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Rock Street, San Francisco

PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE REPORT
MASTER IN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS
October 9, 2018

Gabriella Camones Avendaño
International Researcher
+33 06 51 64 39 29
[email protected]
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TOC o “1-3” h z u EXECUTIVE SUMMARY PAGEREF _Toc481581479 h 3INTRODUCTION PAGEREF _Toc481581480 h 4COMPANY DESCRIPTION PAGEREF _Toc481581481 h 5Company history and context PAGEREF _Toc481581482 h 5Mission statement PAGEREF _Toc481581483 h 5Vision statement PAGEREF _Toc481581484 h 5Company objectives PAGEREF _Toc481581485 h 5Products and/or services PAGEREF _Toc481581486 h 6INTERNSHIP POSITION OR WORK EXPERIENCE DESCRIPTION PAGEREF _Toc481581487 h 7Description of the position held and related objectives PAGEREF _Toc481581488 h 7Description of the expected outputs PAGEREF _Toc481581489 h 8INTERCULTURAL ANALYSIS PAGEREF _Toc481581490 h 9Analysis of the company’s cultural background PAGEREF _Toc481581491 h 9Analysis of company cultural diversity management PAGEREF _Toc481581492 h 18Possible suggestions for future improvement PAGEREF _Toc481581493 h 20TRIPOD ANALYSIS PAGEREF _Toc481581494 h 23External analysis – Porter’s 5-forces framework PAGEREF _Toc481581495 h 23Introduction PAGEREF _Toc481581496 h 23Threat of new entrants PAGEREF _Toc481581497 h 23Threat of substitutes PAGEREF _Toc481581498 h 25Bargaining power of buyers PAGEREF _Toc481581499 h 26Bargaining power of suppliers PAGEREF _Toc481581500 h 27Rivalry of established competitors PAGEREF _Toc481581501 h 28Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc481581502 h 28Internal analysis – Barney’s VRIO framework PAGEREF _Toc481581503 h 29Introduction PAGEREF _Toc481581504 h 30VRIO resources and competences PAGEREF _Toc481581505 h 31Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc481581506 h 32Institutional analysis PAGEREF _Toc481581507 h 33Introduction PAGEREF _Toc481581508 h 33Regulatory pillar PAGEREF _Toc481581509 h 34Normative pillar PAGEREF _Toc481581510 h 35Cognitive pillar PAGEREF _Toc481581511 h 35Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc481581512 h 36Tipod analysis conclusions PAGEREF _Toc481581513 h 36CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY PAGEREF _Toc481581514 h 36Stakeholder analysis of the company PAGEREF _Toc481581515 h 36Description of the adopted CSR-response PAGEREF _Toc481581516 h 36Possible suggestions for future improvement PAGEREF _Toc481581517 h 36PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND SELF-ASSESSMENT PAGEREF _Toc481581518 h 37Technical competences acquired PAGEREF _Toc481581519 h 37Managerial competences acquired PAGEREF _Toc481581520 h 37Relational and intercultural competences acquired PAGEREF _Toc481581521 h 37Contribution given to the organization PAGEREF _Toc481581522 h 37FINAL CONSIDERATIONS PAGEREF _Toc481581523 h 38REFERENCES PAGEREF _Toc481581524 h 39APPENDICES PAGEREF _Toc481581525 h 42Appendix A PAGEREF _Toc481581526 h 42Appendix B PAGEREF _Toc481581527 h 42
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
INTRODUCTIONCOMPANY DESCRIPTIONCompany history and contextAfter many years of professional experience in consulting and senior recruitment in the sectors of fast moving consumer goods, finance, and luxury in Asia, Europe and North America, Ollivier Douge decided to start his company. Founded in Paris in 2000, Douge International is an executive search company specialized in finding talents for clients who belong to the French stock index CAC 40 and the Fortune 500 ranking.

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Most of these clients are mainly in the luxury, mobility, and insurance sectors. However, Douge International does not specialize in any particular sector nor intends to do so in the future. In this way, the company positions itself in the market as an expert in the recruitment of top executives, regardless of the industry.
This is a fast-growing company with a boutique and international approach, differentiating itself from the multi-country-office model followed by large firms within this industry. Therefore, instead of assigning projects between different offices according to a geographical criterion, Douge International has a single office that allows centralizing the projects and having a single point of contact with the candidates and clients from around the world.

Mission statementTo this day, the company has not yet issued an official mission statement. I consider that the objective of the organization is to provide effective solutions to our clients through the recruitment of world-class executives who, with their inputs, will take their businesses to the next level.

Vision statementSimilarly, the company does not have yet an official vision statement. According to my point of view, the organization aspires to become the best firm within the niche market of executive recruitment due to its customer orientation, efficiency and professionalism.

Company objectivesThe strengthening of unfair competition laws, which protect consumers and businesses from deceptive business practices such as corporate poaching, has motivated companies to delegate their hiring processes to organizations specialized in this field. This scenario has accelerated the growth that this industry is experiencing nowadays and has influenced the proliferation of companies dedicated to this business.

In addition, even though the introduction and constant development of new technologies and digital tools facilitate recruitment tasks, it also brings new challenges to face. As a consequence, we can observe an increasingly competitive environment within this industry.

In this context, and to keep growing, Douge International focuses on improving the quality of its services. One way to achieve this is through an extensive study and in-depth knowledge of their clients because by properly understanding their market, business structure and future objectives, the company can provide customized solutions that address their requirements and needs more effectively. Furthermore, providing a high quality and made to measure type of service will motivate customers to trust more projects to the company and will contribute to the establishment of long-term relationships with them.

On the other hand, should be taken into account that Douge International does not specialize in any type of industry in particular but in the recruitment of top talents in overall. Consequently, although the company has wide range of projects under its responsibility, the number of customers is still very limited. In order to mitigate the risks generated by relying on few customers, another objective is to expand the client base and diversify the type of industries in which the company operates.

Products and/or services
The company offers two services: executive search and personalized coaching. The main service is the executive search, also known as headhunting of talents at the highest level of corporations. These talents are only recruited for C-Suite roles such as Chief Executive Officer or Chief Financial Officer, or for other type of executive positions such as Regional Presidents, Presidents of Business Units, Executive and Senior Vice-Presidents in general, among other positions.

This service is provided from a consultancy and tailor-made approach that allows clients to readjust their initial requirements while the search progresses at any stage. In this way, the recruitment meets exactly what customers want and, fundamentally, they are provided with what they really need, which is to find executives who with their talents and abilities will add value to their organization.

Additionally, the company offers a coaching service for executives to help them enhance their management and leadership skills. This service is carried out exclusively by the CEO of Douge International.
INTERNSHIP POSITION OR WORK EXPERIENCE DESCRIPTIONDescription of the position held and related objectivesGiven that the executive recruitments are rigorous global searches that require extensive identification processes to find the best candidates, they are generally considered as the art of looking for a needle in a haystack.

In order to have a better understanding the position I held at Douge International, it is necessary to begin by describing the stages of the recruitment process and, based on that, explain my responsibilities throughout that process.

Initial commercial contact with the client
Identification of the client’s need and role to be filled
Presentation of the proposal of collaboration to the client
Signature of the contract with the client
Internal meeting to launch the project
Search and approach of the candidates
Interview of the candidates in charge of the CEO of Douge International
Presentation of a short list of candidates to the client
Meetings of the shortlisted candidates with the client
Presentation of the offer to the selected candidate by the client
Signature of the contract between the candidate and the client
As an International Researcher, my responsibilities begin during the internal meeting organized to launch projects. At this meeting and based on a preliminary market investigation, the research team decides who will be in charge of the project, sets deadlines and establishes the strategy to follow to find the best candidates in the shortest possible time. This strategy will guide the search process, determining the geographical areas, industries and, in particular, the companies that are considered interesting for the project.

Subsequently, several companies are assigned to each researcher, who through in-depth market studies and business intelligence prepares the organizational charts of each of them. Each of these organizational charts are prepared by reconstructing the structure of the companies, starting with the Executive Committee and following the hierarchical chain to identify the teams below. It is essential to carry out this exercise to properly understand the governance and the way of functioning of each company and, mainly, to be able to select the right talents within organizations.

