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ABSTRACT This report reviews the Human Resource Management (HRM) of Telenor, the second largest telecom company

in Pakistan. We give a brief history of the company and tell about the corporate human resource of Telenor primarily in Pakistan. It put light on the culturally compatible HR strategies of the organization around the globe. Telenor is a multinational company that has set up its operations in Europe and Asia. This report puts light on the specific Hr strategies, policies and practices of Telenor that makes it culturally compatible in different nations. We start our consideration with the theoretical knowledge of culturally compatible HR strategies giving some real life case studies of leading multinational & transnational organizations. In the end we conclude with our recommendations for global organizations. INTRODUCTION It is the capability of different cultures to live together harmoniously. When an organization goes global and sets up its operations in some other country, it faces a totally different culture of that particular location. This local culture is their in the attitudes, work styles, demands and perceptions of the local human resource. A globalizing organization thus has to make its home culture compatible with the local culture in order to survive in the local market. The new transnational environment requires a plethora of individuals who can work internationally who are ultimately flexible, accommodating, and adaptable to different cultures and varying ways of doing things. Those organizations who effectively pursue culturally compatible HR strategies actually achieve success in long-run. Studies on the success or failure of individuals in an international setting have indicated that American expatriates experience a failure rate of 30 to 40 percent as compared to many Europeans and Japanese, whose failure rate has been estimated as low as six percent (Tung 1988). It appears that some countries or cultures are more effective at producing successful global professionals than other countries. COMPANY PROFILE Telenor Group Telenor ASA is an international provider of high quality telecommunications, data and media communication services. It ranks as worlds 7th largest mobile operator with a total of 164 million subscribers in its mobile operations. Telenor Pakistan Telenor Pakistan is 100% owned by Telenor ASA and adds on to its operations in Asia together with Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh. Telenor Pakistan launched its operations in March 2005 as the single largest direct European investment in Pakistan, setting precedence for further foreign investments in the telecom sector. The company has crossed many milestones and grown in a number of directions, making Telenor Pakistan a leading telecom operator of the country. Telenor is the fastest growing mobile network in the country, with coverage reaching deep into many of the remotest areas of Pakistan. In the most difficult terrains of the country, from the hilly northern areas to the sprawling deserts in the south, at times Telenor is the only operator connecting the previously unconnected. It is keeping ahead by investing heavily in infrastructure expansion. With USD2 billion already invested, it has extended agreements with its vendors for network expansion and

services until 2009. The agreements, with a potential to result in USD750 million worth of orders from Telenor Pakistan, are some of the biggest of their kind in the industry. Telenor is spread across Pakistan, creating 2,500 direct and 25,000-plus indirect employment opportunities. It has a network of 23 company-owned sales and service centers, more than 200 franchisees and some 100,000 retail outlets. CORE VALUES OF TELENOR Make it Easy We are practical. We don't complicate things. Everything we produce should be easy to understand and use. Because we never forget we're trying to make customers' lives easier. Keep Promises Everything we set out to do should work, or if it doesn't, we're here to help. We're about delivery, not over promising, actions not words. Be Inspiring We are creative. We strive to bring energy to the things we do. Everything we produce should look good, modern and fresh. We are passionate about our business and customers. Be Respectful We acknowledge and respect local cultures. We do not impose one formula worldwide. We want to be a part of local communities wherever we operate. We believe loyalty has to be earned. STRUCTURE OF THE ORGANIZATION In TELENOR the hierarchy is very lean, in general the whole setup is centralized, all the matters are to be reported to the main company and all the policies and targets are approved at the higher level. But at the department level the structure is decentralized. TELENOR has following functional departments: Technical Customer operations Finance Administration & Procurement Human Resource Co-ordination (Govt. relations) Marketing

HUMAN RESOURCE DEPARTMENT HR department of Telenor is in Islamabad head office where it controls and handles all the HR activities of Telenor. VICE PRESIDENT MANAGER DIRECTOR

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT MANAGER INTERNEES Human Resource departments hierarchy is as follows:Current VC (Vice President) HUMAN RESOURCE of TELENOR is Ms. Nayab Baig

