Home Random Page



From The Economist


Reading tasks

A Understanding main points


Mark these statements T (true) or F (false) according to the information in the text. Find the part of the text that gives the correct information.

1. The majority of mergers take place in the USA. F

2. Many international mergers are failures.

3. Most attention is concentrated on what to do after the merger is completed.

4. Many mergers are done too quickly.

5. Connecting different computer systems together is not usually a problem.

6. High salaries were given to Chrysler managers as compensation for the merger with Daimler-Benz.

7. Chrysler has won many prizes for its production methods.

8. Engineers have a high status at Daimler-Benz.


B Understanding expressions

Choose the best explanation for each extract from the text

1. “the merger wave is now sweeping over Europe” (line 1)

a. a lot of American companies are merging with European ones

b. there has been a big increase in the number of mergers involving European companies

3. “success will depend on the merged companies’ ability to create added value”

(line 8)

a. they must try to make sure the share price goes up after the merger

b. they must try to reduce costs and increase revenue in the new merged company

3. “post-merger integration has become decisive” (line 14)

a. the way merged companies work together as one company is extremely important

b. it is necessary to take quick decisions after the merger is competed

4. “the growing importance of intangible assets” (line 28)

a. some assets are carefully protected and cannot be touched

b. people are the most valuable asset in many companies



C How the text is organised

What do these words refer to in the text?

1. which (line 1) 2. more (line 3) 3. most (line 6) 4. that (line 9) 5. this (line 10) 6. they (line 11) 7. it (line 14) 8. few (line 16)  


Vocabulary tasks


A Word search

Find a word or phrase in the text that has a similar meaning.

1.mergers between companies from two different countries (para1)

…cross…-…border deals

2. when one company buys another (para 1)


3. when a company becomes more international (para 1)

g………………… g…………………

4. people who negotiate the terms of a merger (para 3)

d………………… m…………………

5. reduce the amount of money spent (para 3)

c………………… c…………………

6. increase income from sales (para 3)

b………………… r…………………

7. work that needs to be done after the merger agreement (para 4)

p………………… - m………………… i…………………

8. sent to a job in another country (para 8)



B Understanding expressions

Choose the best explanation for each word or phrase from the text.


1. pull off (line 15) a. stop b. succeed 2. pitfalls (line 17) a. problems b. accidents 3. mesh together (line 20) a. combine b. mix up 4. popping up (line 21) a. exploding b. coming up   5. permeates (line 22) a. destroys permanently b. goes into every part 6. pride itself (line 34) a. be pleased with yourself for something b. tell everyone about your good points 7. ominous (line 40) a. easy to predict b. predicting something bad 8. in their own right (line 43) a. by themselves b. in a correct way  

C Prepositions

Complete these sentences with an appropriate preposition

1. Cross-border deals accounted …for… a quarter of mergers in 1998.

2. Two ……. ……. every three deals have networked.

3. Success will depend ……. the merged companies' ability to create added value.

4. They assume sales managers and engineers wilt cut costs according ……. plan.

5. Executives are putting deals together ……. a hurry.

6. Employees of one company were accustomed ……. inviting spouses to the annual picnic.

7. An American manager may report ……. a German boss.

8. In Daimler-Benz, engineers are ……. charge.



Unit 6. Business in the 21st century




Despite the wave of big mergers and acquisitions over the past few years, the days of the big corporation - as we know it - are numbered. While the cash flows that they control, are growing, the direct power that they exercise over actual business processes is declining. Because modern communications technology makes decentralised organisations pos­sible, control is being passed down the line to workers at many different levels, or outsourced to external companies. In fact, we are moving towards what can be called an “e-lance economy”, which will be charac­terised by shifting coalitions of freelancers and small firms using the Internet for much of their work.


Twenty-five years ago, one in five US workers was employed by one of the top 500 companies. Today, the ratio has dropped to fewer than one in ten. Large com­panies are far less vertically inte­grated than they were in the past and rely more and more on outside suppliers to produce components and provide services, with a conse­quent reduction in the size of their workforce.

At the same time, decisions within large corporations are increasingly being pushed to lower levels. Workers are rewarded not for carrying out' orders efficiently, but for working out what needs to be done and doing it. Many large industrial companies - ABB and BP Amoco are among the most prominent - have broken themselves up into numerous indepen­dent units that transact business with one another almost as if they were separate companies.

What underlies this trend? The answer lies in the basic economics of organisations. Business organisations are, in essence, mechanisms for co-ordination, and the form they take is strongly affected by the co-ordination tech­nologies available. When it is cheaper to conduct transactions internally, with other parts of the same company, organisations grow larger, but when it is cheaper to conduct them externally, with independent entities in the open market, organisations stay small or shrink.

