Globalization Leads Professor to India
November 28, 2007
Vanessa Druskat, associate professor of organizational behavior and management
in WSBE traveled this summer to the PGM Institute of Management in Coimbatore,
India, to attend an international conference on human resource management
in the global economy and an adjoining faculty development program on the
globalization of work and its impact on human resources.
Part of her trip was funded through a $1,500 Faculty International Engagement
Award from the VPAA for 2007-08.
A summary of her experience follows.
This summer I traveled to southern India to learn information about globalization
and its effects on the workforce worldwide.
I teach courses at WSBE on organizational behavior, team dynamics, and leadership.
Among other reasons, the growing number of references to Thomas Friedman’s
idea that “the world is flat,” made me aware that I need to teach
my students more about the impact of globalization on work in the 21st century,
and about the global mindset they will need to be successful in the workplace
today. In addition, my research on diversity and team dynamics would also greatly
benefit from what I learned.
India has a booming economy. Indian college graduates are some of the best
trained and most eager for good employment in the world. They are also frequently
hired by U.S. companies. Approximately 40 percent of the engineers hired by
Microsoft in the U.S. are from India.
The combination of well-educated, hardworking, available employees who speak
English has also enabled a booming outsourcing business in India. It also makes
sense for U.S. businesses competing in a global economy.
The labor in India is cheaper than and as competent as that within the U.S.
Outsourcing jobs to countries all over the world is now common. Business Week
(Jan.30, 2006) reported that in 2005 the U.S. outsourced $90 billion worth
of information technology work and $179 billion in logistics and procurement
work to other countries, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
The following companies outsource work to India as well as to countries like
Russia, Hungary, Poland, Mexico and Malaysia: GE, IBM, Citibank, AOL, Nortel,
and American Express, and the list goes on.
Indian women in saris sewing the clothes at the Lakshimi Textile Mill
The conference and faculty development program were superb. Conference presenters
came from around the world, but primarily from all over India.
I met faculty with similar research interests with whom I will now collaborate.
I also learned a great deal about Indian culture from our gracious hosts and
from the Indian business students who guided me from session to session and
made sure I showed up on time (no small task).
The faculty development program was a key highlight. We all, including the
session leaders, faculty from around the world, and business leaders from Bangalore
and Coimbatore, talked day and night for three days about issues related to
globalization and human resources. We visited workers in textile plants in
and around Coimbatore, and together we ate fabulous local food served on banana
leaves. Already my students have benefited from the examples and stories I
am now able to share.
Many thanks to the UNH Center for International Education for funding much
of my trip, to the Centers for International Business and Research (CIBERs)
at the University of Colorado at Denver and San Diego State University who
organized the conference, and finally to the host of the event — the PSG Institute
of Management in Coimbatore, India.