The following discussion is about the management of people and leadership in the global business environment and the role of managers in creating competitive advantage in the multinational corporations. Managers working in global organizations tend to develop a leadership mindset to work with competence on international platform and use their leadership qualities to create competitive advantage in the organization (Walker, 2017). They need to develop meta-competence and organizational managerial capability. By inculcating these qualities the managers will be able to cope up with the strategic complexities and cultural diversity which they will encounter when working in the global environment of multinational companies.
Global approach is a meta-competence in a way that it is capability of enabling the suitable use of different professional capabilities in international cooperation in multinational companies. It is in the global environment that managers are required to develop their other managerial skills apart from business execution which will enhance their productivity and diversity of work (Nielsen, 2017). Getting introduced to multicultural employees in foreign land will help them increase their learning outcomes towards leadership. There is an advantage of psychological development of the managers as they gain from working in ambiguous environment which is new for them.
Getting out of the comfort zone of familiar work environment into new and unknown place of work, helps change the mindset of managers and pushes them to increase their adaptability. These characteristics of work culture are very important for the managers to cope up with the changing work trends from domestic to international. The following discussion will analyze the change in mindset of managers to be competitively advantageous in their work.
Global leadership trends have been in vogue in the past few years which have been very essential for managers to learn and adapt for their bright future. The entire prospect of leadership depends upon the mindset with which managers tend to do their work (Reiche, Mendenhall & Osland, 2017). There are some core competencies and characteristics which a manager should lay emphasis upon to become a leader in the global business environment. Some of these characteristics are:
With changing global trend of business, almost all well to do companies have been expanding their business from domestic to international. Due to this reason the companies and their leaders have started feeling the need for “across boundaries and borders” leadership qualities which can be applied at both home and away from home (Osland, Mendenhall & Li, 2017). All the multinational companies have their employees, owners, clients, customers and business partners from different countries. Therefore, number of people which are getting influenced by the changing global pattern of business have been increasing day by day. This poses a main challenge of handling global operations which have enhanced complexity.
Foreign executives of multinational companies do survey for the challenges which they are ought to face in foreign countries which gives them the chance to identify the issues and train themselves to tackle those problems (Petscher, Wanzek & Jones, 2017). Findings of the surveys indicated that issues of foreign working culture, leadership style, language of communication and legal framework and distance management are some of the major elements of doubt for managers which they experience in global business operations. This has increased the need of enhanced skillset and mindset of employees of multinational firms.
With the growth of cross border skill requirement, there still exists the conventional expatriate system of knowledge transfer which is considered to be the most efficient tool of information gathering till now. In the context of global leadership posting employees and influencing operations in foreign land is still the most crucial element in global business operations (Reiche, Mendenhall & Osland, 2017). To have a difference between the characteristics of staff in national and international office in context of the frowning globalization, global markets of finance and commodities and internationalization is still debatable. But this issue is misinterpreted as global offices also have high ranked officials from different countries who are well versed in global operations and new entrants of the national offices can learn a lot from them.
Changed patterns of work in multinational companies either intra or inter organizational define the level of globalization and hence requires global leadership. The word “global” needs to be interpreted in the contextual way to derive its correct understanding among the managers. Traditionally, global leadership requires a high level of inter-cultural skills (Norris, 2017). With time it has been observed that the level of competence in intercultural skills can be met by focusing on the VUCA-environment. It stands for “Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity”. If these points are stressed upon then the problem of multicultural skillset can be solved and managers could be vetted to handle scenarios in different countries.
Taking meta-competence under consideration, another very important element is the leadership mindset of the managers which needs to be created and trained by using certain tools. Meta-competence needs to be developed in human resources and managers at the primary level who have to cope up with the global diversity and work complexities which have cropped up in past few years. For that purpose, identification of specific skills and characteristics of leadership among the managers is needed which is hard to find (Norris, 2017). In context of global leadership proficiencies, global mindset signifies a mixture, which comprises together the international leader's intercultural capability and his capacity to traverse in a multifaceted field.