The co-ordination technologies of the industrial era - the train and the telegraph, the car and the telephone, the mainframe comput­er and the fax machine - made transactions within the company not only possible but advantageous. Companies were able to manage large organisations cen­trally, which provided them with economies of scale in manufactur­ing, marketing, distribution and other activities. Big was good.

But with the introduction of powerful personal computers and electronic networks - the co-ordi­nation technologies of the 21st century - the economic equation changes. Because information can be shared instantly and inexpen­sively among many people in many locations, the value of centralized decision-making and bureaucracy decreases. Individuals can manage themselves, co-ordinating their efforts through electronic links with other independent parties. Small becomes good.

In the future, as communica­tions technologies advance and networks become more efficient, the shift to e-lancing promises to accelerate. Should this happen, the dominant business organisation of the future may not be a stable, per­manent corporation but rather a flexible network of individuals and small groups that might some­times exist for no more than a day or two. We will enter the age of the temporary company.

From the Financial Times

Reading tasks

A Understanding main points

Read the text about how businesses will be organised in the future and answer these questions.

1. Which of these statements gives the best summary of the ideas in the article?

a. New communications technologies enable information to be shared instantly across the world.

b. In the future most people will be self-employed or will work as freelancers.

c. Companies are having to restructure due to developments in electronic communications.

2. What exactly do the authors mean by the term “e-lance economy”?

a. Most work inside large companies will be done using e-mail and computers.

b. In the future tasks will be done by individuals and small companies linked to the Internet.

c. Business between companies will increasingly be done through the Internet.

B Understanding details

Mark these statements T (true) or F (false) according to the information in the text. Find the part of the text that gives the correct information.

1. Big corporations will soon go out of business. F

2. There is a move towards decentralisation of decision-making in many companies.

3. Many companies are now experiencing cash flow and similar financial problems.

4. No more than 10 per cent of workers in the US work for the top 500 companies.

5. ABB and BP Amoco have sold many parts of their businesses.

6. Large organisations can save money by centralising all transactions.

7. Computer companies have decentralised their decision-making process.

8. It is possible that the shape and structure of companies will be very different in the future.


Ñ How the text is organised

These phrases summarise the purpose of each paragraph. Match each phrase to the correct paragraph.

a. illustrate the decline of big companies paragraph I

b. give a prediction about the future

c. give examples of changes in the way big companies are organised

d. introduce the idea that big companies are starting to change and even decline

e. describe the new way of working

f. explain why these changes are taking place

g. describe the old way of working


Vocabulary tasks

A Word search

1 Find a word or phrase from the text that has a similar meaning.

a. movement of money into and out of a company's bank accounts (summary)


b. passing tasks to an external company (summary)


c. individuals who are self-employed and work independently (summary)


d. describes a large company that produces everything it needs internally (para 1)

v………………… i…………………

e. external companies that provide products or services to an organisation

(para 1)

o………………… s…………………

f. parts of a company that operate independently as separate profit centres (para 2)

i………………… u…………………

g. where price and quality are the main factors for doing business (para 3)
o………………… m…………………

h. something large companies can achieve by doing things in big volumes

(para 4)

e………………… of s…………………

2. There are many words that can be used instead of “company”. Four other words are used in the text. What are they? Is there any difference in meaning between them?

B Understanding expressions

Choose the best explanation for each phrase from the text.

1. “the days of the big corporation are numbered” (line 2)

a. big companies will become less important in the future

b. companies will have to improve their financial controls

2. “control is being passed down the line” (line 5)

a. nobody in the company wants to take decisions

b. some decisions will be taken at lower levels in the company

3. “what underlies this trend?” (line 21)

a. is this trend really true?

b. what are the reasons for this trend?

4. “in essence” (line 22)

a. basically

b. necessarily

5. “organisations shrink” (line 27)

a. they become smaller

b. they disappear completely

6. “the economic equation changes” (line 35)

a. things become cheaper because of the Internet

b. there is a move in favour of decentralisation

C Complete the sentence

Use an appropriate verb and preposition to complete each sentence.

1. Large multinationals still …exercise… considerable power …over… many people around the world.

2. It's a difficult problem. It will take time to w………………… o………………… the best way to solve it.

3. In a traditional, hierarchical company, employees are expected to c………………… o………………… the orders of their superiors.

4. To improve flexibility and speed of reaction we have decided to b………………… the company u………………… into separate business units.

5. Our policy is to t………………… business only w………………… companies that have a strong environmental policy.

6. The speed at which you can get information from the Internet is sometimes a………………… b………………… the time of day.


Unit 7. Corporate cultures



Asda and Wal-Mart should be the perfect merger, given that the former has deliberately set out to copy the US retailing giant's style. But Asda is keenly aware of the pitfalls.

You could not hope to find a neater fit; said the commentators when Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, agreed a £6.7bn takeover deal with Asda, the UK's number three supermarket group.