Once the attractive profiles are identified, they are contacted by any means, either by telephone, email or social networks, to present them the project and to evaluate their suitability for the position in terms of professional experience and interpersonal skills. The way we work is through a direct approach in the sense that these executives are not actively seeking a new position, but we are who decided to contact them after an extensive identification process. For this reason, we must have the ability to motivate them and keep them interested so that they decide to have the interview and continue with the process.

If the candidate contacted meets the necessary requirements, the researcher presents the profile to the CEO of the company who will decide whether to conduct a face-to-face interview with the candidate and move on in the recruitment process or not.
Throughout the project, the research team organizes meetings with the client to report on the progress made and mainly with the intention of remaining aligned with the recruitment strategy that is being used. At the closing meeting of the project, the team presents a short list of the best candidates contacted and, based on this, the client will decide which candidates they want to meet. It is at this point that the participation of the international researchers ends.

During the next stage, meetings will be held between the candidates and the different representatives of the client. If the client considers any of the interviewed candidates as ideal for the role, a work offer will be presented and the candidate will be hired.

From the previous explanation it can be concluded that in my role as an international researcher I have to fulfill the following objectives throughout the executive search process:
Collaborate with the planning and organization of recruitment projects from a consultative perspective.

Identify the largest number of candidates that meet the requirements and the profile established in the shortest possible time.

Link with the candidates interviewed to create a long-term relationship with Douge International so that I can contact them again in the future, either to present a new project, as a source of information for our market studies, to provide references about their colleagues or as potential customers.

Description of the expected outputsThere are two expected results from my internship in the role of International Researcher:
Have obtained a broad knowledge of different industries in order to offer customers customized solutions that respond adequately to their needs.

Have developed a critical thinking that allows me to identify the best talents as well as their motivations and, based on these, develop a strategy to interest them in a specific recruitment project.

INTERCULTURAL ANALYSISAnalysis of the company’s cultural backgroundDouge International is a fast growing company within the executive recruitment niche for clients that belong to the CAC 40 stock index and the Fortune 500 ranking. The corporate culture of this organization is characterized by the promotion of communication and collaboration between colleagues and, in addition, by its strong international focus that is evidenced through its team integrated by eleven people who come from different parts of the world.

In the following sections, I will use three different conceptual frameworks to analyze the culture of Douge International. Being a company founded and located in France, I will start by explaining the dynamics of French society using the cultural models developed by Geert Hofstede, Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner, as well as Edward Hall to later compare it with the specific culture of the company. Additionally, I will focus on the management of diversity carried out in the company and, based on that, I will provide recommendations for its improvement.

Hofstede’s model of national culture
According to Geert Hofstede, culture is a collective programming of the mind learned in a social environment and distinct from human nature and the personality of each individual. It is considered as collective in the sense in which it is specific and shared by a group of people, which is precisely what distinguishes them from other groups (Hofstede, Hofstede, & Minkov, 2010).

After an exhaustive data collection, Hofstede designed a model with six dimensions that allows us to determine the value system and the distinctive cultural components of each nation. The graph below shows the scores and perception of the French society on the mentioned dimensions, which will be explained in further detail in the next section.

111760080010FRANCE

Source: Hofstede Insights
00FRANCE

Source: Hofstede Insights

Power Distance Index
Taking into account that the members of a society are not necessarily considered as equals, this dimension shows the general attitude and, in particular, the perspective of the less favored regarding the level of inequality that exists in their society.

In the specific case of France, we can see that the indicator scores are relatively high, which means that people tend to tolerate and accept the inequitable distribution of power. In practical terms, this generates a greater inclination towards the establishment of hierarchical orders, in which power tends to be concentrated in the highest levels.

As shown in the organizational chart below, Douge International has four hierarchical levels. The first one belongs to the CEO and founder of the company, followed by the second level that corresponds to the Managing Partner who is responsible for the activities and daily operations of the firm. The third level is divided into two sections: on one side, the administrative section composed by the Personal Assistant of the CEO of the company and the Office Manager; and, on the other side, the research section directed by the Head of Research. Under her charge are five international researchers and a consultant, who integrate the fourth hierarchical level.

698500185420ORGANIZATIONAL CHART OF DOUGE INTERNATIONAL

Source: Own elaboration
00ORGANIZATIONAL CHART OF DOUGE INTERNATIONAL

Source: Own elaboration

In this
In this firm, the decision-making capacity is centralized in the figure of the CEO, who despite promoting the contributions of other members, has a paternalistic and traditional leadership style that makes him reluctant to consider innovative measures that may question the current processes. In addition to his high position, I believe that his authority and credibility as a leader also lie in his deep knowledge of the sector compared to the other members of the company, who mostly joined a few months ago and mainly have a sales or legal background. As a consequence, we can perceive a collective mentality that uses the factors of experience and authority as justifications for inequality and, furthermore, that validates the existence of different levels of power and privileges accordingly.
On the contrary, the relationship of the research team formed by five International Researches and one International Consultant with the Head of Research is different. Although the hierarchical factor is present since she is our immediate boss, the fact that we all belong to the same generational range of 25 to 29 years has contributed to create a connection and develop a familiar atmosphere with greater spaces for free exchange of ideas.

In overall, it can be considered that the high power distance of French culture is replicated in the organizational culture of the Douge International.

Individualism versus Collectivism
This indicator shows how the members of society perceive themselves, either from an individualistic perspective that stimulates personal initiatives and differentiation from others; or, from a collective point of view, in which people identify themselves as members of groups, prioritizing the general welfare over the individual.

Besides having a high power distance, the French society is also very individualistic, which is contradictory in Hofstede’s opinion. According to the author, it is paradoxical that this society promotes ??autonomy and personal liberties, at the same time appreciates the establishment of hierarchical structures (Hofstede et al., 2010).

At Douge International, each project is divided among the research team into groups of three to four people, depending on the complexity or the deadlines to complete it. Currently there is a cooperative environment in which we constantly ask for advice from each other and exchange points of view about the different tasks to be carried out. However, given the nature of the objectives that we must meet that is to find the right candidates and maintain direct contact with them throughout the recruitment process, people try to keep their responsibilities and tasks purely individual, which is work dynamic that does not contribute to the development of a true teamwork environment.

This issue is being addressed through outdoors integration activities and is expected to contribute to the development of a collective work culture.

Masculinity versus Femininity
This dimension helps to identify if a particular society focuses on material success or prioritizes quality of life in non-materialistic terms. A high score shows that members of society tend to masculinity, which means that they are highly competitive and motivated by the achievement of goals and recognition through tireless search for success. In contrast, a low score evidence that society is inclined towards femininity and, therefore, instead of living to work, people work to be able to live.

In consequence, in societies oriented towards femininity like the French society, the correct balance between professional life and personal life is considered as a key factor. An example of this is the right of disconnection introduced during the reform of the French labor legislation of 2016 and in force since the beginning of 2017, which gives workers the right to disconnect from professional digital tools (such as the telephone and emails) outside working hours (Ministère du Travail, 2017).
In the case of Douge International, there is a differentiated organizational culture that depends on the hierarchical level to which we refer. It can be observed that in the upper levels of the organizational structure there is a clear balance between the time allocated to work and that corresponding to the personal sphere, since such balance is considered essential to enjoy a good quality of life. In the rest of the company, competition among team members is promoted as well as the idea that success and professional development can only be achieved on the basis of hard work.

Uncertainty Avoidance Index
As Hofstede states, this indicator can be defined as “the extent to which members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous or unknown situations. This feeling is expressed, among other manifestations, through nervous stress and the need for predictability: a need for written and unwritten rules (Hofstede et al., 2010). ”
Societies with high uncertainty avoidance, such as the French one, deal with it through the establishment of a number of norms that attempt to regulate the greatest number of community life scenarios. Obviously, not all scenarios can be foreseen and there will always be room for unpredictability. However, what is sought with this large amount of regulations is mainly to provide greater security to the individuals and to mitigate as much as possible the negative emotional effects suffered by its members when contemplating the unknown.

