The Power of Global Thinking
The world may be smaller, but the challenges are bigger. Managers need a new mindset that knows no bounds.
This executive dossier includes the following articles:
Motivation and Behavior
Sanchez-Runde, Carlos J.; Steers, Richard M.
The temptation to employ managerial best practices in global organizations tends to disregard a vital component of sound management and outstanding employee productivity: the influence of culture. Research on work motivation, personal work values and job attitudes rarely takes cultural differences into account. Yet evidence exists to show that culture does play a substantial role in understanding worker behavior and satisfaction, not to mention company success.
de Mooij, Marieke
Many widely accepted management theories related to mission statements, branding and advertising are Western inventions that do not translate when companies go global. What plays well at home may not go down so well in foreign environments. The author recommends that a company conduct a full review of its entire global marketing strategy – from its mission and vision, to its portfolio, positioning and product usage, to its communications and advertising campaigns. Throughout the discussion, she challenges managers to let go of their preconceived ideas and insistence on consistency and standardization, which they may think is being cost-effective, but in reality will never succeed in scratching consumers where they itch. To be truly effective, global marketing strategies must articulate not the culture-bound values of one particular company, but the values of the stakeholders in all of the countries where the company operates. If not, stakeholders elsewhere may have difficulties identifying with the company.
Unmasking the Myths
Is our reasoning sound when we justify using sweatshops in Asian countries, paying bribes to secure contracts, and tolerating social and environmental degradation based on the argument that everyone else is doing it, and if we don’t, a competitor will? Doing business across borders presents a minefield of ethical dilemmas that many managers are ill-equipped to deal with. This article tackles three main myths surrounding cross-cultural management: the appeal to local etiquette over moral considerations; the idea that tolerance based on relativism and subjectivism will solve cross-cultural dilemmas; and the belief that profit justifies dubious means. By weighing and analyzing the arguments from an ethical perspective, using logic and reasoning, the author reveals how decisions made even with the best of intentions can lead to unethical behavior. She points to some universally accepted values and timeless notions of the common good as the better basis for constructing an ethical framework. The article includes some dilemmas for readers to consider for themselves, all aimed at helping international managers formulate sound approaches to deal with the questionable behaviors they face across cultures.
Staffing Across Cultures
Reiche, B. Sebastian
The temporary inpatriation of foreign subsidiary managers to HQ is on the rise: it´s cheaper than expatriating staff, it´s often the best way to gain local knowledge fast, it wins over local workforces and it expands the prospects for staff development and promotion. However, the author´s various studies of subsidiary staff relocated to the headquarters of multinationals reveal that for inpatriation to work, both the individual inpatriate and the multinational need to understand the key factors that make or break these special arrangements. If the inpatriate is able to build good social capital, is mentored by HQ staff and can speak the language of the HQ country, then both sides stand to reap mutual benefits from the exchange. If there is an ethnocentric attitude among HQ staff, a large distance between the inpatriate´s home culture and the HQ country culture, and no real thought given to what happens to the inpatriate when the assignment is done, then the transfer is bound to fall flat. The author recommends that multinationals carefully manage inpatriation at every stage of the process - from selection and preparation, to relocation and reintegration - in order to minimize turnover tendencies and capitalize on the real value that these younger managers bring. Managing this process well can help MNCs to develop strong leaders who can effectively bridge different units and understand both global strategic concerns as well as local market requirements, which is so vital today.