Managing Global Managers: Developing a Global Mindset

Abstract

One of the challenges that global organizations face when they venture into international markets is developing a workforce with a global mindset. Global managers should have suitable skills, knowledge, and competencies to guide their organizations through the process of integrating a global mindset into the corporate culture. Multinational companies are often characterized by their ability to integrate their resources with the business culture of various foreign markets. Factors that contribute to the development of global mindsets among managers include culture and perceptions. A global mindset plays a pivotal role in helping organizations create a team of multicultural managers. Business cultures in some countries do not consider the plight of foreign investors, a phenomenon that can be challenging for organizations without culturally competent managers. Several strategies can be used to effectively create a team of global managers within an organization. The opportunity of a manager to work in a foreign company and live in a new environment adds a lot of value to an organization.

Introduction

Over the last couple of years, numerous factors have influenced changes in ways of doing business within organizations. This phenomenon has been influenced by the high rate of population growth, technological developments, improved lifestyle choices, and the opening of foreign economies for investment (Dekker, 2013). These factors have created an increased demand for goods and services across the world, a phenomenon that has led to the development of new strategies for running operations in various organizations (McCourt, 2003). For example, the growth of technology has created a huge demand for digital devices across the world. Most technology companies are opening production centers and subsidiaries in various parts of the world in a bid to meet the global demand. One of the elements that characterize organizations in the contemporary world is the globalization of operations (McCourt, 2003). Over the last couple of decades, several businesses in various parts of the world have taken advantage of the effect of globalization to expand their operations in international markets (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 2003). This has rendered the traditional ways of carrying out operations in organizations irrelevant, as the focus has shifted towards creating goods and services with a global appeal (Dekker, 2013). For example, most companies have started programs to design products for specific markets depending on the tastes and preferences of consumers. Research has established that one of the challenges that most of these organizations face when they venture into international markets is developing a workforce with a global mindset (Neubert, 2013).

Discussion

The transition from the traditional ways of running organizations to the contemporary ones is very complex and requires careful consideration of the interplay of factors that influence the propagation of the process (Lovvorn & Chen, 2011). It is important to note that the ability of global organizations to perform well in the international market depends a lot on their ability to create multicultural management and leadership teams. There is an urgent need to have global managers with the suitable skills, knowledge, and competencies that will enable them to guide their organizations through the process of integrating a global mindset into the corporate culture (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 2003). Global managers are responsible for ensuring that their organizations have a good presence in international markets by increasing their knowledge of various business cultures across the world (Lovvorn & Chen, 2011). Doing business in the contemporary international market is quite demanding for organizations.

Multinational companies are often characterized by their ability to integrate their resources with the diversity of various foreign markets. This feat is highly achievable if organizations invest in a flexible capacity development program geared towards creating a global mindset in their workforce through their management teams (Rhinesmith, 1992). To achieve this milestone, global organizations should exercise their freedom to reorient the process of doing business from a local mindset to a globally oriented one. Organizations with plans to venture into the international market require three crucial personalities, namely business executives, global managers, and functional leaders. Global managers are responsible for heading an organization’s operations in international markets (McCourt, 2003). Creating and managing effective global managers is a challenging task that can bear good results if done professionally. The most important thing to consider when creating global managers is the need to have culturally competent individuals (Sorell, 2014). This element plays a crucial role in influencing the ability of managers to develop a global mindset that will enable an organization to adapt to different business cultures across the world. Effective integration of elements that define global markets is the most important role that managers at this level play within an organization (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 2003). Global organizations are characterized by elements such as specialization of the production process, coordination between various markets, and interdependency within the workforce (Sorell, 2014).

An effective global manager should have the ability to move an organization’s corporate culture from an autonomous local environment to a more global one with ease (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 2003). International markets are highly complex and require a curious manager who will be willing to learn and deal with the major issues that influence their development (McCourt, 2003). Some of the factors that contribute to the development of global markets and the mindsets of managers include culture and perceptions. Every country has its own culture that determines the manner in which business is conducted. The perceptions that people develop about these cultures in terms of their understanding and reasoning influence the kind of perceptions that global managers develop about a particular market (Sorell, 2014). Effective global managers should have the ability to understand the elements that define various international markets and explain the manner in which things are done (Sorell, 2014). In addition, they should be able to develop effective strategies to guide the behavior of employees.