It had long been known that the team which was brought in to res­cue Asda from collapse in the mid-1980s had deliberately set out to copy virtually every aspect of the giant US discount group that could be replicated in the UK.

So Asda stores have “colleagues”, is not employees. They have people in the parking lots to help drivers to park. They have old-age pen­sioners wearing colourful name badges, standing at the door to say hello and ask customers if they need help. In the Leeds headquar­ters no one has an individual office, not even the chairman. Finally, store staff get actively involved in promoting individual product lines, and are rewarded when their efforts lead to tangible sales improvements.

Most of these ideas came straight from Bentonville, Arkansas, home to one of the world's most unusual retailers. For Wal-Mart's corporate culture has become a legend in retailing.

The company's employees chant the Wal-Mart cheer before store meetings. They benefit from a share ownership scheme which is one of the most widespread in the industry. Top executives share rooms when on business trips, and pay for their coffee and tea from vending machines like the lowliest sales assistant.

Given, the similarities, there are few who really believe putting Asda into the Wal-Mart network will result in anything but success. But, says Asda's Chief Executive, Allan Leighton, this is no reason to be complacent. Fairing to bring together corporate cultures, even those as similar as Asda's and Wal-Mart's, could lead to the downfall of the most logical mergers. “When acquiring or merging with a busi­ness, getting the cultures to fit is fundamentally important,” he says. Half-way houses, where compromises are made, never work, he believes, and nor does imposing one culture on another. “A compa­ny calling their colleagues col­leagues and treating them like staff is not the answer,” he says.

The key to getting the deal to work culturally rests on a few fun­damental issues, he believes. The first and most important is terminology, he says. “Businesses have their own language. You have to get everyone aligned so that when someone uses a word it means the same thing to everyone.”

Middle management comes next. “Initially, everything is done at the top of the organisation,” he says. “But most of the work is done in the middle.” If middle management is not incentivised, a deal can go horribly wrong. “It all boils down to people in the end. And what motivates people? Unless you can demonstrate very quickly that their influence in the organisation is at least the same if not better than before, then people will get concerned about it,” he says.

Third comes getting to know each other. Asda and Wal-Mart have spent the last few weeks swapping store managers and IT systems staff. “We will go out there, look and bring back,” Leighton says. “That way we will have own­ership of the changes as opposed to having them pushed on us.”

It will always be hard to deter­mine whether a merger or takeover has failed because the cultures simply did not fit. But success is more likely to elude those who do not really believe in the cultures they are trying to create. “This all comes from the heart,” says Leighton. “You do not get it from textbook management or instruction. You have to create an environment where people feel comfortable in expressing them­selves in a different way.”


From the Financial Times

A Understanding main points

Read the text about the merger of two companies and their corporate cultures and answer these questions.

1. Which company is bigger - Asda or Wal-Mart?

2. What are employees at Asda called?

3. Which two countries are Asda and Wal-Mart from?

4. Which of these statements best summarises the corporate cultures of Asda and Wal-Mart?

a. We must keep costs as low as possible.

b. We value the contribution of every employee to the success of the company.

c. Everyone in the company is considered equal.

5.What extra financial benefit do Wal-Mart employees have?

6. Allan Leighton mentions three things needed to get the deal “to work culturally”. What are they?


B Understanding details

Mark these statements T (true) or F (false) according to the information in the text. Find the part of the text that gives the correct information.

1. Asda and Wal-Mart have very similar corporate cultures. T

2. Asda is the biggest supermarket group in the UK.

3. Wal-Mart is the biggest retailing group in the US.

4. Asda had financial problems in the 19805.

5. Many of Asda's employees are over 65.

6. Allan Leighton is sure the merger of Asda with Wal-Mart will succeed.

7. Wal-Mart plans to impose its corporate culture on Asda.

8. Creating a corporate culture cannot be planned in theory only.


C Understanding meanings

1. Choose the best explanation of the phrase “there are few who really believe putting Asda into the Wal-Mart network will result in anything but success” (line 22)

a. most people think the combination of Asda and Wal-Mart will succeed

b. not many people think the merger will succeed

2. What does Allan Leighton mean when he says it all boils down to people in the end” (line 37)

a. the number of people in the new organisation will need to be reduced

b. people are the most important element in a merger or takeover


Vocabulary tasks

A Synonyms

1. The word “employees” is used several times in the text. What other word is used that has a similar meaning? (para 3)

2. The phrase “to push something on someone” is used in line . What similar phrase is used earlier in the text? (para 6)


B Word search

Find a word or phrase in the text that has a similar meaning.

1. agreement when a company buys another (para 1)



2. when a company fails (para 2)


3. something that is copied exactly (para 2)


4. something that can be seen and proved (para 3)


5. company that is famous in its industry (para 4)


6. being unreasonably confident (para 6)


7. agreement where both sides give up some of what they want (para 6)


8. in the same position or share the same ideas (para 7)


9. exchanging people or things (para 9)


C Definitions

Match these terms with their definitions.

