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Arik Air, Human Resource Management

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Arik Air is one Nigeria's largest airline and one of the largest airlines in all of Africa. Their employment situation is a bit unique in that close to 10 percent of their employees are expatriates. Recruiting and retaining expatriates to work as pilots or other positions in Nigeria can require higher salaries than are typically paid to local workers. However, disparities in wages between expatriates and local employees can lead to resentment. Overall, the human resource situation for a company that operates globally and hires globally such as Arik Air can be quite complicated.

Do some research on Arik Air and the human resource situation in Nigeria. Below are a few articles to get you started:

Arik Air customer base soars (Jan. 31, 2014). AllAfrica.com. Washington, DC. [Proquest]

Nigeria loses N500 billion annually to expatriate pilots. (Jan. 24, 2014). AllAfrica.com. Washington, DC. [Proquest]

Fajana, S., Owoyemi, O., Elegbede, T., & Gbajumo-Sheriff, M. (2011). Human resource management practices in Nigeria. Journal of Management and Strategy, 2(2), 57. [Proquest]

Now suppose that Arik Airlines has been purchased by an American company, which now has to develop a plan to address the issue of hiring and maintaining a well qualified pilot staff and making all of Arik's employees feel welcome under the new American parent company. Also, suppose that you have been tasked with coming up with a solid human resource plan for the new American owners of Arik Air. You need to make major decisions such as how much to rely on local staff, how much to rely on employees from the U.S. or other countries, and how to deal with the sensitive issue of how an American company manages local employees who may be resentful of their new owner. In order to do this, you will need to use what you've learned in the background materials in this module as well as what you've learned in the previous modules about assessing the local environment of a country.

In a 4- to 5-page paper, present a strategic human resource plan considering the following issues:
1. Go to Hofstede's webpage http://geert-hofstede.com/countries.html and look up the cultural values for both Nigeria and the U.S. Look up the scores of individualism, power distance, and uncertainty avoidance. What major differences do you see between the two cultures? What kind of implications will this have for how the American airline company manages their Nigerian employees?
2. Overall what kind of human resource strategy do you think the American company should take to manage Arik Airlines? A geocentric approach, polycentric, or ethnocentric approach? Explain your reasoning, and cite Steers and Nardon (2005) or Rao (2010) as part of your answer.
3. What kind of mix between Nigerian employees (host-country nationals), American employees (home country nationals), or third country nationals do you think should be hired? What challenges do you see for hiring each type of employee? Explain your reasoning, and cite Steers and Nardon (2005) or Rao (2010) as part of your answer.

Remember that your paper should reflect an integration of both what you learned in the background materials about the key general aspects of international human resource management, and what you've specifically learned about the unique issues involved in managing human resources in an airline in Nigeria. Your task it to apply the background materials to the specific issues that would be faced by an American company if they were to purchase Arik Air.

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For over 10 years, Nigeria had stopped training pilots; this was due to the liquidation of Nigeria Airways Limited (NAL), and the closure of the Nigeria College of Aviation Technology, Zaria. This led to a shortage of pilots, even as the demand for pilots grew. In March 2012, Arik Air carried 171,794 passengers. In March 2013, the number of passengers carried was 260,132, an increase of over 50%. To fill the need for pilots and to help expand the business, Arik Air hired expatriates to pilot the airplanes.


Since Nigeria is a Third World country, one might wonder why a skilled pilot or engineer—who could command a high pay in any country--would be willing to work for a Nigerian airline. One reason that has recently been uncovered is that many of the expatriates were unqualified, and did not possess the skills they had stated on their applications. These expatriates had, in fact, wanted to go to Nigeria to learn hands on. This fosters resentment among Nigerian pilots since expatriates are paid more and are given more vacation time than are the local Nigerian pilots.


The graph below shows the cultural differences between a Nigerian employee and an employee from the United States.

The Power Distance scores are 80 and 40 for Nigeria and the United States respectively. This indicates that, in general, Nigerians accept that each employee has his or her own place in the company, and accept that the boss will tell the employee what to do, and the employee should do it without question. Nigerian employees accept that power is distributed unequally, and that there is a central governing power over the company. Employees from the United States accept these concepts to a lesser degree. Employees from the United States expect to have more autonomy, and expect to have some power over how they perform their jobs. Arik Air may find that the Nigerian employees want more instructions and guidance from their bosses than do employees from the United States. Employees from the United States may have more self-serving motivations than employees from Nigeria.

The Individualism scores are 30 and 91 for Nigeria and the United States respectively. This indicates that, in general, Nigerians consider themselves to be part of a company, in a collective way, where the employee has a long-term commitment to the company. In general, employees are loyal to the company, and this loyalty supersedes other norms and customs. Employees generally work together as a group, and are managed as a group. Decisions made between a boss and workers are based on moral grounds. Arik Air may find that Nigerian ...

Solution Summary

The expert provides some research on ARIK Air and the human resource situation in Nigeria. Answered in 1721 words. Seven sources are provided.