People Management, the Mantra for Success: The Case of Singhania and Partner.
Human resource management deals with the overall relationship of the employee with the organization (Cullen, 2011, p. 437). International human resources deal with the same settings but on an international scale. When organizations take on international business they face many challenges and barriers. Setting the bar and being prepared for the negative or having a back up plan enables businesses to function wholeheartedly. Adapting to the cultures nationally, professionally and socially creates aspects issues that need to be addressed when it comes to reaching success. The case at hand with Ravi Singhania and Manju Mohotra shares aspects of business and human resource management that they both took part in to ensure the success of the business: Singhania and Partners.
Ravi Singhania is the founder and managing partner of Singhania and Partners. This was one of the largest full service National law firms in India (p 509). Singhania knew that he was going to be a lawyer and his own firm since a young age. His most important reasons for success in business were the approach that the customer is king and the employees are the biggest assets (p. 510). He capitalized on the demand for legal services created by the liberalization of the Indian economy. In the beginning, a sizable amount of his clients came from overseas clients. This made an impact where he felt that in order to effectively serve clients and gain a competitive advantage, it would be valuable to establish an overseas office thus came the New York City location.
With the conscious effort to create and adapt to the lifestyle and customs of America, Singhania interacted with various constituents. Through his interactions with other law firms, he became conversant with the Western style of legal services management, which also had a significant impact on his very own management style (p. 510). He became an expatriate employee in American and gained skills that broaden his own horizons and thoughts for the betterment of his own company. The case doesn’t make reference to any compensation or family issues that Singhania may have encountered during this time; however the atmosphere of his organization was favorable in both family life and compensation. After being exposed to a different style of management and skills that he could replicate himself, Singhania then opened an office with Mohotra as partner with the assistance and support of his father. This office he opened in New Delhi, India where they didn’t have many competitors. With the partnership, Singhania and Mohotra took on separate and also equal duties to make the partnership work. Their partnership mostly resembled shared management structure and split control management. In the shared management structure, both partners contribute approximately the same number of managers to positions and functional areas (p. 356). In this case, there were only two. The split control structure is similar to the shared management structure in that the partners usually share in strategic decision-making (p. 356).
However at a functional level, partners make decisions independently (p. 356). Singhania managed the company legal services aspects while Mohotra took responsibility in managing the overall business and assignment of personnel to various projects based on their competencies and availability. They both handled the marketing activities. Commitment and trust between the two to make the alliance work was great synergy. They both were committed to seeing this thru, consulting one another and ensuring that their employees and customers were happy along the way. The strategy of Singhania and Partners was to foster and create an atmosphere that was healthy and vibrant for employees who would spill this over to clients whom in return would spread to others in form of referrals. Since during this time advertising in India as strictly remanded to the Yellow pages, word of mouth referrals played a big part in their business success. India was a prime spot for outsourcing which opened new avenues for Indian legal professionals. Taking part in legal process outsourcing and focusing on high quality legal workforce helped expand and open doors for the organization. Their growth strategy for the most part was to begin with low value services and gradually move up the value chain by acquiring and exhibiting domain expertise. In doing so, they hired a litigation lawyer in preparation to enter the litigation arena one day, which came soon with Daewoo as a client. This made it possible for the company to move to a larger office and also setup 3 additional offices. They formed affiliations with counsels across several Indian states in order to meet its’ clients needs to interact with one for legal services across the country. This strategy helped the company to grow from 2 lawyers to over 50 lawyers with 8 of them who made partners.
Indian legal services industry had been booming since the countries economic liberalization in the 1990s’ (p.509). The exponential growth of this industry was accompanied by an acute talent crunch, the ability to hire and retain talent, which became the source of competitive advantage, a mantra for success (p. 509). Law firms’ key capability was the skill, knowledge and capacity of their employees (p. 509). Effective Human Resource management was essential for law firms due to the increasingly competitive labor market required to develop creative approaches to the recruitment and reward of employees.
International Human resource Management practices take form in recruitment and selection, training for cross-cultural adaptation, management development effects of international assignments, evaluation and compensation. Singhania and Partners made shire that their organization was a place that had all these principles in order when it came to their employees. Compensation was above average at the company for employees. When it came to other firms in the area, their pay scale ranked high. Not only was pay considered, but also company funded events like annual retreat for the employees. Evaluation of the employees brought on growth in their career. They believed in promoting form within according to Merit based system. If someone had the skills and knowledge and displayed them they would be able to benefit when the time was right.
Management development effects of international assignments can pose many challenges for managers. In polycentric and regiocentric multinationals, they place hoe country nationals in top-level management or technical positions (p. 463). These home country managers are used to control overseas operations or to transfer technology to host country production sites (p. 463). Singhania displayed this when he opened an office in New York City, New Delhi, and then three additional cities. This shows signs of growth and stability for the company. Training for cross-cultural adaptation took place when Singhania went to New York and opened office. During this time he had to gain knowledge of how to adapt and deal with other cultures and nationalities that he was use to. This enabled him to have a broader vision as a global businessman. Mostly Mohotra alone handled the recruitment and selection process. However in order to be able to benefit from the great compensation plan and stress free environment, one had to have extensive knowledge and expertise. Singhania and partners strived to employ and have nothing but the best. They were very selective because their reputation was all they had that would keep them vibrant. One bad experience could ruin them for sure. Retaining employees by keeping them in an intellectually stimulated environment was key. The organization displayed and encouraged motivation, great opportunity to learn, build confidence, and grow within the organization.
IMPROVEMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Companies can always use room for growth, change and improvements in all areas. Singhania and Mohotra discussed that as they reviewed the business and its progress in all areas. Like all alliances the partners must be able to sit down and review, and resolve any issues or conflicts while evaluate if the partnership is still vibrant for both parties. In this aspect thus far, even with the risk of outsourcing at a risky time, they still seemed to be doing well. One area that I would suggest be improved on is the management development. I think the employees would benefit by being offered more training skills, communication and legal courses and on the job training. The areas that are being outsourced can be additional revenue for the company if they had individuals within that were able to handle them. This would cut cost and some liability. Not only would that benefit the company and the employees but also the clients. They have already built a bond with the organization and its personnel, so why have to shuffle off portions of the work to somewhere or someone else that may not have the same theories on customer service as Singhania and Partners. Since bulk of the business comes from referrals and yellow pages, I think having in-house employees for outsourced jobs would be beneficial to all involved. This is how I feel the change will also impact the industry and the organization.
Management is able to successfully improve the current strategy but focusing on the goals of the clients, society and technological changes that may arise. As clients grew and needed a larger variety of services, Singhania and partners offered more expertise. To also meet the stress free environment, which makes for happier employees, they often overstaff projects so that employees are not overworked and have time for family. Focusing on growth strategies for the organization as far as clients, while retaining the employees they have will be key. Making other liaisons across other countries like America, China, or even South America would also be useful. Branching off into other societies and cultures, not only would be moving for the organization but also for the employees. It would give some expatriate employees a chance to return home, some a chance to learn and experience something new while climbing the ladder of success.