As Apple moves to fulfill its repeated promise to rapidly increase the number of retail stores in China, the initiative’s recruiting limitations are starting to show—Apple is asking U.S. employees to consider a relocation to China, to help fill managerial positions and maintain the company’s high standards for customer service. The plea for applicants outside China indicates a level of urgency that overrides the complexities of sending U.S. employees abroad. And yet, despite the complexities, Sr. VP retail and online stores Angela Arendt’s says about 200 employees from the U.S. from diverse background in terms of ethnicity, age and gender, as well as nationality have already offered to make the trip to China, indicating that the job offers may be lucrative. These candidates can be categorized broadly into two: American born Chinese and Indians. Apple’s expansion into China is testing the company’s ability to find, recruit, hire and train employees infused with the company’s culture that promotes a high level of customer service. The simple solution might seem to rest with the large pool of existing retail store employees in the United States and other countries. But there are hurdles, the first of which is language. Apple’s China retail stores fall mainly within a Mandarin-speaking geographic territory, but there are many local dialects within China that U.S. employees don’t likely speak. A major factor for both the company and employees is a proper compensation package. It must take into account the sacrifices of working abroad, the exchange rate of the two currencies, income tax rates and the costs of housing. Apple might be providing a relocation and local transportation allowance, and paying for periodic visits back to the U.S., especially if the employee left behind a family. A non-trivial consideration for employees working in China is health care benefits, including for unexpected illness or injury. But there might also be some Apple compensation for the long-term effects of living and working in cities with chronic air pollution above international standards. In contrast if Apple considers recruiting local Chinese educated in the US Universities, this also requires going through all those phases that starts with HR planning and then providing exposure of the Corporate culture and conduct of Apple. But infusing Apple culture provides the rationale for paying a premium to current to U.S. employees. It will guarantee that Apple’s brand will be faithfully duplicated in China. And that’s an extremely valuable commodity that will ultimately lead to more success for Apple as it grows worldwide. Write a 2,000-word report (you are allowed to go over or under by 200 words >10% of the overall word count) in response to the case study questions below: Discuss the impact of political, economic, social and technological factors on Apple’s store for China. Analyze the two countries cultural differences and how these differences influence IHRM practices. Provide examples from journal articles to support your work.
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