an in-depth and objective look at the talent of the company’s employees and makes it easier to implement the decisions which had been made.

Investments in building a centralised managerial structure based on talented managers have lead to mixed results. According to a CEB survey from 2013 “in only one out of four organisations there is a successful integration of the talented managers practice when executing the strategic goals of the company.” A survey conducted by EY in 2012 reached the conclusion that almost 600 of the global business managers think that the functions of the talented management are limited to only measuring “easy indicators” like employee turnover. At the same time, such important factors for the organisation as whether the right persons possessing the necessary skills works at the correct (suitable) position remain outside the main focus.

My personal opinion is in agreement with the stated conclusion since it is quite possible for the lack of accurate human resource management (meaning accurate assessment of their qualities and capabilities and based on that wrong selection of a work position) to lead to much worse results than the high employee turnover.


List of References:

  • Hofstede, G., (2006) Cultures and Organisations, Sofia, KlasikaiStil, 2001
  • Johnson, B. and R. Oberwise, Your #1 Leadership Challenge: Human Capital Maturity, published on: 26 January 2012, available at:
  • Chamorro-Premuzic, Т., Talent Matters Even More than People Think, published on: 4 October 2016, available at:
  • [1]Geert Hofstede., Cultures and Organisations, Sofia, KlasikaiStil, 2001
  • [2] Johnson, B. and R. Oberwise, Your #1 Leadership Challenge: Human Capital Maturity, published on: 26 January 2012, available at:


How did studying a CIPD qualification with ICS Learn change my career?



Journalism: Mariham Magdy

“Choosing ICS Learn has been one of the best decisions I have ever made!

I personally struggled for nearly two years trying to kickstart a career in HR and as we all know, HR is one tough industry to crack. “After choosing ICS Learn, I had a number of recruiters contacting me for HR roles and I couldn’t believe it! The level of attraction I received once putting the words ‘Studying towards CIPD’ on my CV was immense.

“I finally managed to gain an HR Administrator role in one of the best companies and couldn’t have been more pleased with being offered such a fantastic opportunity.”


” Other course providers did not offer upfront information about how support would be given and by whom. ICS Learn proudly promotes the tutors and high levels of expertise. This gave me confidence that I would be in good hands.
Just one month after enrolling with ICS Learn for my CIPD course, I landed my first HR role and am over the moon!”

Nikki Long, CIPD Level 3 Student

“I really wanted to break into HR/Learning and Development roles, but the jobs I was applying for required a CIPD qualification, so I then took the leap and started with ICS Learn. “From not being able to get an interview for roles I started getting offers as soon as I mentioned CIPD on my CV.”

Nin Sandhu, CIPD Level 3 Student

“As a recent student of ICS Learn, I have completed my Level 5 Diploma. Prior to starting the course, I didn’t work in an HR role, so after shopping around and a lot of Google searching, I got into contact with a student advisor at ICS Learn.

The gentleman I spoke to was very endearing and friendly, as I didn’t work in an HR role and had no HR qualifications I was looking to start the CIPD Level 3 qualification, however, the advisor suggested I started with Level 5 as I had a university degree. “This was possibly the best choice I made as it has helped me become more recognised academically and I was able to get my first HR role in Alstom within 2 months of starting my course.”

Rukhsaar Hussain, CIPD Level 5 Student

“I have been able to use my studies in making decisions at work and able to relate the practical way of my work to my academic studies. “The tutors on my modules are friendly and approachable which has made me feel very supported throughout the course.”

Bernadette Aquino, CIPD Level 7 Student

“Since I decided to enroll onto a CIPD Level 5 qualification with ICS Learn in April last year, it has already had a tremendously positive impact on my change in career direction.

After careful comparison with other learning platforms, ICS Learn stood out to me as the best one available, as I knew people who had done this course and were able to gain successful entry into HR, either like myself during studying, or very quickly after completion. 

They had good testimonies from students and offered an excellent flexible payment programme which made it accessible.

ICS Learn also offers good study support, from your own tutor, or even from fellow students!

Even though I’m still working towards my qualification, it has 100% helped me secure my future as an HR professional.”

Taj Chelvaiyah, CIPD Level 5 Student

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Which Certification is right for me PHRi™ or SPHRi™?



Written by: Mariham Magdy

When deciding to take a step forward for their international certification, many HR professionals hesitate between choosing the right credential that suits their professional experience and practice; whether the PHRi™ or the SPHRi™?

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive comparison between the two credentials, to help you decide which certification is right for you.

First, we will highlight the eligibility requirements for both:

Let’s elaborate more about what is meant exactly by a “professional-level experience in an HR position”?

HRCI defines a “professional-level” HR position as one that includes:

  • The ability to use independent judgment and discretion in performing work duties.
  • A level of specialized knowledge in the HR field with some authority for decision-making.
  • In-depth work requirements, such as data gathering, analysis, and interpretation.
  • Interaction with a broad range of individuals, including key personnel.
  • Individual accountability for results.