GLOBAL PRESENCE Europe Norway Telenors wholly owned Norwegian telecommunications operator mobile operation is the countrys leading

Services: Broadband, Mobile, Telephone, TV Companies: Telenor Norway, Canal Digital, Conax, Norkring, Telenor Satellite Broadcasting Denmark Sonofon is the second largest mobile operator in Denmark Services: Broadband, Mobile, TV Companies: Sonofon, Cybercity, CBB, Canal Digital Sweden Telenor is the third largest mobile operator in Sweden Services: Broadband, Mobile, Telephone, TV Companies: Telenor Sweden, Bredbandsbolaget, Glocalnet, Canal Digital Finland Canal Digital is Finlands leading television distributor Services: Broadband, TV Companies: Canal Digital Hungary

Pannon is the second largest mobile operator in Hungary Services: Broadband, Mobile Companies: Pannon Montenegro Promonte has more than 450 000 mobile subscriptions in Montenegro Services: Mobile Companies: Promonte Serbia Telenor is the second largest mobile operator in Serbia Services: Broadband, Mobile Companies: Telenor Serbia Ukraine Kyivstar is the largest mobile operator in Ukraine Services: Mobile Companies: Kyivstar Russia VimpelCom is the second largest mobile operator in Russia Services: Mobile Companies: VimpelCom Asia Pakistan Telenor is the second largest mobile operator in Pakistan Services: Mobile Companies: Telenor Pakistan Bangladesh Grameenphone is the largest mobile provider in Bangladesh Services: Mobile Companies: Grameenphone Thailand

dtac is the second largest mobile operator in Thailand Services: Mobile Companies: dtac Malaysia DiGi is the fastest growing mobile operator in Malaysia Services: Mobile Companies: DiGi

CULTURAL COMPATIBILITY AROUND THE GLOBE IN TELENOR The best way to see the cultural differences depicting in the work, performance, perceptions, attitudes, behaviors and even statements of HR of different nations, is to observe the views given by themselves in their interviews. Following is such an interview that was taken by two employees of Telenor relating to two different cultures and two different nations. Name: Lawrence Ooi Position: Head of Sales, Central Region Company: DiGi Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Q: Describe briefly a typical day at your work I am responsible for the sales in the central region of Malaysia, which is the area around Kuala Lumpur. This region accounts for 50 percent of the total sales in Malaysia. There are approximately 6000 dealers nationwide. I need to make sure that all our 3000 dealers have enough supplies, that we reach our sales targets and that our brand has a prominent position in the sales outlets. I have weekly meetings with my sales staff to maintain the overview and keep myself updated on new telecom product launches and promotion efforts. I also am required travel to the other regions to get new impulses and see what our competitors are doing. Q: Why did you join the Telenor Group? Before, I worked for a telecom company that had a really strict hierarchy and too many rules and regulations for my taste. So I wanted to find a new job in the telecom industry. I had heard a lot of positive things about Telenor, so when my current position became available I applied and got the job Q: What are the best parts of your work?

It is fruitful to work with many skilled people and help them to reach their goals. In addition, when good ideas are developed into strategies, it is very interesting and challenging to execute it and see how it progresses. Moreover, there are no barriers in DiGi as you get to voice out your opinions and all suggestions are taken into account before plans are being formulated Q: How would you describe Telenors work environment? It is a great atmosphere here, and our facilities are open and modern. We are given the flexibility to work where we like, and manage our own time Q: If you should choose one word to describe Telenor, what would it be? Dynamic! This is a very dynamic company. We find solutions quickly to problems that arise. Unlike other companies in which policies are set, plans are derived and execution is expected. In Telenor, we get to set our own strategies. Q: Can you describe a special event that you especially enjoyed? We had a prepaid registration drive last 2 years and my team had to patrol all dealers outlet in Central region at the last minute before midnight to ensure we registered as many subs as possible. The next morning, had a breakfast meeting with Johan (CEO) and committee for an update session and planned on further action to execute. It was a truly remarkable experience as I got to work with people of all levels to complete a simple yet important task Q: Describe your career in Telenor so far This is my first position in Telenor, which I have had for three and a half years now. Time passes really fast, and I feel that my career is developing rapidly, especially due to the several development programs I get access to through Telenor. I find that the financial workshops and leadership sessions I have attended enables me to perform better in my job. Q: What are your professional goals? I like the responsibility and the challenges being a manager, so I would like to develop myself further as a leader and take on bigger tasks in the future Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? I like to spend time with my wife and children. We often go on longer trips in the weekends to go shopping, try new food and relax on the beach. Penang Island is one of our favorite locations. My hobby is to collect recyclable paper bags from grocery stores. The diversity fascinates me. They come in all shapes and colors. I have several hundreds paper bag at home, from all over the world. My wife is not too happy about that, though Name: Miljana Kijanovic Position: Internal Communication Manager Company: Telenor Group Headquarters and Telenor Serbia