The different concepts of global mindset function at the single, intellectual level of managers as global mindset is understood as a psychological map or representations considered mainly fit for international, multicultural transactions and controlled by the manager (Nahavandi, 2016). The global mindset is considered not only as a singular capability, but also as a managerial competence just like a structural representation and a tangible set of procedures.Use of this individual leadership character can be a foundation of competitive advantage, a manager is accomplished to transact with comprehensive opportunities and pressures better than their opponents (Nielsen, 2017). Right mindset is required to achieve the business goals in a highly diverse working environment. Examples of these individual and collective mindsets can be given as project management, personal management, change management, school governance, spirituality and trust. Positive results are seen to precipitate from the mindset which is functioning on an individual level as well as on the collective level.
Mindset theory is explained by certain examples which are entrepreneurial mindset, managerial mindset, mindset for knowledge management and talent mindset. In the context of leadership capabilities, the capacity to creatively coordinate organizational functions in rapidly changing environment is the key. Collective mindset implies the capability of a manager to work in teams of different expertise comprised of employees of various culture and countries. TO manage their behavior like a leader a manager must have organizational mindset. This particular mindset responds to the Marco-level management where all the employees of an office are deployed for one project and teams are individually assigned to do their respective tasks.
Most of the different concepts of global mindset function at the separate, intellectual level. Trainings comprising global mindset at the structural level mainly trigger organizational mindset in relation with singular mindset, where the mental arrangements of the managerare taken together to produce a managerial capability (Maznevski, 2017). Collective mindset contains the persons’ mindset considerably in the similar way as a managerial values is made up of the morals of the single employee.There is a connection and orientation between attitude and the global business performance and competitive advantage of global business. It has been observed that viewing global mindset is beneficial for the utilization of global business opportunities and observing global mindset as a chief factor for fortifying a valuable place in global business (Mendenhall, ArnaArnardottir & Oddou, 2017). Mindset is understood as a constructive factor forachieving preferred results, but there is fewer leadership with respect to the fact that mindset is developed and altered, which makes thingstough to stimulate this information in other establishments.
Intermediate level managers and lower level managers who operate at strategic and functioning level, whose mindset may not actually dynamically and openly effect the inclusive tactical course and primacies of the organization, but however important mediators in the implementation of business strategy in daily processes (Kar, 2017). The result is that the tactical prospect of global mindset for professional enactment may not be comprehended, because it is absent in interpretation in the operation procedure. Moreover, top executive’s global mindset may be dissimilar from middle level manager’s global mindset or, an employee’s global and board global mindset may have different characteristics (Lappe & Dörrenbächer, 2017). These factors strongly change the mindset of the entire management of the organization. It can be argued here that many employees who go abroad for the first time suffer from the problem of global loneliness or globalization madness as the top decision makers of the firms live much more globalized life than their subordinates.
Thus it can be observed that the global mindset of top level executives may be radically different from that of the middle level managers who have less exposure to the global way of living. Top executives stay abroad for longer durations leaving their families and children behind in their host country (Haas & Stuebiger, 2017). There is a possibility that they may get disoriented from time to time. Whereas middle level managers are sent abroad for short term projects and duration and are called back to the parent country when their job or tenure is over. To achieve the competitive advantage from both top level and middle level manager’s, regulation of leaves and sabbaticals should be provided so that their mindset remain at an optimum level of work (Kaleka & Morgan, 2017). But in practical scenario, to maintain the positive flow of work these considerations of mindsets are ignored by the organization creating a disparity between the two levels of management.