This situation is partially reflected in Douge International. In this company all matters related to day-to-day work tasks are governed by previously fixed and standardized rules. However, this is not the case for issues that concern the employees but are not directly related to the daily work, such as vacations or work permits. For these situations, out of the general regulations existing in the work contract, there are no internal provisions to guide workers on the procedures to be followed or on what to expect, as the outcomes will depend entirely on what is decided case by case at the highest levels of the organization.

Long Term Orientation versus Short Term Orientation
This dimension allows us to determine how societies relate to temporal aspects. In the first case, there is a mentality focused on the future that inculcates and promotes taking efforts for actions that will be rewarded in a long-term period. On the contrary, a short-term orientation indicates that there is a greater concern for the present, as well as a strong connection with the past, which makes individuals respect their traditions and strive to preserve them.
As Hofstede interprets it, a long-term orientation denotes pragmatism, while the short-term trend portrays a normative society (Hofstede et al., 2010). In that sense, with a score of 63 points, France is considered a pragmatic society with a great ability demonstrated throughout history to face changes and adapt to them.
In contrast, Douge International tends towards normativism and focuses mainly on obtaining and enjoying short-term rewards. Likewise, there is a constant look to the past with the intention of contrasting the company of today with that of yesterday in order to identify and correct the differences and, in this way, preserve the essence, values and traditional practices of the organization.

Indulgence versus Restraint
According to the score obtained, this dimension shows the level of control that the members of a society have towards the satisfaction of their desires. A high score denotes indulgence in their behavior, so that individuals allow themselves the enjoyment of life more freely. Conversely, a low score reflects the need to follow rules that regulate these desires.

With a neutral score of 48 points, there is no clear trend in French society for this indicator. In the case of Douge International, I consider that there is a greater inclination towards moderation and the restriction of certain freedoms that may exist in other organizations. Example of this would be the strict work schedule, in which working overtime has a positive perception that shows the interest and commitment of the worker with the company.

From the application of the national culture model developed by Geert Hofstede it can be concluded that most of the characteristics of the French society regarding cultural dimensions, such as distance of power, individualism and, up to some extent, masculinity and uncertainty avoidance are replicated identically in Douge International. However, there are aspects that identify and shape the specific culture of the company as its short-term orientation and propensity to restriction that are not necessarily shared and influenced by the French society.
Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner’s seven dimensions of culture
After 10 years of exhaustive research on the values ??of people in different cultures around the world, Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner developed this cultural framework in 1998. This model establishes that there are seven dimensions that help us to determine the value system and the specific preferences of each culture and, according to this, the way of thinking and acting of its members can be predicted (Mind Tools, 2014).
The seven dimensions are the following:
Universalism versus Particularism
Individualism versus Communitarianism
Achievement versus Ascription
Neutral versus Emotional
Specific versus Diffuse
Internal versus External control
Sequential versus Synchronous time
Regarding these dimensions, I find that France and Douge International are universalist entities that promote personal initiative and give great importance to organizational structures, as well as the establishment of social norms and conventions as a way to face the unpredictable and deal with its high level of uncertainty avoidance, in terms of Hofstede. In the same way, the acceptance and normalization of hierarchical orders, distance of power and inequality allow individuals to obtain benefits according to their position or social influence and not only as a consequence of their effort. Therefore, it can be stated that France is an achievement-oriented society that also has a marked ascriptive culture that prioritizes who the person is, rather than what the person does.

Unlike Hofstede’s opinion, Trompenaars argues that the French are in fact highly communitarian and, as proof of this, he indicates that in their language there is a wide use of terms that show their sensitivity towards group relationships. Furthermore, he states that although the French can be considered individualists, this is an attitude maintained only with newcomers. Once the new members join the group, the French may even change their mentality from universalist to particularistic, which means that they will stop considering norms as universally applicable and they will only apply them strictly to those who do not belong to their group (Trompenaars, 2014).

Considering that there are certain overlaps between the model developed by Geert Hofstede and this model, as it have been explained, I will only focus on those dimensions that have not been addressed previously.
Neutral versus Emotional.

This dimension presents two scenarios. The first scenario corresponds to those societies that are inclined towards affectivity, in which the open demonstration of emotions is considered as a natural and valid form of expressing. In the second scenario we find those neutral societies in which individuals try to control and constantly repress their emotions because sharing them freely and unrestrictedly is considered inappropriate. Since this type of society values ??self-control and acting rationally, it can become very difficult to determine what these people are really thinking or how they are feeling.

At Douge International as well as in emotional societies such as the French, there is an open communication promoted in the company by the two French members of the team who are the CEO and the Managing Partner. Although the rest of the team is made up of people from different parts of the world with different communication styles, we make an effort to be direct when exchanging ideas and interacting with our colleagues. This means that we are always willing to share our points of view with others, participate in lively discussions and express ourselves through rich body language.

Specific versus Diffuse
In the words of Trompenaars ; Hampden-Turner (1998), this dimension is “closely related to whether we show emotions in dealing with other people”. Basically, it helps to determine up to what “degree we engage others in specific areas of life and single levels of personality”, or if we prefer to introduce to people “in multiple areas of our lives and at several levels of personality at the same time”. In concrete, it shows how separated individuals maintain their personal lives from their professional lives.

In diffuse-oriented cultures, the public and the private space of individuals are closely linked. Conversely, in specific-oriented cultures like the French culture, people strive to maintain their personal and professional space separately. By doing this, people interrelate with their peers in the public sphere in a very different way than the one they would have with their relatives or close friends who belong to their most intimate environment, which is the most difficult to access.
This is a characteristic that can be also observed in Douge International where the relationship between colleagues is limited exclusively to the workplace. Besides the three training sessions that we had outside the office, the company does not have any policy that promotes the integration of its workers during their free time.

Internal versus External control
Through this dimension, it is possible to determine how the members of a society relate to the environment that surrounds them. In this sense, Trompenaars points out that in the inner-directed type of cultures, organizations are conceived as structures at the service of their operators; while in the outer-directed cultures, organizations are perceived as a product of their environment, with which a relationship of respect and harmony must be maintained (Trompenaars ; Hampden-Turner, 1998).

This perspective of domination is present in societies like the French and is shared by Douge International as well. In both organizations, people see resources as means to achieve their ends, which means that the resources that are available to them must be used. Unlike cultures that consider that life is influenced and defined by the environment that surrounds them, the French see themselves as doers of their own destiny.

Sequential versus Synchronous time
This dimension shows us the way in which cultures approach the subject of time, either from a sequential or synchronic point of view. It should be noted that this division established by Trompenaars corresponds to that proposed by Hall between monochronic and polychronic cultures respectively. About this matter, Nardon ; Steers (2009) points out that of all the cultural studies on this subject, Hall’s approach seems to be more practical.

For this reason and with the intention of carrying out a deeper analysis, this time dimension will be developed in the next section when examining the model developed by Edward Hall.

Following the model of the seven dimensions of culture developed by Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner, we find that all characteristics that identify French society are also present in the culture of Douge International.

Edward Hall´s cultural factors
Edward Twitchell Hall was an anthropologist dedicated to the study of intercultural communication between different human groups. He developed a contextual model through which he explains how factors such as context, time and space influence the way each culture communicates.

Context
In low context cultures, communication occurs mainly through verbal language, which is why people are as direct and explicit as possible when expressing themselves. Whereas, in high context cultures such as French culture, information is not only transmitted through words but also depends largely on other non-verbal elements, such as the tone of the voice or the body language of the person.
I believe that Douge International follows the pattern of French culture because the message that is communicated is as important as the context in which it is transmitted. Therefore, to interpret correctly the information that is being transmitted, it is essential to pay attention to both aspects of the language.

Time
A monochronic perspective implies that individuals have a strict conception of time, which they perceive as a logical and consecutive series of events that they must take advantage of in order to fulfill their tasks. Thus, in order to use time in the most efficient way possible, punctuality is highly valued, as well as the organization of times through the planning and establishment of schedules.

