Flextronics International Ltd.
Flextronics International Ltd.
Flextronics International Ltd. is an American supply chain solutions company that provides all services of design, manufacture and distribution to different global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), such as computing, digital, industrial, mobile and medical. With its base in the Silicon Valley and headquarters in Singapore, this Fortune 500 Company operates and manufactures in more than 30 different countries, and provides employment to over 200,000 employees worldwide. Like many other companies that do business on such a large platform, Flextronics faced many cultural challenges with regard to Human Resources. What sets the success of any organization in the future apart from the rest, is its ability to bring together a diverse network of people with varying perspectives and views and use it to its advantage. Because of the magnifying size of their global workforce, the human resource challenges faced by Flextronics was overwhelming and strenuous. One of their hardest tasks was global reporting; it was a tedious effort and a lot of times were not accurate. Over the years, Flextronics had grown and built its name through numerous mergers and acquisitions, creating over 80 different HR systems on the way. The downside of this great feat however was they didn’t foresee how difficult it would be to manage all of these; especially since most locations acted independent of each other and weren’t coordinated. Lack of communication and a confusing flow of information made parts of the company highly inefficient. Keeping in mind Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, the reasons that most explain the situation Flextronics experienced can be narrowed down to power distance, uncertainty avoidance and individualism vs collectivism. People in some cultures might experience a higher degree of unequally distributed power at the workplace compared to some others, where there forms an emotional gap between the employers and their workers. For example, the Flextronics office locations in the United Kingdom have a lower power distance as compared to offices in India (see graph 1.0), and this in turn effects the quality of the work because a more welcoming work environment definitely has a better scope of understanding and productivity. Comparing the individualism vs collectivism between the two branches, i.e. the degree of interdependence among society members, the UK is one of the highest ranking individualistic nations, where each person is taught to think for themselves and contribute to society in their own unique way. Their branches in India on the other hand would have more collectivistic traits, where family and social groups have a big influence. This could prove to be one of the reasons for their downfall because HR systems in India, by hiring family members are sacrificing the best person that could’ve been hired for a position and proved more beneficent for the firm.
Graph 1.0 Comparing cultural dimensions of the UK and India
Source: "The Hofstede Centre." Web. http://geert-hofstede.com/united-kingdom.html
Uncertainty avoidance is also a major factor in the output of an organization. Differences in uncertainty avoidance between