Location: Oslo, Norway Q: Briefly describe your job at Telenor I work with internal communication in short, that means I am part of the team that provides employees with the information they need in their daily work as well as news about the company. Currently, I am part of the editorial team in the Group Communications department in Norway. Previously I worked as head of the internal communications staff in Serbia. Group Communications at Telenor ASA felt that it would be useful to get different views on internal communication based on my experience of working for a Telenor operating company in another country. So, here I am in Norway. This is an exciting opportunity for me and the recognition is important. At the same time, I am pleased to see that people in Telenor are aware of the differences that exist across a big international company and are ready to listen and learn more. The job I have now does not differ much from the one I had before. Just as in Serbia, we start the day summing up recent events and news stories. Then, we plan forthcoming activities. I still write articles and stories for our intranet portal, which is something I enjoy doing. Besides that, I am involved in the development of the new intranet, which will be used by tens of thousands of employees worldwide. Being even a small piece of the puzzle in a complex project like that is exciting. Q: Why did you join Telenor? I used to work for Mobtel, the Serbian telecommunications provider acquired by Telenor in 2006. It was a change for me suddenly to be a part of an international telecommunications group. The way we do business now is quite unlike my previous experience. But it has certainly changed for the better. We were used to a strict well, old-fashioned hierarchy. That is not what it is like at Telenor. It does not matter whether you are a manager or not everyone sits side by side in the office. That is quite unusual for Serbian companies. Q: What has your career at Telenor been like so far? I have been in the telecommunications sector for over 10 years now, and tried several interesting jobs. My first position with Telenor was also my first role as a manager and an important opportunity for me. The job I was doing there brought me to Norway, where I now have the chance to continue working within my profession and at the same time learn how things look and work from a different perspective. Q: What do you enjoy most about your work? Internal communications is a new profession in Serbia, so I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be one of the pioneers and set the standards. During a recent Public Relations conference in Belgrade, I held a presentation in front of a wide audience about internal communications Q: How would you describe the work environment at Telenor? When I started to work with Telenor in Serbia, we had just moved into a new building, located in the new part of Belgrade. Our Belgrade offices have a cool, modern design. Everyone enjoyed the benefits that make it an attractive place to work, such as free refreshments and massage chairs. Now, I know the concept is the same here, in Norway. The Telenor headquarters just outside Oslo - at Fornebu, has an incredible position just by