On the contrary, polychronic cultures such as the French have a dynamic and flexible perception of time, which is evidenced by their tendency to carry out various activities simultaneously. This time management is also replicated in Douge International, an example of this would be the telephone interviews we conduct with the candidates during which we try to collect as much information as possible and at the same time we need to evaluate the communicative abilities of the candidate, while we also take notes of the most relevant aspects of the conversation.

Space
The perception of space and the configuration of its boundaries vary from one culture to another. In the case of communal societies, it can be seen that personal spaces tend to be smaller because people feel more comfortable sharing the physical space and being close to each other.

In contrast, individuals from territorial cultures prefer to clearly delimit their personal space from that of others because that will allow them to avoid feelings of discomfort caused by unwanted interferences. In my opinion, Douge International falls into this last category because having an international team from different cultural backgrounds, it is preferable to keep the distances and, therefore, not to transgress the personal space of others.

The application of the cultural framework designed by Edward Hall shows the similarity of the two analyzed cultures in terms of context, time and space.

Integrated cultural analysis
The cultural analysis carried out from three different models allows me to conclude that, in general, French culture has a considerable influence on the way in which the corporate culture of Douge International is structured. As shown in the table below, and focusing on the models of Trompenaars and Hall, it is possible to identify elements of French culture that have been taken identically and adopted as part of the values of the company.

However, if we focus on the model developed by Hofstede, we can also observe that there is a small group of characteristics, such as the short-term orientation and the tendency to restriction that identify the culture of Douge International, making it particular and differentiating it from the French society.

41910012065COMPARISON BY CULTURAL MODEL
HOEFSTEDE TROMPENAARS HALL
France DI France
DI France DI
High Power Distance High Power Distance Both Universalism High context High context
Individualism Individualism Communitarian Individualism Polychromic Polychromic
Feminity Both Both Achievement High distance High distance
High U. Avoidance Both Emotional Emotional Long-TermShort-Term Specific Specific Neutral score Restraint Internal Internal Synchronic Synchronic Source: Own elaboration
00COMPARISON BY CULTURAL MODEL
HOEFSTEDE TROMPENAARS HALL
France DI France
DI France DI
High Power Distance High Power Distance Both Universalism High context High context
Individualism Individualism Communitarian Individualism Polychromic Polychromic
Feminity Both Both Achievement High distance High distance
High U. Avoidance Both Emotional Emotional Long-TermShort-Term Specific Specific Neutral score Restraint Internal Internal Synchronic Synchronic Source: Own elaboration

Analysis of the company cultural diversity management
According to Patrick & Raj (2012), “diversity is a set of conscious practices that involve understanding and appreciating the interdependence of humanity, cultures and the natural environment.” In this sense, the concept of diversity implies the recognition of the uniqueness of human beings, as well as the respect and appreciation of everything that is different from our own, in terms of age, gender, race, ethnic origin, marital status, sexual orientation, socioeconomic level, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political preferences, among other elements.

An adequate management of diversity in the workplace starts with the company’s commitment to creating harmonious and inclusive environments where similarities and differences among people are considered equally valuable. In this regard, Cox and Blake (1991) believe that a successful diversity management generates a competitive advantage for the company and creates benefits such as better decision making through a more heterogeneous group, improving company reputation, increasing its attractiveness as a potential employer, reducing turnover costs and motivating employees.

Currently, Douge International has an international team of 11 people. The graphs below show the distribution according to factors such as gender, age range and nationality.

125730064135
Source: Own elaboration
00
Source: Own elaboration

From the previous pie chart can be seen that 73% of the workers are women. This can be explained by the fact that the Human Resources sector has been traditionally perceived as a field dominated by women. It should also be noted that, despite this situation, there is still a considerable gender wage gap in this segment, evidenced mainly at the highest levels of the organizations (Sutcliffe, 2015).
125730016510 Source: Own elaboration
00 Source: Own elaboration

According to this graph, there are three different age ranges in the company: 73% of employees are between 20 and 30 years old, followed by the 30 to 40 years range, which corresponds to 9% and, finally, between 50 and 60 years are the CEO and the Managing Director of the company, who represent 18% of the total number of employees.
Considering that, in general, each generation has certain characteristics and perspectives that identify it, this diversity in age ranges is positive and contributes to the enrichment of the work environment.

457200283210DISTRIBUTION BY NATIONALITY
Source: Own elaboration
00DISTRIBUTION BY NATIONALITY
Source: Own elaboration

4051300-3175CHINESE18%
FRENCH18%
MEXICAN18%
ECUADORIAN 9%
CANADIAN 9%
INDIAN 9%
PERUVIAN 9%
VIETNAMESE 9%
00CHINESE18%
FRENCH18%
MEXICAN18%
ECUADORIAN 9%
CANADIAN 9%
INDIAN 9%
PERUVIAN 9%
VIETNAMESE 9%

The map presented above shows the distribution of the team members according to their country of origin. According to this, there is no nationality in the company that represents a clear majority; however, 45% of the team comes from the American continent and 36% of the members are Asian. The remaining 18% of employees are European and come only from France.
These figures show us the openness of the company in terms of diversity, which among other reasons, is due to the type of work that the team performs. It is understood that coming from diverse places and having different backgrounds gives us better opportunities to create a connection when interacting with executives from around the world based on common elements such as nationality or native language.
As for the internal interaction, it can be said that the cultural exchange between the members takes place throughout the working day and mostly during lunchtime when the environment is more relaxed which motivates people to share about their life, perceptions and experiences. There are certain measures that have been taken to promote exchange among team members such as the design of an open space that facilitates communication or activities outside the office to foster group cohesion, but none of them directly address the intercultural aspect.
Therefore, although diversity is an essential quality of Douge International, as has been demonstrated throughout this analysis, there are no concrete initiatives taken by the company to promote cultural exchange among its members. I believe that this situation may be due to the fact that it is a small company in which clear corporate policies have not been developed yet.

Possible suggestions for future improvementThe following recommendations were conceived as a guide for the improvement of the management of cultural diversity in Douge International.

Define the position of the company around cultural diversity and, based on this, establish policies and an action plan to follow
Create a collective awareness about the value of diversity using internal communication channels of the company and, mainly, by organizing intercultural trainings that inform and involve employees in this topic
Generate spaces for workers to inform and share their culture with other members of the organization, which will allow them to open up to new perspectives, as well as to know and understand each other better
Develop a system to measure the impact of the programs and initiatives implemented, which is essential in order to verify their suitability, effectiveness and to keep track of the progress made
Use another organization as a reference to evaluate the company’s progress. Since each company has a differentiated culture that could hinder this exercise, the International Labor Organization (2014) proposes to use international benchmarking tools such as the United Nations Global Compact that provides general guidelines
Encourage communication and feedback from employees about how they feel about company’s policies regarding diversity and be open to receiving suggestions
TRIPOD ANALYSISThe tripod analysis that will be developed in this section will allow us to carry out a comprehensive study of Douge International and its business strategy from three different perspectives: external, internal and institutional.

External analysis – Porter’s 5-forces frameworkIntroductionIn order to have a better understanding of the competitive environment existing in the recruitment industry, an external analysis will be made based on the model developed by Michael Porter.
This model is widely used in the field of business and focuses on the holistic study of the five forces shaping competition, as well as the underlying elements that drive these forces. As Porter mentions (2008), competition not only refers to direct competitors, but there are other forces that influence the profitability and growth of the business and therefore, must be also taken into consideration.
Threat of new entrantsFactors possibly affecting the threat of new entrants (= barriers to entry)
  PRESENT FUTURE
Legal and regulatory barriers Low Medium
Capital requirements Low Low
Access to channels of distribution Medium High
Growth potential High High
Product/service differentiation Medium High
Brand identification Medium High
Economies of scale Low Low
Experience curve Medium Medium
“Network externalities” No No
Retaliation Low Low
Absolute cost advantage Low Low
This force shows how likely it is that a new player enters the specific market of a company and becomes a new competitor. In general, it is understood that the more lucrative the sector and the lower the barriers to entry, the greater the threat of entry of new competitors.

Given the trend of companies to outsource their hiring processes, the recruitment sector is experiencing rapid growth with enough space to continue evolving and adapting to new scenarios brought by the development of technologies. This high growth potential has led to a considerable increase in the number of companies operating in this sector, a situation that has forced them to create strong brands and position themselves in a niche market to succeed and differentiate their competitors.

