Monotown Workforce Revitalization
Editor, the knd
Various nationalists often complain that the increased openness of the nation’s economy has brought about our economic insecurity. Reality shows that advances in technology induce structural transformation inside of a nation’s labor market. The public’s ever changing consumption patterns and increasing demand for products combined with shareholders’ constant desire to increase productivity are the real harbinger of national anxiety.
I intend to discuss the theory of deindustrialization, its negative effects on the global workforce. I will suggest consideration of the utilization of Human Resource Management to attempt avoidance of deindustrialization by developing countries. My research on this theory has been limited to articles mainly concerned with the workforces of the United States, Russia and China.
A monotown is a Russian description of a city or town that is dependent upon one type of business or one organization for the economic activity and thus the lively hood of the workers and surrounding community. Monotowns’ monetary dysfunctions are comparable to the economic strife found after the automobile industry collapse in Flint, Michigan or the oil bust in Enid, Oklahoma. When the organizations are operating at peak capacity, life in the community is excellent. But if business declines for any reason, the town economy suffers greatly.
The re-development of monotowns is a complex task. Social issues are inseparable from the economic issues. The legal, political and environmental reality must be considered before development begins. It is necessary to bring together all levels of government (federal, regional and municipal), the involvement of public organizations, trade unions, as well as the direct interest of the monotown’s population to bring about long term development. Developing the interest of the general public in a monotown is a human relations nightmare in itself. A disheartening trend of the monotown is natural decline in population and an aging demographic.
To solve the problems inherent in a monotown there is a need to attract investment. However, investment attractiveness of monotowns depends on enumerated factors: favorable position, developing infrastructure, developing labor market, and developing human capital.
Russia has searched outside of its borders for insight to a solution to the monotown. State policies that focus on increases in employment, in wages, and in the end result, increased socio-economic status of the monotown population generally have shown industry wide benefits for the long term. This moves the global workforce away from the problems of deindustrialization but has few clear shot term advances of the profit margin, so it is often over looked in the search for greater productivity.
In the U.S., Russia, and China as well as many other countries, a long-term program for the development of the most backward economic areas must be developed and implemented. These programs should include state sponsored activities that aid the population in establishing means for production and the social infrastructure to ensure favorable conditions for the subsequent placement of modern industries into them. Economic stimulation of the development of small and medium-sized cities should turn them from the backward and depressed monotowns into active centers of economic growth.
One of the most common mechanisms of support and rehabilitation of monotowns workforce in the West is restructuring the exhausted functionality of the city. While the economic restructuring of a monotown can be carried in two ways:
1. Diversification of the economy: through the development of new areas and sectors of the economy, including technology-intensive industries and services that follow the general trend of decreasing the proportion and the role of the erstwhile sector in the global economy;
2. Restructuring of the monotown economy through the modernization of “old” industries.
While modernization is a constant battle; diversification should always be sought out by actors of the state development offices. While it does not guarantee, this increases the monotown’s conversion efficiency.
A general description of state sponsored redevelopment activities:
1. New universities are created for the professional retraining of the workforce population, in monotowns, attended by citizens paying for the education through government loans. This increases the intellectual capital of the monotown’s workforce, expanding the list of specialties and generally increasing educational and scientific potential of the population.
2. Social assistance to the population – the introduction of long paid vacations, benefits (for example, preferential loans for housing); facilitation for the creating of new jobs for redundant workers; organization of public works for temporary employment; granting the right to early retirement, etc.
3. Support of small business development with state funds, local budgets and public funds.
4. Government assistance with resettlement of workforce from unpromising monotowns. Due to the high mobility of the United States population, resettlement of the workforce population of a monotown requires little government assistance. The main difficulty is motivating the workforce to relocate.
