The Grey Chronicles

2009.May.27

Cultural Performance Management Analysis, Part VI



This post, continued from the Cultural Performance Management Analysis, discusses the opposing pairs of cultural characteristics, Internal vs. External Focus, in terms of GSPI’s corporate scenario. Based on an example as explained by Buytendijk (2008) and featured in Profit Magazine (2009), instead of two companies, the cultural performance management analysis below considers two cultures: Indian expats and Filipino workers.


F. Internal vs. External Focus

Filipinos believe to keep his own household in order—inside out, rather than outside-in. Better a shabbily-clothed man than a poorly-kept household. The clothes he wears might be shreds and tatters, but a spic-and-span home speaks volumes of the character of those who lived in it.

In 1998, NSC declared its Corporate Quality Policy:

“To become a world-class company in the global steel industry, we are committed to produce and market products and services that consistently meet our customers’ needs and expectations.”

NSC, however, remained relatively internally-focused and planned its business using a traditional budget. The company benefited from the typical best practices of performance management: top-down strategy implementations, openly shared feedback given almost monthly. When it codified its Corporate Philosophy, almost all those points addressed the internal entities: the Philippines, its Customers, its Investors, its Management, its employees and the Community.

To our Country, NSC envisioned:

“To be a major instrument in the country’s development, primarily in terms of advancement of steel-making and steel-using technology, utilization of domestic raw materials, training and employment of local labor, supply of steel materials to major industrial users and improvement of the overall trade balance.”

Several innovative ideas came from NSC. It spearheaded notable campaigns to “Save Trees. Use Steel!” or its ultimate slogan: “We’re Building a Country!” The latter still reverberates in its ex-employees’ and their families’ minds. These ad campaigns were translated into rules-based objectives: from materials procurement to employees enrichment.

To our Customers, NSC promised:

“To become the reliable source for the country&146;s steel requirements. This supply relationship with the market shall be guided by the three norms of sufficient quantities, acceptable quality and competitive prices.”

Although it ventured into exports to various countries around the globe, NSC sales dominated the local steel market for years. In terms of market, domestic market was huge compared to its export market. Domestic customers looked at NSC for advice as well as technical innovations in the local steel industry.

Last but not the least, To the Community, NSC vowed:

“To act as a responsible and concerned corporate citizen in the communities where we have a presence and to encourage our officers, employees, and representatives to do the same. To create an environment characterized by high ethical tone, honest and forthright actions, and maintain external relationships on a long-term and mutually beneficial basis.”

Its immediate community, Iligan City, became a beneficiary of its Corporate Responsibility outreach programs. The natural environment with which NSC operated became not a playground, but a sanctuary for living things. As a testament to the latter’s efforts, NSC became a recipient of the first Macli-ing Dulag Environmental Achievement Awards Special Citation for Corporation for demonstrating deep commitment and outstanding achievements in protecting and conserving the environment (Illut, 1994).

Meanwhile, GSPI’s focus is externally-inclined, that while some saw a clean facade, yet unfortunately the inner surroundings is being reclaimed by the encroaching original forest, where NSC was once built. Plant visitors might be enchanted by a welcoming red-carpet reception, only to be appalled that outside the glimpse of the welcome area, a unruly wild grass grows taller than the shrubs amidst it; or scraps seemingly mountain-high reaches for the tattered roof.

There are performance indicators, but there are mostly aimed at how the GSPI is performing in the eyes of the customers, bankers or auditors. Information is shared with the staff, but usually verbally in informal meetings.

GSPI domestic market are a trickle, compared to NSC’s. It boasts, however, of an export market growing at fast pace each and every month. Its marketing department, staffed with Indian expats, are extremely focused on the export markets in Southeast Asia and Near Asia.

Same with its corporate culture, the culture of GSPI expats had developed through the years also became externally-focused. Several banners were alternated throughout the year in observance of local holidays. One glaring example was during a particular Labor Day celebration when GSPI plastered a banner declaring its support. Unfortunately, the company failed in the coming months to give its employees of what was due them. Salaries and pays were delayed for weeks, and the thirteenth-month pay was given by installments.


Notes:

Buytendijk, Frank (2008). Performance Leadership: The Next Practices to Motivate Your People, Align Stakeholders, and Lead Your Industry. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008. back to text

Illut, Jek (1994), NSC Cited for Environmental Concern. NSC News, XIX: 5, Makati: Corporate Communications, NSC, 31 May, 1994. p. 13. back to text

Mehta, Monica (2009). Performance Leadership: A Q&A with Frank Buytendijk, Profit: The Executive’s Guide to Oracle Applications, 14:1. Skokie, IL: Oracle Publishing, February 2009. p. 32-33. back to text

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