Additionally, the relevance and discretion surrounding hiring projects drive clients to work and maintain long-term relationships with companies that already have gone through the learning curve. This means that clients seek to collaborate with well-reputed headhunting firms that have a strong presence in the market, that are known for being responsible for large recruitment missions and that have valuable networks of contacts and customers. Due to this situation, differentiating their products and services, building solid reputations and generating public loyalty towards their brands can be challenging for new players.

Despite this competitive environment, none of the well-known international companies engaged in this business such as Adecco or Michael Page International has an absolute cost advantage or such relevance in the market that can cause the impression that retaliation measures will be taken against new participants. These aspects, in addition to the fact that profitability in this industry is not closely linked to the achievement of economies of scale, could motivate companies to start operations in the area of recruitment.

Likewise, there are other factors that could also help explain the proliferation of recruitment agencies that we currently perceive in the market and that is expected to grow in the near future. For instance, although starting a business in France requires many administrative procedures in different government entities (Service Public, 2018), historically there have been no legal and regulatory requirements of great difficulty for companies in the field of recruitment, such as those that exist for organizations that provide legal or financial services.

Nevertheless, this situation of flexible regulation could change in the near future due to the series of efforts made by governments to address issues and sectors that do not have clear rules. An example of this would be the General Regulation of Data Protection of the European Union (GDPR), approved on April 2016 and in force since May 2018, which was created to standardize data privacy laws across Europe and that had a considerable impact on various economic sectors (EU GDPR, ORG, 2018).

On the other hand, as in any type of business, having a certain level of capital is required to start operations and given the nature of the staffing sector, most of it goes to activities such as the establishment of an office or the hiring of personnel. However, if we make a comparison with other fields that also require inventory, specialized equipment and machinery, it is evident that the amount of capital needed is much lower.

In this context, and due to the overall low administrative, economic and legal entry barriers, it can be concluded that there is a high probability of entry of new potential competitors.

Threat of substitutes
Factors possibly affecting the threat of substitutes
  PRESENT FUTURE
Buyers’ propensity to substitute Medium Low
Price elasticity of industry demand Price-performance characteristics of substitutes Low Low
By threat of substitutes we refer to the inclination of the consumers to acquire products or services that offer functions or benefits similar to those that are being analyzed but that come from a different industry. The willingness of consumers to change products or services depends mainly on the cost that this replacement generates and is influenced by factors such as the performance or the price of the substitutes.

Currently, there are several digital tools such as LinkedIn Recruiter or Glassdoor that allow users access to large databases, which facilitates contact with candidates and significantly accelerates recruitment processes. In general, it is believed that they are likely to replace the work done by the headhunters and are perceived as the future of the recruitment industry.

Therefore, it is considered that the main benefit that the implementation of these technologies could bring is avoiding the costs of hiring the services of recruitment agencies. In this regard, it should be noted that such substitution could only be possible for the hiring of mid-range employees or those of a lower level, in which the way to approach candidates is simple and direct since they tend to be collaborative with recruiters who contact them using the mentioned online platforms.

On the contrary, in the case of top executive recruitments, the use of these platforms alone would not be as effective as the results that can be obtained by collaborating with specialized recruitment agencies. In this type of recruitments, getting in touch with the candidates is a difficult task that requires the expertise that these agencies have developed over the years. For example, to find the right candidates according to the needs of their clients, headhunters must be well connected and maintain a wide network of contacts that provide references on possible candidates and that share relevant information about companies and industries.

Moreover, it should be noted that the total replacement of recruitment companies by technological tools means that customers would have to take over the hiring processes again through their Human Resources departments. In my opinion, this is a key aspect because avoid assigning your own resources and efforts to an activity in which you are not an expert and that is not part of your main business, it is in many cases what precisely motivates customers to collaborate with experts that guarantee them higher quality hiring in a shorter period of time.

In this sense, despite the fact that the development and adoption of technological tools can be perceived as an option to recruitment firms, mainly in the case of mid-range hiring as explained, I believe that both options do not share the same overall advantages and, therefore, they are not completely interchangeable services. Consequently, it can be said that currently the threat of substitutes for the recruiting companies is low.

Bargaining power of buyersFactors possibly affecting the bargaining power of buyers
  PRESENT FUTURE
Cost of purchases as % of buyer’s total costs Medium Medium
Product/service differentiation Medium Medium
Buyer competition Medium Medium
Item importance to buyers Medium Medium
Size and concentration of buyers relative to sellers High Medium
Buyer’s information Low Low
Ability to backward integrate High High
The third strength shows the level of influence that buyers have to affect the competitiveness and profitability of sellers in a certain industry. It is considered that when facing a strong bargaining power from the buyers, sellers tend to improve the quality and lower down the prices of their products and services.
In my view, this situation is reflected in the recruitment sector for to the following reasons: in first place, buyers will always have the possibility to integrate the hiring processes backwards, taking charge of these processes and hence, stop contracting the services of recruitment agencies. In second place, the high competitiveness in this industry makes it easier for buyers to find other recruitment companies that can provide the same services without involving high exchange costs. For this reason, and in order to prevent buyers from changing suppliers, the amount of information that is shared with them is usually limited. Third, the nature and frequency in which this type of service is provided should be also taken into account. In this field, there is no permanent collaboration with clients because projects arise occasionally and recruitment firms are hired only each time a position needs to be filled. Thus, the profitability of this business lies in carrying out a small number of projects and collecting large sums of money for each of them, which gives a greater margin of negotiation to buyers, given the relevance and economic impact that each of these projects have in the recruitment agencies.

Additionally, it should be mentioned that, although there is a concentration of buyers in relation to the number of recruitment companies, this does not affect the level of influence of the buyers. This is a particular type of concentration where such a considerable difference in number is due to the fact that these buyers do not come from any specific industry but they can be any type of company that decides to contract staffing services.

However, it can also be observed that such negotiation power do begins to reduce as the collaboration and working relationship with the recruitment firms start to consolidate. So, the greater the number of projects carried out, the more opportunities the recruitment agencies will have to learn more about their clients and to engage them by proposing better and more personalized solutions because, as it is known, competition in terms of price or delivery time is not enough in this industry.

It can be concluded that even though the bargaining power of buyers is high in comparison to that of the recruitment companies that they hire, this scenario can start to balance once these agencies gain expertise into their clients’ businesses.

Bargaining power of suppliersFactors possibly affecting the bargaining power of suppliers
  PRESENT FUTURE
Sales as % of supplier total revenue Low Low
Uniqueness and differentiation of the item supplied Low Low
Supplier competition High High
Importance of item quality to buyers Low Low
Size and concentration of suppliers relative to buyers Medium Medium
Supplier’s information Medium Medium
Ability to forward integrate No No
This force determines the ability that suppliers have to affect the market by taking measures such as increasing the price of their products and services, as well as decreasing the quality of them.
The main suppliers in the recruitment business are those that provide services that allow work tasks to develop properly, such as: the companies in charge of providing cleaning, electricity, water and telephone services; the ones that provide office materials and stationery, those in charge of technology and security; as well as the companies that manage the marketing and advertising of the company.

In that regard, none of this type of suppliers is of particular importance for the recruitment firms, being possible to find and change to alternative options within the large number of companies dedicated to these activities, without generating high exchange costs.

Rivalry of established competitorsFactors possibly affecting the rivalry of established competitors
  PRESENT FUTURE
Concentration High High
Diversity of competitors High High
Product/service differentiation Medium High
Exit barriers Low Low
Excess capacity Industry growth or decline High High
Extent of scale economies Low Low
Fixed costs Low Low
This last force focuses on the analysis of the rivalry that exists in a certain environment, which has a direct influence on the levels of profitability that will be obtained in the sector. In general, it is considered that a strong competition between the economic agents present in the market leaves less profit margins and is a factor that discourages the entry of new competitors.