1. virtually (line 5) 2. parking lots (line 8) 3. old-age pensioners (line 8) 4. chant (line 17) 5. widespread (line 19) 6. lead to the downfall (line 26) 7. incentivised (line 37) 8. elude (line 46) a. cause something to fail b. people of retirement age who no longer work c. almost all d. sing e. escape f. a place where cars are put g. motivated through money or other means h. available to lots of people  

D Collocations

Match these nouns as they occur together in the text.

1. IT 2. product 3. name 4. store 5. sales 6. share 7. middle 8. business a. ownership b. trip c. systems d. line e. management f. badges g. assistant h. manager

E Complete the sentence

Use an appropriate phrase from Exercise D to complete each sentence.

1. …Share…ownership… schemes for employees help to develop loyalty and commitment.

2. Most large supermarkets sell hundreds of ………………… .

3. With the increased emphasis on the customer in retailing, the role of the ………………… is important.

4. The increased use of audio and video conferencing should reduce the number of ………………… executives need to make.

5. Large organisations need sophisticated ………………… to operate efficiently.

6. If people didn't wear ………………… at big conferences, you wouldn't know who anyone was.

7. Most executives never progress beyond ………………… .

8. The role of a ………………… is to motivate and control the sales staff in the shop.




Unit 8. Global careers




Ideally, it seems a global manager should have the stamina of an Olympic runner, the mental agility of an Einstein, the conversational skill of a professor of languages, the detachment of a judge, the tact of a diplomat, and the perseverance of an Egyptian pyramid builder. And that's not all. If they are going to measure up to the demands of living and working in a foreign country, they should also have a feeling for the culture; their moral judgement should not be too rigid; they should be able to merge with the local environment; and they should show no signs of prejudice.

Thomas Aitken

According to Colby Chandler, the former Chief Executive of Eastman Kodak Company, “these days there is not a discussion or a decision that does not have an international dimension. We would have to be blind not to see how critically important international experience is.”

International companies compete with each other for global executives to manage their opera­tions around the world. Yet what it takes to reach the top of a company differs from one country to the next. For example, whereas Swiss and German companies respect technical creativity and com­petence, French and British companies often view managers with such qualities as “mere techni­cians”. Likewise, American companies value entrepreneurs highly, while their British and French counterparts often view entrepreneurial behaviour as highly disruptive. Similarly, whereas only just half of Dutch managers see skills in interpersonal relations and communication as critical to career success, almost 90 per cent of their British colleagues do so.

Global management expert, Andre Laurent, describes German, British and French managers' attitudes to management careers as follows:

German managers, more than others, believe that creativity is essential for career success. In their mind, successful managers must have the right individual characteristics. German man­agers have a rational outlook; they view the organisation as a co-ordinated network of individuals who make appropriate decisions based on their professional competence and knowledge.

British managers hold a more interpersonal and subjective view of the organisational world. According to them, the ability to create the right image and to get noticed for what they do is essen­tial for career success. British managers view organisations primarily as a network of relation­ships between individuals who get things done by influencing each other through communicating and negotiating.

French managers look at organisations as an authority network where the power to organise and control others comes from their position in the hierarchy. French managers focus on the organ­isation as a pyramid of differentiated levels of power. They perceive the ability to manage power relationships effectively and to “work the system” as critical to their career success.

As companies integrate their operations globally, these different national approaches can send conflicting messages to success-oriented managers. Subsidiaries in different countries operate differently and reward different behaviours based on their unique cultural perspectives. The chal­lenge for today's global companies is to recognise local differences, while at the same time creating globally integrated career paths for their future senior executives.

There is no doubt the new global environment demands more, not fewer, globally competent managers. Global experience, rather than side-tracking a manager's career, is rapidly becoming the only route to the top. But in spite of the increasing demand for global managers, there is a poten­tially diminishing interest in global assignments, especially among young managers. A big ques­tion for the future is whether global organisations will remain able to attract sufficient numbers of young managers willing to work internationally.


From International Dimensions of Organisational Behaviour, Thomson Learning 1997


Reading tasks

A Understanding main points


1. Which of these statements gives the best summary of the text on the opposite page?

a. A successful global manager needs many qualities.

b. The qualities required to become a top manager differ from country to country.

c. Many young managers are not interested in a global career.

2. Mark these statements T (true) or F (false) according to the information in the text. Find the part of the text that gives the correct information.

a. International experience is essential if you want a global career.

b. Subsidiaries of global companies use the same criteria when promoting managers.

c. The demand for global managers is increasing.

d. Young managers want to work internationally.