The Exam Content Outline for both certifications.

While the PHRi builds a professional mindset for the HR professionals on how to manage soundly the different HR functions, standardizing the steps they need to follow for the successful implementation of various HR processes; the SPHRi enhances the strategic aspect of HR Management Practices.

In other words, both certifications curriculum complements each other, and it depends on where you are on your professional career ladder to decide whether you are lacking the knowledge on how to professionally manage certain HR functions or are you ready to expand your strategic views and practices in the HR field?

The Certification Renewal:

  • You must earn 1 ethics credit during your three-year certification cycle.
  • This is a part, not in addition to your 60 required recertification credits.

I believe that the “Recertification” condition mandated by the HRCI increases the value of the certification itself since it ensures the continuous learning of the certified professionals.

One of the valuable slogans of the HRCI Certifications, is that it is “Earned not Given”, and thus the eligibility and merit of earning, must be continuously evaluated and confirmed.

Recertification is one of the many reasons that HRCI certifications are the most recognized and trusted by HR professionals and the organizations they serve. And now, recertification credits are easier than ever for you to access and earn.

And now let us know more about the Exam Format & Length:

The Exam Questions are either multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, drag and drop, or scenarios.

The scenario questions present typical HR situations, followed by a series of exam items based on the scenario. These scenarios require you to integrate facts from different subject areas.

The HRCI website provides extremely useful bundles for the exam preparation material along with trial tests to assist you to get familiar with the certification exam questions and exercise them widely prior the exam itself.

In addition, the HRCI offers a “Second Chance Insurance” which is a pre-paid and non-refundable fee allowing you to take the exam for a second time in case of failing your first time.

Whether being certified as PHRi or SPHRi, the certification has three main advantages for you:

  • Requires specific work experience, competency, and education.
  • Requires recertification, which makes sure that you stay current in the HR profession through continuing education.
  • Allows you to put the letters after your name.

Through the HRCI valuable certifications, you get connected to an exclusive network of motivated HR professionals around the globe – Nearly 145,000 certified HR thought leaders working in more than 100 countries and territories.

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Emotional Intelligence and Business Excellence



Written By: Dr. Maha Magdy

Many of us as soon as they hear about ” Emotional Intelligence” think that it’s only related to love and relations with your partner, but have you ever related it to your business? How would it help you achieve your goals? Increase your income? Enrich your resources?

In business world, we usually care for IQ of candidates and consider it one of the main aspects to use for the performance evaluation of employees, ignoring their EQ which is proved to be the strongest predictor of positive performance and long-term success according to recent studies.

Let us first identify what is meant by EQ to be able to discover how foundational it is for a thriving workplace.

EQ or Emotional Intelligence is the ability to be aware of your emotions, moods & motives and to redirect them and manage your behaviors.

In other words, emotions are energy, and “Emotional Intelligence” is the ability to use or direct this energy to push you towards achieving your goals, which means you need first to identify your emotions then deal with them wisely.  

If you aim to be a unique leader you must know that rising your EQ enables you to influence other’s emotions and interact with them successfully and even direct their reactions!

This is not a bare claim, but a scientific truth that I am going to explain now.

Scientifically, EQ is the ability of your brain to build strong neural connections between: “the limbic system” (center for emotions in your brain) and “the prefrontal cortex ” (the rationale thinking center), the more neural connections your brain build, the more emotionally intelligent you become.  The good news is that you can train your brain to build these neural connections through emotional intelligence coaching techniques.

Emotional Intelligence, as I mentioned before, is mainly about emotional awareness, which is the ability to recognize your feeling, understand your habitual responses to events and realize how your emotions affect your behaviors and performance which is critical to your business.

Emotional Intelligence also enables you to acquire the ability to manage your emotions, stay focused and think clearly even when experiencing powerful emotions, which is crucial for your productivity, and would be reflected on your decisions, motivation, and relationships with others.

Emotional Intelligence coaching techniques will help you discover your limiting thoughts and beliefs and reframe them to unleash your potential and achieve the goals you though before to be unachievable, simply you would be able to choose how to react and whom to be.

One of the most important skills you acquire through emotional intelligence is the ability to master your personal power, the secret to become limitless through realizing your real capabilities and use them to put yourself where you deserve to be.

In these quick changes and surprising events, we face every day, emotional intelligence allows you to cope with stresses in a healthy way and minimize your negative thinking, this will protect both your physical and mental health and would reflect on your business.

Enhancing your EQ promotes you to build better relationships which reflects directly and indirectly on your business whether you are in a managerial position or an employee.

From all that we have mentioned above, we can realize how emotional intelligence would benefit your business through greater performance and productivity, greater income, improving personal skills, improving leadership skills, and acquiring a more healthy and stable work environment especially that it could be developed through training.

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