Advantages of developing a global mindset

Studies have established that a global mindset plays a pivotal role in helping organizations to have multicultural managers. The perception that global companies and their managers develop about the social and economic environment of the international markets influences how they will run their operations (Clegg, 2000). The main reason behind this belief is the fact that global managers have a limited ability to cope with the demands of foreign markets, thus the need to develop a mindset that will effectively filter the necessary information. One of the biggest advantages of developing a global mindset is the ability of organizations and managers to comprehend the complexities, opportunities, and nuances of the international markets (Neubert, 2013). Experts argue that the effectiveness of global managers is achieved through such skills, which enable them to balance between competitors and functional needs.

A global mindset also helps organizations to have effective managers with the ability to identify ways of achieving competitive advantage in the market (Kedia & Mukherji, 2001). Some of the ways that global managers can achieve competitive advantage in the international market include quick identification of opportunities, development of effective business practices, and the creation of new products (Lovvorn & Chen, 2011). Other strategies include better coordination of operations in other markets, as well as a good analysis of global business standards. Studies have established that a global mindset also helps managers in solving problems relating to cultural diversity through the networks they create. Global managers are often faced with the challenge of identifying and taking up opportunities on time in foreign markets due to cultural passiveness (Kedia & Mukherji, 2001). Business cultures in some countries do not consider the plight of foreign investors, a phenomenon that can be challenging for organizations without culturally competent managers. A common element of foreign markets that global managers should address in order to succeed is the arrogance trap (Young & Nie, 2002). This refers to a phase an organization venturing into a global market undergoes before stabilizing, which is characterized by overbearing pride evidenced by superior tendencies of the locals towards the foreign company (Kedia & Mukherji, 2001). For example, some companies experience a hard time introducing their products and services in foreign markets because they do not conduct a thorough market analysis, which helps to identify possible limitations to their operations. Effective global managers should have the ability to maneuver through the introductory phase without hurting an organization’s reputation (Young & Nie, 2002).

A global mindset also allows managers to communicate the demands of their organizations in an effective manner. One quality of a global manager is the ability to effectively get and share the right information with stakeholders in different business cultures (Leslie, Dalton, & Ernst, 2002). Global managers should be able to achieve a balance between exchanges that occur as a compromise between an organization’s ability to adapt to foreign business cultures and achieving global standards for their operations (Adler & Gundersen, 2007). For example, various business cultures across the world have different approaches to developing communication structures within an organization. Some use the top to bottom approach, while others use the bottom to top approach. These two strategies involve different levels of participation by employees and other relevant stakeholders in an organization. It is important for managers to understand the way different business cultures define such processes for the sake of quick adaptation (Adler & Gundersen, 2007). An effective global manager should have the ability to build trust with stakeholders across various cultures. This plays a crucial role in helping an organization to share its practices and invest well in emerging business opportunities. Although research has established that coordination of business operations in different countries is very challenging, having a team of managers with greater cultural competency and a global mindset injects efficiency into the process (Dekker, 2013).

Effective ways of managing global managers

Several strategies help local managers gain experience about numerous foreign markets and the elements that characterize their business cultures (Osland & Bird, 2013). This is crucial in influencing success in the international market, as organizations will have a workforce with a global mindset with regard to business operations. One of the most effective strategies used in creating a global mindset in managers is international assignments. This entails securing short-term work opportunities for managers in the global organization through exchange programs. Experts argue that international assignments provide managers with a good opportunity to establish networks with their leaders in various business environments (Lovvorn & Chen, 2011). In addition, managers acquire the essential skills of working in a foreign market and the dynamics that characterize crucial elements such as handling a global workforce. Although most organizations that intend to venture into the international market use this strategy to mentor global managers, research has established that some foreign assignments tend to fail completely (Osland & Bird, 2013). Some of the assignments taken by managers fail due to factors such as lack of cooperation from the host organization, poor mentorship, and lack of effective planning. It is important to note that even a successful foreign assignment fails to achieve all the intended goals, especially if a manager fails to develop their priorities effectively (Adler & Gundersen, 2007). The main reason for undertaking foreign assignments is usually to help managers broaden their perspectives about organizational culture and the effects of creating a global mindset within the workforce (Osland & Bird, 2013). However, some assignments can result in the managers acquiring the necessary skills partially, thus affecting their ability to develop a global mindset.