B Understanding details

1. Different qualities for career success are described for different cultures and nationalities. Match the qualities from the list below to the nationalities mentioned in the text.

a. good communication skills British

b. technical creativity

c. ability to network

d. professional competence

e. entrepreneurial skills

f. knowing how to work within a hierarchical structure

g. good interpersonal skills

2. Which national group considers communication and interpersonal skills to be more important - the British or the Dutch?

3. According to Andre Laurent, German, British and French managers see organizations as different kinds of networks. What words does he use to define these networks in each case?


D Understanding meanings

1. Choose the best explanation of the sentence “there is not a discussion or a decision that does not have an international dimension” (line 11)?

a. international issues are not often discussed when companies take decisions

b. international issues must always be considered when taking a business decision

2. Choose the best explanation of the phrase “mere technicians” (line 18) as it is used in the text?

a. people who have some technical skills but no management skills

b. people who are excellent engineers


Vocabulary tasks

A Definitions


1. stamina 2. mental agility 3. detachment 4. tact 5. perseverance a. ability to think quickly and intelligently b. physical or mental strength to continue doing something c. ability to be polite and careful in what you say and do d. determination to keep trying to do something difficult e. not becoming involved in things emotionally  

B Word search

Find a word or phrase in the text that has a similar meaning.

1. behaviour which prevents things from working normally (para 3)

…disruptive behaviour

2. managers who are ambitious (para 8)

s………………… - o………………… m…………………

3. clear directions that people can follow to move up in a company (para 8)

c………………… p…………………

4. push a manager's career into a dead end (para 9)

s………………… - t…………………

5. when interest is becoming less and less (para 9)

d………………… i…………………


C Prepositions

Match the verbs and prepositions as they occur together in the text.

1. based 2. compete 3. have a feeling 4. differ 5. measure a. up to b. on c. from d. with e. for


D Complete the sentence

Use an appropriate phrase from Excercise C to complete each sentence.

1.German managers take decisions …based on… their professional knowledge.

2.The qualities most valued in managers ………………… country to country.

3. To operate successfully in different countries you need to ………………… good ………………… different cultures.

4. In a global company, managers from different countries ………………… each other for the top jobs.

5. Expatriates who don't ………………… to the demands of working and living abroad sometimes return from their foreign assignment early.


Unit 9. Management attitudes in Germany and Britain



Christopher Lorenz looks at the contrasting attitudes between German and British managers


A study comparing British and German approaches to man­agement has revealed the deep gulf which separates managerial behaviour in many German and British companies. The gap is so fundamental, especially among middle managers, that it can pose severe prob­lems for companies from the two countries which either merge or collaborate. The findings are from a study called “Managing in Britain and Germany” carried out by a team of German and British academics from Mannheim University and Templeton College, Oxford.

The differences are shown most clearly in the contrasting attitudes of many Germans and Britons to managerial expertise and authority, according to the academics. This schism results, in turn, from the very different levels of quali­fication, and sorts of career paths, which are typical in the two countries.

German managers – both top and middle - consider technical skill to be the most important aspect of their jobs, according to the study. It adds that German managers consider they earn their authority with col­leagues and subordinates from this “expert knowledge” rather than from their position in the organisational hierarchy.

In sharp contrast, British middle managers see them­selves as executives first and technicians second. As a result, German middle man­agers may find that the only people within their British partner companies who are capable of helping them solve routine problems are technical specialists who do not have management rank. Such an approach is bound to raise status problems in due course.

Other practical results of these differences include a greater tendency of British middle managers to regard the design of their departments as their own responsibility, and to reorganise them more frequently than happens in Germany. German middle managers can have “major problems in dealing with this”, the academics point out, since British middle managers also change their jobs more often. As a result, UK organisations often undergo “more or less constant change”.

Of the thirty British mid­dle managers in the study, thirteen had held their cur­rent job for less than two years, compared with only three in Germany. Many of the Britons had also moved between unrelated depart­ments or functional areas, for example from marketing to human resources. In con­trast, all but one of the Germans had stayed in the same functional area. Twenty of them had occupied their current positions for five years or more, compared with only five of the Britons.

The researchers almost certainly exaggerate the strengths of the German pattern; its very stability helps to create the rigid atti­tudes which stop many German companies from adjusting to external change. But the authors of the report are correct about the drawbacks of the more unstable and less technical­ly oriented British pattern. And they are right in con­cluding that the two coun­tries do not merely have different career systems but also, in effect, different ways of doing business.


From the Financial Times


Reading tasks

A Understanding main points


1. The text describes two main differences between British and German management. What are they?

2. Mark these statements T (true) or F (false) according to the information in the text. Find the part of the text that gives the correct information.

a. Mergers between Briti5h and German companies rarely succeed. F

b. The study mainly concentrated on middle managers.

c. Both German and British managers consider technical skills to be very important.

d. German managers prefer working with technicians in British companies.

e. British managers are very concerned about their executive status.

f. There is much more change in British companies than in German companies.

g. German companies are strong and successful because of the way they are organised.

h. British managers are probably more flexible than their German counterparts.