As is known, the recruitment industry is characterized by a fierce competition among numerous participants. Such a context would suggest that, as it is a saturated market, it would no longer be an attractive option due to its low profitability levels. However, despite the competitive environment, this is a relatively young sector that is experiencing rapid and dynamic growth caused by the increasingly common practice among companies to outsource their hiring processes, which is expected to develop further in the future.

Bearing in mind that this is an industry in which the services are generally similar and most of the companies keep competing in terms of price and time of completion of projects, there are many opportunities and benefits for those companies that manage to differentiate their services and position them properly. This, added to factors such as the low fixed costs required to start operations in this sector or the almost nonexistent exit barriers for companies that wish to cease their activities, encourage new companies to participate in the recruitment industry.
In consequence and despite the strong rivalry, investments continue because it is considered that there are still many opportunities to explore and to be exploited in the recruitment sector.

ConclusionThe external analysis of the recruitment industry conducted through the Porter 5 forces model allowed us to determine the level of competition and establish the attractiveness of the recruitment industry. The graph below shows the conclusions we reached for each of the forces that integrate this framework.

838200114300PORTER’S FIVE FORCES MODEL

Source: Own elaboration
00PORTER’S FIVE FORCES MODEL

Source: Own elaboration

349250069850LOW
LOW

2374900114300HIGH
HIGH
1047750114300HIGH
HIGH
4191000114300LOW
LOW

3492500180975HIGH
HIGH

Although there are encouraging factors for the potential entrants, such as the low threat of substitutes and the low bargaining power of suppliers, the analysis carried out shows us a scenario in which most of the forces are not favorable. As it can be observed, this is a highly competitive industry with a large number of established participants as well as with new players entering the market constantly and, moreover, in which the buyers have a privileged position and retain a strong bargaining power.
Based on this, I can affirm that the recruitment industry is not attractive for new companies that want to start operations in this sector.
Internal analysis – Barney’s VRIO frameworkIntroductionIn this section, an analysis of Douge International from an internal perspective will be carried out. As Pesic (2013) states, doing this type of analysis is essential because the levels of competitiveness of organizations are strongly conditioned by the resources they possess, in the sense that survival and sustained growth are exclusive to those who manage to identify and take advantage of their resources and capacities in an optimal way.

For this purpose, the model conceived in the year 1991 by Jay Barney and presented in the following graph will be used to determine which are the resources and internal capacities that Douge International has, as well as to establish the value and potential that these represent for the company.
55880080645 Source: B2U
0 Source: B2U

This model analyzes a given resource progressively according to four different dimensions that form the acronym VRIO and that will be explained below following what Barney expressed in his article Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage (1991).

Value: This first category raises the question of whether the resource adds value in some way that increases the efficiency of the organization. If the answer is affirmative, the resource is considered valuable and it is possible to continue with the analysis. On the contrary, if the answer is negative, such resource should be classified as a competitive disadvantage.

Rarity: This characteristic is granted only to those resources that are difficult to acquire by the organizations and that are not widely disseminated. If in addition to being valuable, the resource is rare, it leads to a situation of temporary competitive advantage. If this is not the case because the resource is commonly present in several organizations, such resource only represents a competitive parity.

Imitability: The third category aims to determine if the resource analyzed is difficult to imitate by competitors. If it is a resource that besides having the above characteristics is difficult to imitate, it could be a source of sustainable competitive advantage for the company. On the other hand, if the resource is valuable, rare but easy to be imitated, it would only generate a temporary competitive advantage.

Organizational embeddedness: This last dimension implies that the company is able to effectively use its resources. As shown in the graph, if a resource meets all four requirements, it is considered as a source of a sustainable competitive advantage. Otherwise, that resource would represent an unused competitive advantage whose benefits are not being properly used by the company that owns it.

Hence, it is considered that a company has acquired a sustainable competitive advantage when it is able to correctly use the valuable, rare and inimitable resources or capabilities that possesses.

VRIO resources and competencesThe following table will identify the resources currently owned by Douge International, which will be understood as all those attributes that improve the efficiency of the company and will be divided into two large groups for a better understanding: tangibles and intangibles. Likewise, the implications of these resources will be analyzed according to the economic consequences they generate and the impact they have on the levels of competitiveness of the organization.

RESOURCE OR COMPETENCE VALUABLE? RARE? DIFFICULT TO
IMITATE? ORGANIZATIONAL EMBEDDEDNESS? COMPETITIVE IMPLICATION ECONOMIC IMPLICATION
TANGIBLES
Infrastructure Yes No No Yes Competitive parity Normal
INTANGIBLES
Confidentiality Yes No No Yes Competitive parity Normal
Customer loyalty Yes No No Yes Competitive parity Normal
Global scope Yes No No Yes Competitive parity Normal
Human capital Yes No No Yes Competitive parity Normal
Leadership Yes No No Yes Competitive parity Normal
Management Yes No No Yes Competitive parity Normal
Market Information Yes Yes Yes Yes Sustainable competitive advantage Above Normal
Network of contacts Yes Yes Yes Yes Sustainable competitive advantage Above Normal
Organizational culture Yes No No Yes Competitive parity Normal
Reputation Yes No No Yes Competitive parity Normal
Tailor-made type of service Yes No No Yes Competitive parity Normal
Top executive recruitment expertise Yes Yes Yes Yes Sustainable competitive advantage Above Normal
Training programs Yes No No Yes Competitive parity Normal
Well-reputed customers Yes No No Yes Competitive parity Normal
According to the competitive implications that the resources mentioned above generate, they can be classified as follows:
COMPETITIVE PARITY SUSTAINABLE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
ConfidentialityCustomer loyaltyGlobal scopeHuman capital
InfrastructureLeadership and managementOrganizational culture
ReputationTailor-made serviceTraining programsWell-reputed customersMarket InformationNetwork of contactsTop executive recruitment expertiseWe can see that although the resources that belong to the first column are all valuable elements correctly managed by the company, it is not uncommon to find them or to replicate them in other organizations. For example, it can be said that having a global reach, being careful with the handling of information, respecting confidentiality, having a good infrastructure, maintaining a solid reputation and offering a personalized service are key factors to which clients tend to give great importance when deciding what company to hire. Nevertheless, the fact that they are average features easily found not only in companies dedicated to the recruitment sector but also organizations in any other field make them represent only a competitive parity for the company.

However, it should also be mentioned that such situation is not necessarily always negative because many companies deliberately decide to maintain certain capabilities at a standard level and focus their efforts on those resources that directly impact on core business activities. As can be seen from the analysis, the elements that are the source of a competitive advantage for the company are precisely those that have shaped the way in which Douge International works and allow it to differentiate from its competitors.
In this sense, the more than 18 years that the company has in the market has allowed it to develop sustainable competitive advantages like its expertise in the niche market of the recruitment of high-level executives for companies that belong to the CAC 40 index or the Fortune 500 ranking. Moreover, such expertise comes with a unique network of contacts around the world and in the most diverse economic sectors, from which one can also obtain first-hand information regarding industries and markets, which is crucial to guarantee the success of top recruitment missions.

ConclusionThe internal analysis of Douge International performed following the VRIO model developed by Barney, has allowed us to identify existing resources and assess their relevance to the firm. Likewise, carrying out this exercise has also helped us to determine the aspects in which the company has to work to strengthen them and, if appropriate, raise their level of competitiveness.

In this regard, the large amount of resources that provide only a competitive parity to the company could lead us to conclude that there is still much to improve. Nevertheless, it must be taken into account that in some cases this may be part of the business strategy implemented to concentrate exclusively on maintaining and increasing the competitiveness of the resources that directly influence its main economic activities.

Institutional analysis
IntroductionBy institutions we refer to all those ” regulative, normative, cultural-cognitive elements that, together with associated activities and resources, provide stability and meaning to social life” (Scott: 1995). On this matter, we agree with Michael Peng (2014) when stating that the relevance of these institutions is that they work as a guide that reduces the uncertainty of individuals and organizations in society, showing them what kind of behavior is considered acceptable when interacting with others and which are not.

This current framework will allow us to analyze the strategies and decisions taken by companies based on the institutions that guide their behavior. These mentioned institutions are of two types: the first case refers to those that have a formal nature and that integrate the regulatory pillar, while the second type corresponds to those informal institutions that are supported by normative and cognitive pillars.