the sea. The view over the fjord is different from the grey urban landscapes I was used to. I also admire the Telenor art collection, both here and in Belgrade. Colleagues are the most important part of any work environment. I miss my colleagues in Serbia, our discussions about work, but also the time we spent together out of the office. Still, I am forming new friendships and getting to know new people in Norway. Although there is a similar work culture across Telenor, there are differences in our native cultures that make working together interesting, sometimes challenging, but certainly enriching for all of us. Working and living in another country and a new environment, enables me to develop not only professionally, but also as a person. Q: If you had to choose one word to describe Telenor, what would it be? Actually, I would choose two important words: freedom and responsibility. At Telenor, you are given the necessary tools to do your job, but you are not told how to perform your tasks. For instance I have flexible working hours, and can take my laptop down to the lake during the summer to enjoy the sun while I am working. We have a lot of freedom - as long as you produce the results. I really value this freedom. Q: Can you describe a special event at work that you particularly enjoyed? I was part of the committee responsible for planning and organizing our one-year anniversary in Serbia in 2007. It was a big event with activities for both employees with families, as well as external partners and others interested in celebrating this milestone. We had an outdoor party with a live DJ, puppet theatre for the children, sports activities, and a lot more. It was a great success! Everyone loved it. Q: What are your professional goals? I want to develop my career with Telenor further, and strengthen my internal communications and branding competence. I was tempted to explore international opportunities and I still am. It really exposes you to new ideas and viewpoints and helps to open your mind to new ways of doing things Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? I like to be active and I enjoy sports. Rollerblading and skiing are my favourites, so I really look forward to the skiing season in Norway. I also love the gym and I often go to the one at Fornebu as an employee here I have almost free access. The gym is located at the offices, which is very convenient. OBSERVED DIFFERENCES The difference in the statements of the two is quite obvious; one is a woman other is a man. Another difference is that they work in two different cultures of nations. It is a fact that cultural differences make difference to the HR practices. It isnt necessary that what is valuable to one culture man is also valuable to other cultures man. It is observable that the lady is answering to all the questions very descriptively while the man is answering precisely and to the point Both of them switched to Telenor from another telecom company. The lady switched it because she wanted to work in an internationally recognized company while our Malaysian friend didnt like the strict environment of former company.

The lady got promoted due to her learning and the man got promoted through workshops. The lady has the professional goal to work internationally while the man wants to move vertically upward to managerial posts. The typical European lady is very sporty while the man is truly Asian and want to spend spare time with his family The lady loves recreational activities at work while the man enjoys work related activities.

OBSERVED SIMILARITIES In short the cultural differences are quite obvious through their priorities, likings and dislikings. However the company based ideas are completely same like Both joined Telenor impressed with its freedom of expression Both are provided the career opportunities Both are given the environment compatible to their cultures so that they may not feel the odds. Both have described their company Telenor in the same sense of goodness. Both have described their work environment as free, respect giving as well as responsible.

These similarities are the result of Telenors culturally compatible environment being provided to its human resource. HUMAN RESOURCE STRATEGIES We discuss Telenors strategies which make it culturally compatible to the human resource of different countries where so ever it has set up its operations. Following are these strategies: RECRUITMENT: Telenor claims FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION The hiring criterion in Telenor is same throughout the globe. However due to changes in the skills, knowledge and abilities of people in different countries , Telenor has varying staff hiring priorities eg here in Pakistan university education is quite common and cheaper as compared to western countries. Pakistan has a pool of graduates and post-graduates, so obviously more educated and skilled person is hired whereas in western set ups Telenor has mostly graduates in job positions. Telenor hires young and talented people more as compared to experienced elderly in Asian countries. It is due to the fact that the creativity and freshness required by service sector like Telenor is found in only young talents in Asia. The middle aged people in Asian countries are less enthusiastic and fresh. However people in western countries remain enthusiastic and fresh for a relatively longer period of time. 80% of Telenors staff is young blood.


There is a lot of respect given to all employees. Here the manager shakes hand with the mop. All the employees self-serve themselves. They are not allowed to make the service men work in their service There are no cabins in any Telenor centre. There is a central lobby where the front desk men to the Regional Officer (RO) all sit together. As a cultural symbol Pakistani Telenor offices have placed a big bell with a string on the main door of offices. It is for the purpose that any one who feels himself satisfied with Telenor can ring the bell. It is in coincidence with the practice of Late Mughal King Jahangir who used to listen to the petitions of his sub ordinates whoever has any complaint.

TRAINING Training system is much vibrant in European Telenor set-ups. But owing to the lesser revenues generated in Asian markets, Telenor is not carrying out best training here. Training is always ignored in Pakistan by all. However Telenor keeps on conducting one day training for its employees throughout their work life.