3. In your opinion does the article suggest that one country's approach to management and organisation is better than the other's?

4. Pick out some extracts from the article which make positive or negative comments about British or German approaches.


B How the text is organised

These sentences summarise the main idea of each paragraph. Match each sentence to the correct paragraph.

a. British managers change jobs within a company Far more often than the Germans.

b. A study has shown big differences in managerial behaviour in Britain and Germany. paragraph 1

c. Approaches to management in both countries have disadvantages which are clearly different.

d. British managers are “generalists” rather than “specialists”.

e. Attitudes to the qualifications and the role of managers are different in Britain and Germany.

f. The structure of British companies changes frequently.

g. German managers are “experts” in their jobs.


Vocabulary tasks

A Words with similar or related meanings


1. The article mentions the “gulf” (line 2) which separates managerial behaviour in German and British companies.

a. Does the word “gulf” suggest a big or small difference?

b. Find two other words in the first two paragraphs of the article similar in meaning to “gulf”.

2. The study is mainly concerned with middle managers. What words can be used to describe managers at levels above and below middle management. One example is in the text.

3. The article mentions that thirteen British managers “had held their current job for less than two years” (line 28).

a. What word could replace “current”?

b. Think of two other words with the same meaning as “job”. One is in the article.

4. Many of the British managers had also moved between unrelated “departments” or “functional areas”. Two examples are given in the text (line 30). Can you think of at least four other “functional areas” in a typical company?


B Collocations

1. Find at least three adjective-noun collocations in the text which create a negative impression (e.g. severe problems).

2. Match these verbs and nouns as they occur together in the text.

a. Pose b. carry out c. solve d. undergo e. change f. occupy change problems jobs a position a study problems


C Word search

Find a word or phrase from the text that has a similar meaning

1. work closely with another company (para 1)


2. skill of being a manager (para 2)

m………………… e…………………

3. sequence of jobs you take during your working life (para 2)

c………………… p…………………

4. structure of an organisation with its different levels (para 3)

o………………… h…………………

5. companies that you are working closely with (para 4)

p………………… c…………………

6. problems which are not complex or difficult (para 4)

r………………… p…………………

7. position of being a manager (para 4)

m………………… r…………………


D Word families

Complete the chart.

verb manage manage 1…know… organize 5………………… 7………………… adjective managerial management knowledgeable 3………………… 6………………… 8………………… noun manager management 2………………… 4………………… adjustment collaborator


Unit 10. The value of MBAs



Getting an MBA is one thing. Getting employers to take it seriously is another. MBAs have not tradition­ally commanded the same respect in the UK as in the US, but an increasing number of UK employers are now taking them very seriously indeed.

None more so than top management consulting firm McKinsey. Of its 260 London consultants, around half have MBAs. The company actively recruits 30-40 people a year from major business schools, such as INSEAD in France, Harvard and Stanford in the US, and London Business School and Manchester in the UK. It spends around £1 million a year sponsoring its 25-30 graduate recruits to complete full-time MBAs at the same institutions.

“Essentially we see an MBA as a short cut to busi­ness experience”, says Julian Seaward, head of recruit­ment for McKinsey's London Office. “It enriches peo­ple with a lot of management theory, and perhaps a bit of jargon thrown in.”

However, the company still prefers MBAs gained abroad. With a longer established reputation in the US, business schools there still have the edge in attracting candidates, while INSEAD has positioned itself as an international school with a cosmopolitan faculty and student body.

“The networking and experience of other cultures is very useful as a lot of our clients are global”, says Seaward.

Nevertheless, McKinsey is actively raising its profile over here with a recently-launched scheme offer­ing external candidates sponsorship through a United Kingdom MBA with a guaranteed job afterwards.

With a £50,000 Harvard MBA, McKinsey knows how attractive its staff are to other employers. Those who wish to leave within two years have to repay their sponsorship, but Seaward believes the staff develop­ment strategy has a good return rate. “We look for peo­ple to develop a long-term career with us, not just an analyst job for a couple of years, and reward high achievers with good salaries and opportunities.”

Equally convinced of the value of MBAs is direct marketing company OgilvyOne Worldwide, which recently established an MBA bursary for staff mem­bers.

Chairman Nigel Hewlett believes the MBA's formal education in analytical skills and constructing solu­tions provides a very useful training, producing people who have a good overview of business issues rather than a concern for details.

The company is currently undertaking an evalua­tion of the best UK schools in which to invest their bursary. With the recent big increase in the number of institutions offering MBAs, Hewlett is concerned that not all MBAs are equal. “There are clear differences in terms of quality.”

But not every company favours MBAs. In the early 1990s, Shell actually abandoned its own MBA course at Henley when it realised it was not producing gradu­ates who fitted the jobs for which they were destined.