These three pillars will be described and studied in depth in the following sections to understand the rules that govern the performance of Douge International.

Regulatory pillarThe regulatory pillar is related to all those laws and norms issued by the States or international organizations that influence the behavior of the individuals and groups that shape societies. The central element in this category is the coercive power that backs and legitimizes the existence of these norms and the consequences of its non-compliance.

Considering that there are countless norms that influence the way in which Douge International operates, I will only focus on those that I consider the most relevant to the firm. As examples of regulatory standards we can find those developed by the French state for “Sociétés à responsabilité limitée (SARL)”, also known as limited liability companies. This legal form adopted by Douge International allows the creation of enterprises with a minimum of two partners, who can freely decide the social capital provided that it exceeds the amount of one euro (Le portail de l’Économie, des Finances, de l ‘Action et des Comptes publics, 2018). This SARL status has been used by approximately 36% of the total number of companies created in France during the year 2017, according to the figures provided by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (2018).

In addition, the “Loi de Modernization de l’Economie (2008)” establishes four different categories according to the size of the company, which are: large companies (GE), intermediate-sized companies (ETI), small and medium-sized enterprises (PME) and microenterprises (TPE). Douge International can be classified in this last category, which is exclusive of those companies that have a total number of employees of less than ten people and a profit of less than 2 million euros, which represent around 96% of the total number of French enterprises (National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, 2018).
Furthermore, taking into account that this is a company with a strong international focus that can be reflected, among other things, in the large number of foreign workers that it normally employs, Douge International should also pay special attention to the labor and migratory regulations of foreign workers in France such as the “Code du Travail” or the “Code de l’entrée et du séjour des étrangers et du droit d’asile”. 
Finally, there is an international law that has been presented previously in this report that has unified the regulation on the protection of personal data of the residents of the European Union, granting them greater control over the way in which they want their information to be handled. Given that personal information regarding candidates is essential for the development of recruitment activities, this norm has a great impact on the way of operating in this industry. Specifically, its introduction has resulted in the restructuring of the internal processes of the recruitment agencies in such a way that the explicit consent of the person is required when collecting their data as well as their approval for the storage and use of such information. Moreover, this regulation also requires that recruitment agencies provide individuals the possibility of withdrawing such consent at any time and, therefore, that their personal data be deleted (LMA Recruitment).
Normative pillarAccording to Richard Scott (1995), existing normative systems include both values and norms that introduce a prescriptive, evaluative and mandatory dimension for life in society. As a result, a sense of duty is generated from the set of values, beliefs and actions of certain referents that influence the behavior of individuals, companies and other actors (Peng, 2008). This conception implies that normative systems have a moral and ethical component that legitimize them for individuals and determine what is socially correct.

In relation to the activities developed by Douge International, we consider that there are certain moral and ethical guidelines that must be observed along the recruitment processes. For example, it is essential to provide only true information about the position and the company when contacting the candidates, as well as regarding the stage in which the search currently is. Additionally, we believe that the selection of candidates must be based on clearly defined criteria, such as level of studies, years of experience or having certain skills, which helps to avoid discrimination of any kind when choosing between one candidate or another. Likewise, taking into account the way in which this activity works, we think that recruiters should always keep in mind their commitment to find the ideal candidate for the role and prioritize the client’s interest over their economic interests of placing as many candidates as possible.

It should be remarked that the previously mentioned includes only some of the guidelines that recruitment agencies and, in particular, headhunters must follow to provide an ethical and professional service to their clients, as well as a fair treatment to the candidates contacted during the search processes.

Cognitive pillarThe last pillar corresponds to the cognitive dimension, which includes all those cultural elements, perceptions and personal beliefs that influence individuals and organizations.
As for Douge International, I believe that this cognitive aspect can be seen in the characteristics that characterize the company and are part of the core of its organizational culture. An example of this is the meaning and the great importance that is given to the construction of associations and relations with customers. In addition to the elements that can be found in a typical working relationship, such as professionalism, confidentiality and collaboration, this company is constantly trying to go the extra mile in order to create strong partnerships with its customers that last and grow over time.

Another aspect that shows the particular idiosyncrasy and is a differentiating element of Douge International is the positive assessment of cultural diversity expressed mainly in the global scope of its operations and its efforts to maintain a team composed of people from different parts of the world.

ConclusionThe present model contributed to the analysis of the different types of institutions that influence the behaviors adopted by Douge International. Based on this, we were able to identify a regulatory level legitimized by the coercive power of the State that forces the company to obey certain rules and that also generates legal consequences if they are not observed.

Likewise, we found a second level called normative that establishes standards that the company must fulfill due to a sense of duty. These standards have a moral and ethical foundation that helps the organization to act according to what society expects from it, which nowadays can be developed in Corporate Social Responsibility policies. Finally, the cognitive level focuses on factors of a more subjective nature, which integrate the beliefs and values ??shared in the organization such as the importance given to the promotion of cultural diversity.

Tripod analysis conclusions
The tripod analysis was used with the intention of identifying the key aspects of the company and the industry in which it operates and consequently, to have a better understanding of the business strategy that has been implemented. This exhaustive framework allowed us to carry out our study from three different perspectives.

In first place, we refer to the analysis of Porter’s 5-forces that led us to conclude that, despite the general expectations of the fast growing and sustainable development of the recruitment sector, it should not be perceived as an attractive option for new investors. As explained in the relevant section, an industry in which there is a great threat of new entrants, a high rivalry of established competitors and a high bargaining power of buyers is definitely not a promising scenario for the newcomers.

Secondly, the internal analysis carried out using Barney’s VRIO conceptual model contributed to the identification and categorization of all the resources and competences that Douge International has. In this sense, we studied case by case the dimensions of value, rarity, imitability and organizational embeddedness existing in such resources and based on this, we were able to determine the economic and competitive implications that these generate for the company.

Finally, we performed an institutional study focused on all those elements that serve as guidelines and provide certainty to individuals and organizations in general, indicating them how to behave in a given situation. In addition, we were able to identify and analyze concrete examples of how institutions of a regulatory, normative and cognitive nature influence the performance of the company.

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITYStakeholder analysis of the companyThe present analysis will begin by defining what we mean by the term “stakeholders” as well as the consequences that the adoption of a stakeholder management approach has for businesses. In addition, we will identify and classify the stakeholders of Douge International according to their relevance to the company.

According to Edward Freeman (1984), the term “stakeholders” refers to all those individual or collective actors that may affect or be affected by the decisions and actions taken by a company such as customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, and community, among others. Due to the interest they have and the consequences that it could bring, companies strive to develop a collaborative relationship with these actors that will allow them to align their objectives and create value for everyone involved. Therefore, as the mentioned author states, this stakeholder theory has changed the way of managing a company: from considering that managers have a duty of accountability exclusively with shareholders, we now believe that the right thing to do for such managers is to maintain a fiduciary relationship with the interested parties.

Following Joseph Weiss (2014) classification, the stakeholders of Douge International can be divided into three main categories:
Focal stakeholder: represented by the managers of the company in charge of making the decisions that will affect the other stakeholders, who in this case are the Chief Executive Officer as well as the Managing Partner.

Primary stakeholders: this group includes those actors that are essential for the normal functioning of the company and who are entrusted with its continuous development, such as the board of directors, shareholders, investors and regular employees without the decision-making power previously mentioned and customers.

Secondary stakeholders: integrated by all other actors that may have some level of influence in the company but do not play an essential role in its continuity. We can place in this category: the French government and some of its agencies, labor unions, competitors in the recruitment sector, suppliers and the general public.To carry out stakeholder analysis of Douge International, we will use the Power Versus Interest Grid developed by Fran Eden and Colin Ackermann (1998). This two-by-two matrix classifies the stakeholders into four different categories according to their interests and the power they have to affect the development of the organization, so that each quadrant will indicate the type of management that the company must implement to that kind of stakeholders.

