International Human Resource Development

Subject: Employee Management
Pages: 2
Words: 556
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: Bachelor

Role of Culture in HRD

Culture refers to a set of norms, beliefs, or values that underpin social order in a community or organization. It has an impact on Human Resource Development (HRD) because of its effects on employee behavior (McGuire, 2014). The HRD discipline is also integrated with organizational culture because it plays a critical role in protecting and enhancing the economic and social well-being of employees. Culture plays a critical role in improving the effectiveness of HRD practice in this regard by enhancing the relationship between employers and employees (Kim & McLean, 2012). For example, it enables employees to know how to react to any situation that warrants their attention. Additionally, it helps reinforce positive employee behaviors by rewarding those who take actions that promote commonly held organizational beliefs and values.

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Role of Culture in Domestic and International Organizations

Culture plays a critical role in the internationalization process of various organizations by leveraging human capital in international relations. Domestically, it could drive consumer demand by exploiting behaviors that locals cherish (McGuire, 2014). In other words, culture allows local businesses to respond easily to changing national dynamics and the needs of their customers. HRD practices adopted by international firms are also distinctively affected by the cultural dynamics of the regions they operate.

Due to the centralized nature of international organizations, global subsidiaries rarely have autonomy when formulating or implementing HRD strategies. However, this is not the case for multinational organizations because their global subsidiaries have autonomy over their business processes and can respond effectively to local cultural dynamics without answering to their global headquarters. In this regard, even though multinational organizations may be subservient to the parent company, they have autonomy over their HRD functions and can respond effectively to local cultural dynamics. This arrangement provides an opportunity for adopting firm-level HRD strategies.

Regardless of the organizational setup in question, most firms seek to adopt a culture premised on equality and the availability of equal opportunities for all. This type of culture is characterized by a non-hierarchical form of management and a significant degree of employee control in decision-making processes (Kim & McLean, 2012). These design attributes affect employee behavior, as is the case in the US, where the individualistic nature of its culture affects employee behaviors by motivating them to perform well.

Adoption of Single Culture across Global Business Units

Organizations need not adopt one culture across global business units to succeed on the business front. This outcome is because they can maintain their autonomy while responding effectively to national or global trends (McGuire, 2014). The multi-domestic organization demonstrates this type of firm because they operate as autonomous entities with a degree of flexibility, allowing them to respond to current market dynamics. Given that such types of organizations adopt a domestic approach to business management, differences in the application of HRD practices could emerge across global business divisions. One quote borrowed from Ardichvili and Kuchinke (2002) was relevant to this assessment because it emphasizes the importance of developing firm-specific strategies in international cultural management. It states that “global operations require radically different organization cultures and new strategies for developing managerial talents” (p. 146). This statement has implications for HRD through its career training and development functions because it creates an opportunity to instill new norms and values that are consistent with an organization’s vision.


Ardichvili, A., & Kuchinke, K. P. (2002). The concept of culture in international and comparative HRD research: Methodological problems and possible solutions. Human Resource Development Review, 1(2), 145–166. Web.

Kim, S., & McLean, G. N. (2012). Global talent management: Necessity, challenges, and the roles of HRD. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 14(4), 566–585. Web.

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McGuire, D. (2014). Human resource development (2nd ed.). SAGE Publications.