“We're slightly ambivalent towards MBAs,” says Andy Gibb, Shell's head of global recruitment. “A lot of Shell's work is technical, while MBAs from leading schools are pitched at a more strategic level. It can be frustrating and unnecessary to be trained for strategic thinking, when the job you're moving into is not really suited to that. We would rather focus them on techni­cal leadership.”

Companies like chartered accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers take a more middle-of-the-road approach. While it does not actively target MBAs or recruit them directly from business schools, a grow­ing proportion of its senior consultants have got them, and it is increasingly on the lookout for MBA graduates.

“Our business is changing from audit and tax man­agement more into consultancy roles,” says UK recruitment partner Keith Bell. “MBAs do bring a breadth of vision to the business problem rather than a narrow viewpoint, and that can be an advantage. But the issue is the longer term. If you sponsor some­one to do an MBA, will you get them back again?”

From The Independent

Reading tasks

A Understanding main points


Read the text on the opposite page about different attitudes towards MBA graduates and answer these questions.

1. What is the attitude of UK employers to MBAs? Are they very positive, negative or in between?

2. Several top business schools are mentioned in the text - which ones are they? Do you agree with this list? Would you add others?

3. According to the article, do most MBA students pay for themselves?

4. In which country are MBAs very highly regarded by employers, according to the article?


B Understanding details

1. Four companies are mentioned in the article. Rank them in order in terms of their attitude to MBAs, starting with the one most in favour.

2. Some disadvantages about MBAs are mentioned by people quoted in the article. What are they?

3. Businesses are generally grouped into two broad categories - manufacturing and production on one side, and services on the other side. Into which categories do the four companies mentioned in the article fit? What does this tell you about the type of companies which generally favour MBAs? Is this the case in your country too?

C How the text is organised

The article has four main parts, each one describing the attitude of one company to MBAs. Each part has a clear introductory sentence that indicates whether the company is in favour of MBAs or not Find the introductory sentences and decide if the sentence indicates a positive or negative attitude to MBAs.

None more so than top management consulting firm Mckinsey. (positive)

Vocabulary tasks

A Word search


Find a word or phrase from the text that has a similar meaning.

1. select and employ new people in a company (para 2)


2. give financial support to a student (para 2) s…………………

3. special vocabulary of a field of work (para 3)


4. making useful contacts with lots of people (para 5)

5. people who are ambitious to succeed in their job (para 7)
h………………… a…………………

6. neither for nor against something (para 12)



B Collocations

Match the verbs and nouns as they occur together in the text.


1. command 2. be 3. have 4. raise 5. undertake 6. establish 7. take 8. develop a. a profile b. an evaluation c. a middle-of-the-road approach d. respect e. the edge f. a career g. a reputation h. on the look out



C Complete the sentence


Use an appropriate phrase from Exercise B to complete each sentence.

1.We are always …on the lookout… for talented people to join our creative team.

2.The success of its advertising campaign helped the business school …………………among international companies.

3 Because of our continued investment in research we ………………… over many of our competitors.

4 To help us choose which business school to work with we will need to ………………… of the top ten.

5 Studying for an MBA is increasingly necessary as a way to ………………… in a large organisation.


D Linking


Find at least four examples in the article where a contrast is made. Note the word or phrase used to introduce the contrast, and say what is being contrasted, e.g. However, the company still prefers MBAs gained abroad (line ) - contrast between MBAs from abroad and MBAs from UK business schools.



Unit 11. Recruiting internationally



DAIMLERCHRYSLER: Star is reminder of proud auto heritage by Jeremy Grant


For the past year Daimler has been part of the grouping with American manufacturer Chrysler. The German company's roots go back to the very first days of motoring.

If Germans associate one com­pany with the state of Baden-Wurttemberg it is the automotive group DaimlerChrysler. The group was formed in 1998 through the merger of Daimler-Benz and Chrysler of the US. But the local association dates back to the late 1890s, when Daimler and Benz began the automotive age by pro­ducing the world's first motor cars. DaimlerChrysler is one of the mainstays of the Baden-Wurttemberg economy, sustaining 242,000 people in employment across Germany - the bulk of them in the state.

To extend its global reach, the company has ambitious plans to grow in the automotive business, and will invest ˆ46bn developing sixty-four new cars and truck mod­els in the next few years. Research and development spending is set to soar to what a spokesman says is “a market leading position”. This year the company aims for sales of ˆ146bn, compared with previous forecasts of ˆ139.9bn.

One of the most critical issues facing the group as it attempts to achieve those targets is where it will find, in sufficient numbers, people with the right qualifications to make it all happen. Baden-Wurttemberg and Germany alone will not be able to provide enough recruits. “DaimlerChrysler needs to hire 4,500 engineers and IT people in the next three years,” says Marc Binder of Human Resources. “That's a big number and it will be impossible to find enough of them in Germany, let alone in one region. You have to hire them from the top schools in the world.”

