Analysing And Evaluating The Employee Relations Strategy

Crompton & Smythe is a Northampton company specializing in the production of handmade shoes and leather products. Founded as a family enterprise in the 1930s, the company has expanded over the decades and now employs about 150 people at its Northampton headquarters. Traditionally, the company has only exported its products from Northampton but Crompton & Smythe has now decided to purchase manufacturing plants in low-cost countries in order to increase profits.

In its first venture overseas, Crompton & Smythe recently purchased a small shoe factory in an industrial area in Germany. This plant, which was set up by a prominent local German businessman three years ago and which currently employs about 80 staff, has operated quite well since its creation, but uses somewhat outdated manufacturing technology and is being sold as the present owner wants to move to Germany and needs funds to enter a different field of business there.

Having now acquired whole ownership of the plant, Crompton & Smythe wish to send a team of three expatriates to Germany, comprising a General Manager, a Finance Manager, and a Production Engineer to manage the plant, ensure that it runs efficiently, oversee the quality of production and prepare the company as a basis for expanding operations throughout Eastern Europe. Part of the output will be marketed in Germany; the rest will be exported to other European countries and to the Middle East. The Finance manager is a disabled woman in a wheelchair and requires support. It is expected that the assignment will be of three years duration. Thereafter, it is anticipated that the German operation will be managed by local managers.

Crompton & Smythe has never operated outside Northampton before and consequently has no international experience base. It has also incurred a substantial cost for acquiring its German plant. As a result, Crompton & Smythe’s top management is somewhat apprehensive about its three expatriates failing to achieve their objectives in Germany and is seeking qualified advice as to what needs to be done to “locate, prepare and manage the performance” of these managers in order to maximize their chances of success in the foreign environment and to justify the expenditure undertaken.

Having completed an MBA programme at Northampton Business School, with a specialism in International Human Resource Management, you apply in response to an advertisement by Crompton & Smythe and are promptly hired by the company as a short-term consultant. The company’s Vice-President has allocated a budget of £150,000 which includes your consultancy fees of £12,000, in return for locating and preparing prospective expatriates from within Crompton & Smythe in Northampton for assignment to Germany. He also informs you that all three expatriates must be in that country as soon as possible, preferably no later than four weeks from today.

  1. Critically analyse and evaluate the employee relations strategy that the organisation could establish for the German operation and subsequent expansion into other countries? (Include and reflect on high, low and medium behaviours/ societies; possible merger, acquisition, joint venture)
  2. Assess the cultural differences and similarities that the three expatriates may face in Germany?
  3. Identify the training and development required for the expatriates to fit in with their new colleagues?(emotional intelligence)
  4. Assess and describe the pay and benefits package that could be offered to the expatriates?
  5. Analyse and explain the arrangements the organisation would need to make for the three staff for their successful repatriation to the UK?
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