In multinational companies creating a plan for skill development for the managers as well as for the employees is a vital issue because this will determine the quality of mindset which will yield competitive advantage for the firm (Egel & Fry, 2017). There are certain factors which are to be kept in mind and emphasized upon for creating a global mindset strategic plan for skill development. Some of those factors are discussed below:
Recognition of Cultural Biases:There are a number of factors which influence the work culture in an organization and work styles of employees. Every person is the product of its environment which is different in different places (Davis & Davis, 2017). A person may have prejudiced cultural bias towards others which needs to be checked and eradicated form his mind. There are cultural assessment tools and calculators containing 40 odd questions related to the opinion of a person toward a particular culture. This assessment is the best way to realize the level of bias a person has and how much he needs to work on his mentality to become culturally neutral.
Appreciation of values of other cultures: People of different cultures value different things. Those things can be means of communication, punctuality, eating habits and modes of worship. It is a fundamental practice to understand the difference in culture and the reasons as why people from other culture do such things (Cao & Lin, 2017). The approach should be based on curiosity than based on judgment. To create a global mindset for achieving competitive advantage employees must understand the values that people of other cultures possess so that they can be accepted and respected in the global environment.
Recognition of Behavior Based on Culture: To learn facts about different culture, one cannot just buy a book and memorize the facts written in it. An employee needs to observe and recognize the different cultural practices done by the people of different countries or as the term is given foreigners (Black, 2017). It can be stated that people of different cultures have nick names or titles by which they like to get called. Knowing this can increase the chemistry between employees and a friendly relationship can be established. Some other traits of behavior can be observed and cued for better knowledge of culturally diverse people at the right time such as meetings and seminars which will increase the courteous approach.
Learning about cultures of the colleagues: It is the most basic and fundamental approach to get in sync with the culturally diverse workforce. Employees of top level management as well and middle tier management have their colleagues who belong from different cultures especially of the host country (Barrales-Molina & Becker, 2017). Learning their means, ways and values will ease the process of multicultural understanding and will broaden the mindset of an employee. It will be possible then to make things work out in smooth manner to gain the competitive advancement as there will be lesser mental and cultural barriers inside the organization. The employee of the parent company should learn about the history and geography of the host company to know better about their culture.
Develop Personal Strategies to Adjust in Multicultural Styles: A manager needs to understand the preferences which the people of different cultures like which may be the dressing sense, eating habits, drinking habits etc (Arthur & Thompson, 2017). A manager should be well-versed in adapting himself according to the situation so that he is not alienated among the foreigners. Some personal strategies to blend in with the global business environment should be developed and a mindset for that purpose should be made to learn the intercultural styles to be competitive in every sphere of the business world.
Be Open and Appreciative to Learning the Diversity: Leaders have a mindset of constant learning and they have a curious attitude. It is not limited to one place or one culture where they are working but they try to learn about different cultures as much as possible (Andresen & Bergdolt, 2017). This constantly keeps them upgraded and ready for the next project or next destination where the business demands. Leadership mentality always appreciates the characters of diverse cultures as they tend to learn the positives from them. It helps them to build their personality in a dynamic way and leads them gradually towards competitive advantage and collectively to the entire organization.
It can be concluded from the above discussion that leadership qualities and mindset is required to be in the employees of multinational organizations to achieve the competitive advantage which is on top of their agenda. In today’s world almost all companies are expanding their business in foreign countries and for that purpose they need leaders who can carry out the business operations with a positive mindset in the multicultural environment. Being a competitive world managers need to be mentally strong for working in foreign land for longer durations and that too efficiently. They need to have the zeal to be meta-competitive to challenge their competitors and achieve the competitive advantage.
The above discussion illustrates the association of leadership with global market in which the qualities and characteristics of a leader is mentioned and the mindset which they should develop to cope up with the business operations. Another point is the need of global mindset in the leaders which makes them to learn the tricks and techniques of working and flourishing in the global business environment. The next thing is that managers are sometimes torn between developing an individual as well as a collective mindset which is required to lead by an example and also to manage a team and apply the teamwork principles in multicultural offices.
To conclude, there is a requirement of skill development plan for the managers of all levels of an organization to make them learn and upgrade themselves to change their personalities for the good and to become dynamic.
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