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Title: International managers and cultural barriers : an empirical study in the garment and textile industry in Bangladesh
Author: Khan, M. A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7962 0578
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2019
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This research investigates the cultural barriers which face international managers and the significance of international managers on Industrial Relations (IR)/Human Resource Management (HRM) practices within the Garment and Textile (G & T) industry in Bangladesh. After the Rana Plaza building collapse, the Bangladesh state undertook measures to address a variety of IR/HRM related issues which included those of health & safety, working conditions and trade unions. It is noted that international managers have played a substantial role but there remain some limitations which are discussed. Based on a review of the literature, the research develops a model to identify how effective international managers are in overcoming cultural barriers. The research methodology is based on a theoretical model which brings together a number of factors which include cultural characteristics. This is tested through triangulation; analysis of primary data interviews which are based within selected companies interviews, open-ended and structured interviews, and the analysis of a survey questionnaire. For this research, Hofstedes, Trompenaars and Ingleharts model have been drawn upon because their work provides both a theoretical and practical contribution to culture and management in major developing countries such as Bangladesh. This exploration of the cultural context within Bangladeshi identifies various differences between Western and non-Western culture. The Bangladeshi culture and non-Western culture particularly in South Asia has substantial similarities. Bangladesh retains what is probably the most traditional and collective culture in South Asia. These collectivist traits are reflected in both the research and conceptual model. Therefore, these contextual factors offer fertile ground for the future development of a model for understanding how international managers adapt to the environment within Bangladesh. A modified theoritical model from selected theories allowing a framework for the research. In line with the empirical findings, the cultural characteristics of language, culture, trade unions, health & safety and political understanding are all significant for international managers in the G & T industry in Bangladesh. With regards to language barriers, the research has identified that language problems create a communication gap between international managers and IR actors, this is notable between trade union and government officials; hence the cultural barriers. Findings suggest that the non- Western international managers such as those from India and Sri Lanka do not encounter language problems. Within the linguistic sphere, Indian and Sri Lankan international managers have a basic grounding in Bangla (Bangladeshi language). This familiarity extends beyond language and includes culture. With regard to health & safety issues, the findings suggest that Western international managers show a higher level of awareness than non-Western international managers. This heightened awareness is especially contrasted with those managers from India, Sri Lanka and China. This may be because of the similarities of cultural characteristics. In line with HRM practices, the Multinational Companies (MNCs) provide an exemplar of the introduction of corporate HRM policies in the G & T industry in Bangladesh. The empirical study of this research found that Western international managers follow different HR policies but they have limited presence compared to the non-Western international managers. The non-Western international managers particularly those from India and Sri Lanka tend not to follow corporate HRM practices. These countries and Bangladesh have a similar cultural framework and therefore a similar paradigm of values and understanding. This research also contributes to the understanding of the relationship between selected actors in the G& T industry. The empirical evidence in the broad fields of IR/HRM for Bangladesh is scant and the findings make a significant contribution to knowledge. Therefore, this research makes a contribution to understanding selected actors within the Bangladeshi system.
Supervisor: Koch, K. ; Opute, J. ; Brymer, K. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral