Flextronics University Referencing Styles : Harvard | Pages : 35 Flextronics University – qualifying line managers for leadership and HRM tasks Founded in 1969 and…

Flextronics University

Referencing Styles :
Harvard | Pages :

Flextronics University – qualifying
line managers for leadership and HRM tasks Founded in 1969 and
headquartered in Singapore, Flextronics (www.flextronics.com) is a
leading Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) provider operating in 30
countries on three continents with a total workforce of about 162,000
employees and revenues in 2008 of US$ 27.6 billion. The majority of its
manufacturing capacity is located in low-cost regions such as Brazil,
China, Hungary, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland and Ukraine. It offers
the broadest worldwide EMS capabilities, from design resources to
end-to-end vertically integrated global supply chain services.
Flextronics operates in seven distinct markets: infrastructure (e.g.
networking equipment; mobile communication devices); computing (e.g.
handheld computers); consumer digital devices (e.g. cameras);
industrial, semiconductor and white goods (e.g. plastics injection
moulding); automotive, aerospace and marine (e.g. bar code readers); and
medical devices, which includes, among others, telemedicine devices.
Flextronics designs, builds and ships complete packaged products for its
original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers such as Microsoft for
consumer electronics products such as the X-box, Hewlett Packard for its
inkjet printers and storage devices, or Sony-Ericsson for cellular
phones, and provides after-market and field services to support customer
end-to-end supply chain requirements. In early 2000, Flextronics
Central and Eastern European (CEE) operations were headquartered in
Vienna, Austria, and covered primarily Austria and Hungary, with plans
to expand into the Ukraine. The Austrian sites consisted of an
experienced workforce and had well-functioning work routines. The newly
established Hungarian plants, by contrast, were characterized by typical
start-up problems such as insufficiently experienced personnel, high
fluctuation and, because of a highly volatile sales market, significant
needs to adapt production capacity to consumer demand. As part of the
response to this situation, Peter Baumgartner, then CEE Executive HR
Director, lobbied internally for a Flextronics Academy in the CEE region
and finally implemented it. As an effort to increase qualifications of
Flextronics CEE employees, it covered both technical qualifications as
well as soft skills. Together with an external consultancy, Flextronics
also developed a high-potential programme for a future cadre of line
managers that specifically was designed to offer the selected
individuals a broad range of activities and equip them with leadership
and HRM qualifications. In the mixed groups from different countries,
cultural specifics soon turned out to be important elements for the
long-term success of this programme. For example, Hungarian participants
were much less likely to fully complete the programme or stay with
Flextronics for some time after the end of the programme. Due to a
greater readiness to ‘jump ship’ even in the light of only minimal pay
increases, Flextronics often was faced with a higher rate of fluctuation
compared to Austrian employees and sunk costs when individuals left the
company and joined a competitor or changed industry. Likewise, learning
and communication styles were quite different between Hungarian and
Austrian participants. For example, in terms of directness and
interpersonal distance, typical differences between Austria and Hungary
occur with Austrians being more direct and more concerned with formal
and distant behaviour. At the overall Flextronics level, training of
line managers was strongly influenced by the introduction of the
corporate-wide Flextronics University. Originally, this programme
started as a web-based learning platform and knowledge-management tool
for the US and Mexican operations. As e-learning got more and more
popular, the idea to use this platform throughout the corporation took
hold. The goal was to use the ‘collective intelligence’ of a global
corporation in the most effective way. However, in practice the
realization of this idea turned out to be much more time-consuming than
was anticipated. It took off only after it was integrated with a second
initiative within Flextronics: the Flex Factory. After a decade of rapid
growth in the 1990s with a substantial number of acquisitions,
factories within Flextronics varied widely in terms of production
processes, quality standards and service orientation. After increasing
customer complaints about Flextronics being not reliable enough, an
initiative to create ‘ONE Flextronics’ started. It was aiming at
standardizing production relevant processes to make the ‘ONE
Flextronics’ idea effective in practice and visible to customers,
suppliers and employees. Globally, various teams collected worldwide
best practice ideas in the areas of SixSigma, quality and material
management, production, programme management, engineering, finances and
training. Soon it became obvious that a common platform was needed for
sharing these ideas and for training individuals along these lines. This
led to a new drive for the Flex University idea and to an integration
of both Flex University and Flex Factory. Flex University offered the
possibility to have immediate and global access to standardized training
content, technical as well as related to leadership and HRM, which
could be tailored to the needs of employees in general and line managers
in particular. It offered a tailored system for training administration
which included supervisors as well as users and a learning management
system that allowed the definition of specific training packages. In the
context of a globally operating company with employees coming from 30
countries, a number of issues emerged due to cultural idiosyncrasies.
For example, handing out certificates on the basis of a successfully
accomplished training module led to quite different reactions. Whereas
in Eastern European countries as well as in the US certificates are
generally welcomed and regarded as a sign of one’s achievement, many
Western Europeans are more cautious. They see certificates not primarily
as a positive feedback, but as an appraisal with the danger of being
‘boxed in’. Employees from these countries prefer a sober, stripped down
feedback without too many frills seen as artificial. Although Flex
University worked with such certificates, the varying degree of
acceptance of certification programmes across employees from different
countries illustrated the emerging difficulties. In a similar vein,
controlling learning progress in such a system can be interpreted as
being interested in a person’s development and as a valuable source for
feedback. At the same time, especially in Western Europe this was also
regarded as a means of control, observation and surveillance that
employees tend to see in a negative light. Case Study Report You are an
International HRM Consultant employed by Flextronics University, the
organisation described in the Case Study on page 67 of the prescribed
text book. The case study can be found at the end of Chapter 2 entitled
‘Comparative Human Resource Management’. Case study title In this
assessment, you will need to use your consultative skills to identify
the issues, relate those issues to HRM practices, and develop a plan to
ensure the issues are managed. Your intention will be to reduce or
prevent future issues. Please note: Do not respond to the questions at
the end of the case study. Your task: You are an International Human
Resource Management (HRM) Consultant. You have been given a contract to
go into the organisation and it will be your responsibility to respond
to the following three questions: As an International Human Resource
Management Consultant what are the issues at Flextronics? In this
question you need to explain what the issues are in the case study. How
should Human Resource Management deal with the issues in the case? You
need to explain how HRM should ensure the issues are not repeated,
taking into consideration the international environment. What is your
plan to present to Flextronics? You need to make a solid recommendation
to the company and present them with an implementation plan to eliminate
the issues. Write short report style answers to these three questions.
Make sure you write your essay using third-person language, and support
your essay with a minimum of 15 contemporary (ie. beyond 2007) refereed
journal articles – do not cite web pages. DO NOT USE DOT POINTS.
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