Specifically, external factors include the level of education, the prevailing attitudes in society, the many laws and regulations that directly affect staffing, the economic conditions, and the supply of and demand for managers outside the enterprise.
There are also many internal factors that affect staffing. They include for example organizational goals, tasks, technology, organization structure, the kinds of people employed by the enterprise, the demand for and the supply of managers within the enterprise, the reward system, and various kinds of policies. Some organizations are highly structured; others are not. For some positions such as the position of a sales manager skill in human relations may be of vital importance, while the same skill may be less critical for a research scientist working fairly independently in the laboratory. Effective staffing then requires recognition of many external and internal situational factors, but the focus here is on those that have a particular relevance to staffing.
Factors in the external environment do affect staffing to various degrees. These influences can be grouped into educational socio-cultural, legal-political, and economic constraints or opportunities. For example, the high technology used in many industries requires extensive and intensive education. Similarly, managers in the socio-cultural environment in the United States generally do not accept orders blindly; they want to become active participants in the decision making process.
Furthermore now and in the future, managers will have to be more oriented towards the public than they have been in the past, responding to the public’s legitimate needs and adhering to high ethical standards.
The economic environment including the competitive situation determines the external supply of, and the demand for, managers. Legal and political constraints require that firms follow laws and guidelines issued by various levels of government. The following discussion focuses on equal employment opportunity and the role of women in management, as well as on the staffing of international businesses.
Several laws have been passed that provide for equal employment opportunity (EEO). The laws prohibit employment practices that discriminate on the basis of race, colour, religion, national origin, sex or age. EEO is based on federal, state, and local laws, and these laws impact on staffing. Recruitment and selection for promotion must be in compliance with these laws. This means that managers making decisions in these areas must be knowledgeable about the laws and the way they apply to the staffing function.
In the last decade or so, women have made significant progress in obtaining responsible positions in organizations. Among the reasons for this development are laws governing fair employment practices, changing societal attitudes towards women in the workplace, and the desire of companies to project a favourable image by placing qualified women in managerial positions.
One must look beyond the immediate external environment and recognize the worldwide changes brought about primarily by advanced communication technology and by the existence of multinational corporations. It is not unusual for large international firms to have top management teams composed of managers of many different nationalities. The geocentric attitude is the basis for viewing the organization as a worldwide entity engaged in global decision making including staffing decisions.
Companies have three sources for staffing the positions in international operations: managers from the home country of the firm managers from the host country, and managers from a third country.
In the early stages of the development of an international business, managers are often selected from the home country. Some of the reasons include the managers’ experience at the home office and their familiarity with products, personnel, enterprise goals and policies, and so on. This facilitates not only planning but also control. On the other hand, the home country national may be unfamiliar with the language or the environment of the foreign country. Moreover, it is usually more expensive to send managers and their families abroad. For the family, it is often difficult to adjust to the new environment of a foreign country. Also host countries may pressure the parent firm to employ host country managers.
Managers, who are host country nationals, do speak the language and are familiar with the country’s environment. Employing them is generally less costly and it may not require relocating them and their families. The problem is that their families. The problem is that those managers may not be familiar with the firm’s products and operations, and thus control may be more difficult.
The other alternative is to employ third country nationals who often are international career managers. Still, the host country may prefer to have its own nationals in the positions of power. One has to be cautious in selecting managers from countries that had political conflicts in the past. There are, of course many other factors that have to be taken into account when operating abroad as illustrated in the perspective on differences in the workweek in various countries.