52387502514600High
00High
349250228600High
00High
3492502514600Low
00Low
25146002514600LEVEL OF INTEREST
00LEVEL OF INTEREST
-2921001028700LEVEL OF POWER
00LEVEL OF POWER
209550114300POWER VERSUS INTEREST GRID
SatisfyFrench GovernmentManageBoard of Directors, shareholders and investorsMonitor
Fellow competitors, labor unions, suppliers and general public InformEmployees and clients
Source: Own elaboration
0POWER VERSUS INTEREST GRID
SatisfyFrench GovernmentManageBoard of Directors, shareholders and investorsMonitor
Fellow competitors, labor unions, suppliers and general public InformEmployees and clients
Source: Own elaboration

The first category corresponds to the actors that have a considerable power but a low level of interest in the activities and the future of the company, such as the French Government as well as its agencies that specialize in labor, tax and migration issues, only to mention a few. These are stakeholders to whom the company should pay close attention, make an effort to understand them and keep them satisfied given the possibility of influencing their activities through their ability to issue mandatory legal norms.

On the other hand, the second category groups those stakeholders with minimum levels of influence and power over the company, who, although must be monitored and kept posted, are considered of a lower priority. We have placed in this section the competitors of Douge International, the organizations that ensure the respect of the labor rights of workers, the public opinion and the suppliers, who have low bargaining power and are easily interchangeable for the company.

The next category includes key stakeholders, such as the Board of Directors, shareholders and investors who have the power and level of influence necessary to be taken into account in the decision-making processes of the company. Given its relevance, the focal stakeholders should strive to engage them in their proposals and way of running the company, as well as develop a close relationship of constant communication with them.

Then we have the fourth category of those stakeholders such as workers and customers who have a special concern for the situation of the company as well as for its future development, but that their level of power is too low to influence the organization according to their interests. Despite the fact that the relationship with these actors is usually merely informative, it would be important for the company to go a step further and require their participation in the decision making process of measures that will directly affect them.

Finally, it can be said that this analysis has helped us to determine the way in which Douge International should address the issues and the divergences that may eventually arise with any of the stakeholders it has, always bearing in mind that the strategy to be implemented will depend on the quadrant in which the stakeholder is located.

Description of the adopted CSR-responseThe purpose of organizations when establishing Corporate Social Responsibility policies is to go beyond their economic interests of generating profitability and to contribute to the sustainable development of society and its members.
As of today, Douge International does not have an official CSR policy. On this matter, it can be stated that the company strives to develop economic activities respectful of the legal standards established by the French State and the European Union. Additionally, the firm complies with the legal requirements that concern personnel and it should be mentioned that the professional development of workers is promoted through training sessions. However, apart from these examples, there are no other initiatives that demonstrate the commitment of the company to collaborate with the society.

Therefore, although the company is shown as a responsible business that complies with the highest ethical and professional standards, the reality is that the top management maintains a reactive attitude towards the implementation of socially responsible measures.Possible suggestions for future improvement
I believe that there is enough room in this organization to make various recommendations of future improvements in the area of social responsibility. Below, I will present a list of some suggestions that could help the firm to adopt a proactive attitude with the community that surrounds them.
Any effort in this area should have as a starting point the creation of a defined CSR strategy, which can be inspired by the Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations (2018). These objectives are the following: no poverty; zero hunger; good health and well-being for people; quality education; gender equality; clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation, and infrastructure; reducing inequalities; sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption and production; climate action; life below water; life on land; peace, justice and strong institutions; and partnerships for the goals. Although these objectives cover a considerable number of topics, the company could begin addressing those directly related to workplaces such as: guaranteeing gender equality as well as ensuring decent work and compliance with workers’ labor rights.

Design policies that benefit workers on a personal level and allow them to participate in initiatives that matter to them, such as volunteering, so they can contribute to the company not only professionally. This is also a way to motivate employees, generate a sense of belonging to the organization while helping and getting involved with the community.

Ensure that the company’s standards are also observed when designing and interacting with suppliers, thus ensuring the existence of ethical actions and responsible practices throughout the entire value chain.

Recognize and internalize the importance of protecting the environment through measures that reduce pollution such as the recycling of waste or the responsible use of electronic devices.

To conclude, I must mention that commitments to CSR initiatives not only create a positive impact on society or on the specific groups that are being helped, but they can also represent a competitive advantage for the company that allows them to differentiate themselves and stand out from the rest of its competitors.
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND SELF-ASSESSMENTTechnical competences acquiredDuring my six-month internship at Douge International, I had the opportunity to develop various technical skills that allowed me to effectively apply the knowledge gained during my master’s studies and have a good performance in the organization.

On one side, I believe that the constant development of market studies and business intelligence reports helped me improve my research techniques and analytical skills. In particular, this experience gave me an extensive and invaluable knowledge on how sectors such as the mobility industry, the entertainment industry or the insurance industry operate, which have a very specific work dynamic that initially I did not know about.

On the other hand, processing large amounts of data about markets and their latest trends, regarding the industries and the organizational structure of each company, as well as collecting information on candidates, increased my ability to use programs specialized in the storage and monitoring of information. Also, it enhanced my ability to analyze qualitative and quantitative information, which along with the ability to ask the right questions during the interviews contributed significantly to fulfill my task of identifying and determining the suitability of the candidates for a given role.

Despite the differences between both disciplines, I believe that I have been able to transfer certain skills from the field of sales that have been very useful in the area of recruitment. For instance, when presenting a project to a candidate who is not actively looking for a new job, it is necessary to generate trust and to sell the position in such a way that they ended up convinced of how interesting and beneficial the project is for them and, consequently, that they must continue with the recruitment process.

Managerial competences acquiredFor several months I was the only intern in the company, which is why when three new interns joined the team, I was entrusted with the task of assisting them in the learning process and solving any doubts they had about the work system. This experience helped me to understand the importance of establishing a clear action plan that will serve as a guide for the achievement of the objectives, through a relationship of collaboration and harmony among the members of the team.

Relational and intercultural competences acquiredMy position as an International Researcher put me in contact with people from different parts of the world with the most diverse professional backgrounds, that I can divide in three groups: candidates, clients and colleagues.

Regarding the candidates, should me mentioned that since the contact with them was established mainly by telephone, it was necessary to always maintain a positive attitude that would inspire them enough confidence to share their professional and personal experiences with me. The more experience I gained in this area, the more comfortable I felt with these long conversations in which I enjoyed exchanging points of view and learning from these people. In addition, I learned that the key to connecting with people is actively listening to what they say and making an effort to put us in their place. Being empathetic with others helped me to correctly understand their motivations, expectations and exactly what they were looking for their future; and, based on this, I was able to design and implement appropriate and customized recruitment strategies.

In addition, the constant interaction with clients required for this internship allowed me to boost my communication skills and adopt a consultant mindset. Throughout the executive search processes, several meetings with clients were organized to inform them about the progress made and in order to corroborate that our efforts were on the right track, because only by understanding the clients properly is it possible to build successful and long lasting alliances. As I see it, one of the most essential parts of these meetings were the presentations made by each of the researchers involved in the project, during which we had the opportunity to share our concerns and recommendations with clients, as well as to show our candidates and receive feedback from them.

I was also able to develop social and cultural skills in my workplace. Although I think I have some international exposure having been born in Peru and having studied in Austria, the United Kingdom and the United States, having worked in a French company with such a diverse team was definitely one of the most enriching cultural experiences that I had in my life. It was not only about knowing first hand the pace of French way of working but mainly the fact that day by day I was able to interact and learn from colleagues from eight different countries.

Contribution given to the organizationIn my opinion, a small company like Douge International gave me enough space to get my ideas heard, implement my initiatives and create a direct impact on the organization because the level of responsibilities assigned to the interns was similar to those of the consultants.

My participation began with the launch meeting, where we designed a strategy to carry out the project as efficiently as possible and in accordance with the requirements established by the client. Later, I was in charge of performing market studies and building organizational charts as part of the tasks needed to identify the right talents. After this phase, I had to get in contact with the identified candidates to determine their suitability for the role and, if I considered any of them as ideal, the next step was to inform and discuss with the CEO of the company regarding the selected profiles, as well as about their strengths and weaknesses. In this sense and being more specific, I think that the main contribution I could have made to the company was to provide candidates for the different projects in which we work.

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