One of the main factors that influence the ability of managers to benefit from foreign assignments is their level of cultural intelligence. Research has established that the cultural competency of a manager has a direct impact on the success of foreign assignments (Steers & Nardon, 2013). The element of cultural competency emphasizes the need of an individual to understand the importance of comprehending new contextual inputs in terms of being exposed to the new social surroundings. An effective global manager should have eased adaptation to cultural behaviors in the numerous international markets. Working across various business cultures requires an individual with a good ability to comprehend and adapt to these cultures with ease (Steers & Nardon, 2013). Every organization seeks to build a culturally competent workforce capable of achieving prolonged success in all its endeavors. An organization should have culturally competent leaders who can influence employees into adopting practices that promote cultural integration. The same case applies when organizations develop strategies to create a global mindset within the workforce by securing foreign assignments for their managers (Steers & Nardon, 2013). The change process starts with the managers who use the skills and experience acquired through such assignments to reorient the organizational culture. For example, one of the notable elements that managers need to learn about working in the international market is the business etiquette in various countries (Osland & Bird, 2013). This includes learning how business meetings are conducted, the most effective communication strategies, and the process of decision making.

The value of foreign assignments in managing global managers

The opportunity of a manager to work in a foreign company and live in a new environment adds a lot of value to an organization (Clegg, 2000). The greatest value of foreign assignments is the improved ability of managers to influence changes in their organizations towards acquiring a global mindset. Research has established that international assignments undertaken by managers have three major influences on the ability of organizations to succeed in a foreign market (Clegg, 2000). First, a manager’s international experience helps to create an alternative for reducing uncertainties associated with venturing into a new market. Apart from developing a global mindset, managers use foreign assignments to gather as much information as possible about a country’s business environment (Sorell, 2014). This includes learning the business culture of a country’s market in terms of the requirements that organizations should meet before starting their operations, as well as the possible limitations that can compromise the ability to adapt quickly and achieve prolonged success (Sorell, 2014). The effectiveness of global managers is often the main element that defines successful foreign companies because they do not struggle to achieve stability.

Second, a manager’s foreign assignment helps in creating a proxy for accumulating cultural familiarity (Vance, 2009). Foreign assignments expose managers to an array of value systems, languages, and institutional environments that influence their global mindset. Some global managers who started their journey through foreign assignments argue that the experience improves the cognitive ability of organizational leaders to scan, enhance, and maintain organizational capabilities with regard to addressing rapid changes that characterize international markets (Sorell, 2014). One of the factors that influence the ability of global managers to ensure the success of foreign assignments with regard to accumulating foreign knowledge is their past managerial experiences (Vance, 2009). Managing global managers in an effective manner requires creating a team of individuals with a wide range of experience in managing at the local level. The main reason for doing this is that it ensures that the individuals being molded into global managers understand the complexities associated with running various activities in an organization (Young & Nie, 2002).

Third, a manager’s foreign assignment helps an organization to reorient its management team towards achieving international standards and comprehending the dynamics that define international markets (Steers & Nardon, 2013). Studies have established that the process of venturing into international markets is very complicated. Therefore, it is important for organizations to ensure that managers sent on foreign assignments make the best out of the opportunity in terms of identifying the dynamics that will possibly influence their success in foreign markets (Young & Nie, 2002). However, it is important for organizations to understand that the ability of global managers to maximize their foreign assignments depends a lot on the kind of support they receive from colleagues and the host organization. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that foreign assignments for managers do not end up as trying experiences (Clegg, 2000). For example, some of the managers who fail to achieve the objectives of their foreign assignments often lay the blame on factors such as lack of enough support from their organizations towards their families, a phenomenon that influences their ability to give the best output. In addition, other managers feel that their position in the organization faces threats from the other junior staff members left behind, as the one elevated to their position temporarily can end up performing better (Clegg, 2000).

Conclusion

Doing business in the contemporary international market is quite demanding for organizations. Global organizations should exercise their freedom to reorient the process of doing business from a local mindset to a globally oriented one. Effective global managers should have the ability to maneuver through the introductory phase without hurting an organization’s reputation. An effective global manager should have the ability to build trust with stakeholders across various cultures. One of the most effective strategies used in creating a global mindset in managers is international assignments. One of the main factors that influence the ability of managers to benefit from foreign assignments is their level of cultural intelligence. The opportunity of a manager to work in a foreign company and live in a new environment adds a lot of value to an organization.

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