JOB DUTIES Telenor is carrying out equal and uniform strategies everywhere. Its job duties and their requirements are same. It offers flexible work hours to all employees in its customers service call centers. There is no discrimination on gender base in Telenor. The reward system is same everywhere. Everyone is rewarded on good performance in monetary units as well as recognition and applaud. All employees working in Telenor along with their family members are medically insured. They can get up to 10 lakhs on medical treatment. Owing to the more health problems among aged in Asian countries, Telenor prefers to retain young and healthy employees. In western countries mostly young people are medically tested for maladies. There are no pension plans in Telenor. There are provident funds provided in Telenor.

CULTURAL COMPATIBILITY Telenor do value the culture of its transnational bases eg in Pakistan Telenor has the policy to send its 2 employees on Hajj every year Telenor arranges aftar for its staff in Ramzan. In the last annual meeting of Telenor, They have decided sherwani as the dress code in Pakistan. Even in inter-province culture differences, the example of Quetta is interesting where employees arent asked to wear suits. They wear shalwar kameez

CONFLICT RESOLUTION Referring to the Denmark issue created in Pakistan against Telenor, its HR had no impact due to this controversy. Not a single employee felt against Telenor. It was a great achievement of Telenor that it got in the shape of loyalty and concern of its HR towards Telenor.


Telenor face many challenges with the ever growing need of competent Human Resource. It is really hard to hire and retain the best people especially around the globe. The global companies face many challenges regarding the cultural identity of respective nations. They have to adjust culturally to the environment of respective countries. And when even hiring the HR staff of that very country, the organization is exposed to many challenges to make them perform at their best. CONCLUSION By keenly analyzing the Human resource Management of Telenor, we the group members agree that Telenor is carrying out satisfactory culturally compatible strategies for its HR. Although it is not promoting the cultural identity agenda that aggressively but even then it is facing much less cultural conflicts among its HR. It may be due to the reason that it has divided itself in just two markets: Europe & Asia. The European market almost holds the same culture and three of its Asian market countries are Islamic. We came through very unusual facts about managing any companys HR. We believe that managing a competitive and culturally compatible HR in a competitive global market is a tough job. And Telenor is so far quite successful in hiring and retaining exceptionally talented HR worldwide. COMMENTS As students of human resource management, among other things, we believe that the globalization and the advancement of technology influences how organizations should react and adjust to the changing times and economy. Every company will have to find its own route and this will depend on the situation and will be different for executive management and specialized staff. The decisive turnaround within todays human resource policy appears to be in the replacement of both local autonomy and the home country preference. We will not seek to deny the obvious power of globalized capitalism to distribute and promote its cultural goods in every corner. Nor will we take up the argument now very commonly made by critics of the cultural imperialism thesis that a deeper cultural impact cannot be easily inferred from the presence of such goods. What we will try to comment is something more specific: that cultural identity, properly understood, is much more the product of globalization than its victim. RECOMMENDATIONS We as students of HRM can just recommend global companies (in this case Telenor also) within the sphere of our knowledge, exposure and literature survey. WE recommend that: A worldwide audit of IHR (International Human Resource) programs and plans should be conducted at least every three years as a matter of course. While guidelines and an approval process help management navigate through obvious change, subtle changes within the company, local market practice, legislation, and employee demographics can erode programs effectiveness over time. Multinational pools are particularly subject to degrading without continuous corporate sponsorship and should also be re-evaluated periodically. Each organization must decide whether it has the right people in the right places to make the changes, whether these people have been adequately trained, given the necessary resources and focused on the right objectives, and whether they believe they will be rewarded for their contributions. HR strategy must be consistent with the needs of the organization, and its component strategies must provide alignment with the organization's objectives. Human resource strategies can be powerful tools for signaling cultural change and reinforcing those changes once they are made. Who is hired and retained,

how people are paid, and what behaviors are deemed desirable all send strong messages about the desired culture. The potential of HR strategies and programs for shaping organizational culture cannot be overestimated. For HR strategy to realize its full potential, the organization must first determine what its culture is and what it should be. Then the organization can create a plan for aligning culture with its mission and environmental or contextual realities by managing the culture from what it is to what it should be.

References and acknowledgments Telenor HR department, head office, F-7 Islambad.

Special thanks to telenor HR department for the guidelines and their cooperation.