Read the text and be ready to answer the questions after the text.
Executives and managers who can operate effectively across cultures and national borders are invaluable players in the global business arena. As the world grows ever smaller, improved cross-cultural skills and an international perspective are critical executive qualities. As more and more companies expand abroad, competition for top talent to run new international operations will steadily intensify.
The 2010s will test the capacities of multinational corporations to react rapidly to global changes in human resources as in all other areas of the company.
Global selection systems enable a company to find the best person anywhere in the world for a given position. The system measures applicants according to a group of 12 character attributes. These twelve categories are: motivations, expectations, open-mindedness, respect for other beliefs, trust in people, tolerance, personal control, flexibility, patience, social adaptability, initiative, risk-taking, sense of humour, interpersonal interest, spouse communication.
Beyond superior technical and managerial skills, an effective international executive displays a combination of desirable personal qualities. These include adaptability, independence, leadership – even charisma.
What part can management education play in developing the international manager? A good deal. Management education can provide training in the so-called “hard” skills such as international marketing and finance and in the so-called “soft” skills such as international relationships. We can easily define certain “hard” skill and knowledge areas that the international manager will need and which are very susceptible to formal education and training approaches. These include an understanding of the global economy and foreign business systems, international marketing, international financial management, political risk analysis and the ability to analyze and develop sophisticated global strategies.
We can also point to some “soft” skill areas such as communication, leadership, motivation, decision-making, team-building and negotiation where research indicates that national cultural differences can have important effects. (The international manager is said to spend over half of his or her time in negotiation.) International managers need at least to be aware of some of the issues involved. They need, furthermore, not only to be aware of how foreign cultures affect organizational behaviour and management style, but also to understand how their own culture affects their own style.
1. Use your knowledge and logical reasoning to express your point of view why the 12 categories mentioned in the text are so important for an international manager.
2. What is meant by ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ skills?
3. Technical and managerial skills and personal qualities – do they help each other? In what way?
4. Explain the meaning of the word charisma. Give your examples of charismatic persons.
5. In what way can education contribute to ‘creating’ an internationally mobile and internationally thinking manager?
Task V. Work in pairs or small groups and discuss the following situations. What would you? Give your reasoning.
1. You a trainee personal assistant to the Production Manager. You have very good prospects of promotion, as the personal assistant is retiring in 6 months’ time. You have been working for the company for about a year when you get the offer of a job in a rival company for a higher salary. The prospects are very good. But you get on well with your boss and your colleagues.
2. You are the Personnel Manager of a small company. The holiday plan is normally left to the employees. This time a large number of people want to take the same two weeks in August. Some members of staff want you to decide, but you believe in each department deciding democratically.
3. You are working as a juniour manager in the marketing department. Originally you both shared the orders on the fifty-fifty basis. In the past few weeks you have noticed that you have been responsible for the processing of more than two thirds of the orders dealt with. You feel the workload is unfairly divided.
Task VI. Read the following dialogues. Try to guess the meaning of the business idioms given in bold. Give their Russian equivalents
1. A: How are your plans for a radio-controlled lawn mower coming along?
B: Not too good. The prototype smashed through the neighbour's fence, so it's back to square one.
2. A: I don't know how it is. I thought I had the soundest portfolio of securities this side of the Rocky Mountains — and yet...
B: Don't say you're losing your touch!
3. A: How's the tournament going?
B: Oh, Geoffrey's way ahead. If you ask me, it's all over, bar the shouting.
4. A: What do you reckon the market potential for your products is in the Far East?
B: Oh boy—if we can just get it right—the sky's the limit!
5. A: We've invested a lot of money in the sales effort.
B: Yes, they're determined to go for broke. But if they do hit the jackpot, the shares will rocket. So get in on the ground floor!
6. A: Who will get the dealership, do you think?
B: Need you ask? It's a foregone conclusion!
7. A: Tell me the whole story.
B: Well, it's long and complicated. To put it in a nutshell: I gather that he left his last job under a bit of a cloud...
8. A: I told him I still didn't agree.
B: That's right. Stick to your guns. He'll come round to our way of thinking in the end.