The non-draconian motivation of a workforce population should look more like an exercise in establishing a modern human relations department. While this borders on dystopian rhetoric and resonates very much like a conspiracy one could listen to on the History Channel; there is HR Management theory that backs up this approach. According to Geert Hofstede’s study on the cultural constraint in management theories, there is a measurable degree of inequality among people that is considered to be normal in all human cultures. This acceptable inequality or power distance, is measured and compared to the culture of a country. A country generally has a traditional collectivist mindset or an individualist mindset, and this dictates how that country’s workforce will act in the workplace. Cultures affect a country’s economy via their promotion of individual/group work ethics and incentives/procedures to improve human capital. Workers from the United States have a preference for a low power distance. They value individualism highly, have a low level uncertainty avoidance and operate more with short term considerations. Workers in Russia have a tradition of operating under high power distance with a relatively midlevel amount of individualism. Russians operate with a high level of uncertainty and extremely low long term orientation. Workers in China function under a high power distance with a low level of individualism. The Chinese level of uncertainty avoidance is a high medium, and the Chinese have an extremely high long term orientation. The Chinese have a saying, “the sky is high and the emperor is far away.” This begs to be a metaphor for business in an age of deindustrialization, globalization, technological restructuring and the resurgence of nationalism.
The growth of Asia and and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) are pushing Chinese companies to compete in the global marketplace, and this includes providing workers protection and rights not traditionally offered. Thanks to globalization, China is now a parent country and a host country and a third country to international and national workers alike. To be clear, a parent country is the country in which a business organization’s corporate headquarters is located. A host country is the country where the parent country business organization has moved operations or initiated additional operations in. A third country is a country other than the parent country or the host country in which the organization may or may not have operations. The three country distinctions are used to compare and contrast and discuss business organizations, their employees and their business operating structure in relation to the business climate of the countries they operate in. This multiple role is thanks to innovations such as empty operation-ready factories built for foreign companies. In an effort to provide work for its workers and stay competitive in the global market, China has enacted a plan to build giant factories to be leased to foreign companies for business development. The construction, initiated by the Chinese government, guarantees that the construction work will be completed by Chinese workers and construction companies. The Chinese Communist Party will have control over foreign organizations’ building size and location. This has introduced foreign unions and HR management into Chinese economic activity and practice and induced Chinese HR development in its own organizations. Western observers hope for and the CCP fears, the pressure for democratization in certain societal spheres that will develop from westernization of the Chinese HR model.
It should be noted that deindustrialization has also been pointed out to be nothing more than a societal rationalization for the disproportionate allocation of the products of global workforce labor. “the globalization of the world production may, to a great extent, be attributed to the relocation. Relocation channels are diverse and represent the subject of many analyses. Some were celebrating the relation so much that they saw the herald of the ‘’third industrial revolution“ in it.” (Lošonc and Ivanišević, 34)
Entering International Markets – What are the global employee preparation issues that today’s organizations face?
* Preparing employees to work in foreign locations – Employee assessment, selection and training, Cost projections for global assignment, Assignment documentation, Compensation, benefits and tax considerations., Employee relocation assistance, Family support.
* (IVERSEN, T and CUSACK, T , (1998), The Causes of Welfare State Expansion, Deindustrialization or Globalization? , World Politics 52 (April 2000), 313–49 )
* (Estlund, Cynthia L. and Gurgel, Seth, Will Labour Unrest Lead to More Democratic Trade Unions in China? (December 12, 2013). Forthcoming in China and ILO Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (Roger Blanpain, Ulla Liukkunen, & Yifeng Chen, eds., 2014); NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 13-82. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2366815 )
* (Ekaterina Alexandrovna Vetrova1, Marija Anatol’evna Atamanova1, Tatiana Vladimirovna Kulakova , (2014), The replacement strategy for monotowns in Russia: From industry branches towards tourism on the example of Baikalsk , Life Science Journal 2014;11(12s) http://www.lifesciencesite.com )
* ( Gurchiek , 2007, Helping Prepare Workers for Global Postings Falls to HR, WWW.shrm.org – Oct 9, 2007)
* (Noe, 2015, Human Resource Management Gaining a Competitive Advantage / 9e)
* Andrea Ivanišević , and Alpar Lošonc , Deindustrialization: Why Would Anyone Consider It Is a Myth , International Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management (IJIEM), Vol. 5 No 1, 2014, pp. 29-38 , Available online at http://www.iim.ftn.uns.ac.rs/ijiem_journal.php , ISSN 2217-2661