Cultural labour management in Finland : Multicultural Working environment in Riihimäki Würth Ltd., Finland; MBA-thesis in marketing
Aim: The aim of this study is to explore, discuss and analyse patterns that make up a successful multicultural labour marketing and management. Riihimäki Würth Ltd. employees´ experiences have been used as an example of multicultural labour management.
In the report, the following research questions have been answered:
What are the main cultural differences in multicultural working place?
What are the benefits and challenges of multicultural working environment?
How do Finnish managers prepare employees on multicultural working environment, prevent, solve problems that are caused by multicultural working environment and, promote multicultural working environments.
What are the lessons learned from multicultural working environment?
Culture can be best expressed in the interactions of values, attitudes and behavioural assumptions of society. We must be able to unpack the culture concept (Schwartz 1994).
I have worked as a government labour consultant/officer in Finland for 7yrs. I used my knowledge of today’s Finnish labour market condition to get a full picture of the cultural labour marketing possibilities.
Method: I picked four big companies in Finland that practice multicultural labour strategies from our clients’ registration data system and send them an email offer to interview their employees. Only Riihimäki Würth Ltd. took my offer and booked me in as a visitor. I interviewed five natives and five migrant employees in Riihimäki Würth Oy company in Finland that fix and assemble materials like screws, screw accessories, dowels and plugs, chemical products, furniture and construction fittings, tools, and stock keeping and picking systems.
Common denominator for all ten respondents was an over one-year experience in multicultural working environment. I walked around the building, selected 10 employees by random, contacted face-to-face oral interviews and recorded their answers using my Video camera.
Findings on how the respondents have handled their multicultural working environment are discussed in the analysis. Employees’ suggestions on how to create and manage multicultural working environment have been reviewed too.
Result and conclusions: My conclusion is that cultural differences may not affect unskilled working environment (like the researched warehouse operating Würth Ltd. company), as long as all the employees are treated equally. Carrying out of given duties in unskilled working place is the same in a warehouse company despite of the country of origin.
The Würth Ltd. unskilled labour respondents provided evidence that equal salary, treatment, sharing of duties and other benefits could be the key to successful multicultural working environment, marketing and management. It creates harmony, kindness and friendliness in the air that I too, witnessed while walking around the building before the interview.
Learning the native or working language is very important to enable communication and career progress even in Würth’s unskilled warehouse multicultural working environment, marketing and management.
Researched company has 126 employees in 379 departments of which 28 are migrants from Vietnam, Morocco, Kosovo, Germany, Russia, Estonia, Egypt, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Japan and Philippines. It hired the first foreign employee in 1990 but none of foreign employees has ever been promoted. This could be a multicultural working environment dark side or failure. Multicultural marketing in Finland might not be the right strategy or solution for ambitious foreigners who are interested and looking for quick career advancements or career progress if this is the case in most of the Finnish multicultural working places.
I suggests the following for future research:
A deeper study on communication in a multicultural working environment: How can information be easily and successfully communicated in a working environment where employees do not share a common language.
Promotions: How can foreign employees advance their career in a foreign labour market if their native language skill is below the native or required standard, but the job skills are excellent?
Why Finland attracts and uses more foreigners for unskilled labour than skilled?
Contribution of the study: The study offers a pattern and lays down a background for further studies on multicultural labour force. It may reduce the fear of multicultural working environment. It might help the managers and companies to overcome prejudices on cultural differences and barriers. Some organisations and networks (e.g. The Municipality of Riihimäki town, TJS ; STTK and AKAVA union education institute and Mosaiikki project sponsored by Ministry of Migration) have already copied my research interview DVD to use as a guideline for training new foreign employees and managing multicultural working environments strategies. I believe that it might help marketing managers to create better multicultural labour marketing strategies.
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