Traditionally, Daimler-Benz always recruited engineers within Germany. In 1999, however, its recruitment campaign went global. Part of the impetus was that the transatlantic merger had broad­ened the spectrum of job opportu­nities. Using the Internet, DaimlerChrysler issued a blanket invitation to college graduates around the world - with emphasis on mechanical engineering, process technology and aerospace engineering - to attend an open day at eleven DaimlerChrysler locations around the world. Of the 800 who attended, about 55 per cent were invited for interview - a far higher proportion than in previous recruitment drives.

A few months later, the group launched a novel campaign to attract recruits for its International Management Associate Program. It advertised in the international press, inviting would-be trainees to call a compa­ny hotline during a four-hour period over two days. Some 200 appli­cants were interviewed.

Competition for talent from other large industrial groups is bound to increase. Rivals such as BMW, in neighbouring Bavaria, have similar needs. But Mr Binder says: “We try to convince would-be recruits that we're the most global company and it's more interesting to work at DaimlerChrysler in this exciting period after the merger.” Recruits are also offered opportu­nities to work in different units of the group.

The recruitment problem has been made worse by a steady decline in the number of students electing to study engineering since the early 1990s - when there were too many newly-qualified engi­neers entering the market. Large numbers of students chose to study other subjects, leading to today's shortage.

DaimlerChrysler is supporting initiatives to try to ensure a steady flow of engineers and graduates from other technical disciplines. Over the course of the next few years, the group will be supporting the establishment of two private
universities in Baden-Wurttemberg the Stuttgart Institute of Management and no Technology and the International University of Germany in Bruchsal.

From the Financial Times


Reading tasks

A Understanding main points

1. Which of these statements gives the best summary of the text?

a. A global company needs to recruit globally.

b. The Internet will revolutionise the way new employees are recruited.

c. Engineering is the discipline of the Future.

2. Mark these statements T (true) or F (false) according to the information in the text.
Find the part of the text that gives the correct information.

a. DaimlerChrysler is the largest employer in Baden-Wurttemburg. F

b. Daimler Chrysler employs more people in Baden-Wurttemburg than in other parts of Germany.

c. The company plans to increase its investment in research and development.

d. DaimlerChryslers' policy is to recruit engineers in Germany whenever possible.

e. DaimlerChrysler uses the Internet in its recruitment campaigns.

f. BMW is a more attractive company to work for.

g. Not enough students study engineering in Germany.

h. DaimlerChrysler is planning to set up its own technical university.


B How the text is organised

These phrases summarise the main idea of each paragraph. Match each phrase with the correct paragraph.

a. the need to recruit engineers globally to meet it's business targets

b. the lack of engineering graduates generally

c. DaimlerChrysler's position in the state of Baden-Wurttemburg paragraph 1

d. the need to compete with other companies to attract new recruits

e. DaimlerChrysler's business targets

f. use of the Internet for recruitment

g. DaimlerChrysler's plans to support private universities

h. another recruitment approach


Vocabulary tasks

A Synonyms

1. The writer uses three different words to describe an institute of higher education. What are they? Are they exact equivalents?

2. Two words are used many times with the meaning of “to find and employ new people”. What are they?

3. The word “campaign” is used twice in the article (lines 21and 28). What other phrase is used with a similar meaning to “campaign”?

4. “about 55 per cent of graduates who attended DaimlerChrysler's open day were invited for interview” (line 26).

a. What other word is used in the article with a similar meaning to “about”?

b. Think of at least three other words or phrases to give the idea of approximation.


B Word search

1. The article deals mainly with the theme of recruitment. Find at least ten words or phrases in the text connected with the idea of recruitment. The writer uses several phrases to express the idea of time, either as an approximate date, e.g.
”the late 1890s” or to describe when something will or did happen, e.g. “in the next few years”. How many similar time expressions can you find in the article?


C Complete the sentence

Use an appropriate word or phrase from Exercise A or B to complete each sentence.

1. Due to rapid expansion the company had to carry out an extensive …recruitment campaign… to hire new employees.

2. In ………………… very few people knew much about the Internet.

3. ………………… the next few years the use of the Internet is bound to expand even more.

4. There are literally hundreds of business ………………… around the world offering MBAs.

5. Many companies now ………………… new job vacancies on the Internet and in the press simultaneously.

6. ………………… graduates in subjects such as information technology have a lot of opportunities for their first job.

7. Our recruitment campaign was so successful that we had over 100 ………………… for each job.

8. We usually invite about 5 per cent of those who apply to come for ………………… so we can meet them in person.

9. An MBA is one of the best ………………… for an international management job.


D Expanding vocabulary

1. The article focuses on the subject of engineering. There are many different branches of engineering. Two are mentioned in the article - mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering. What other branches of engineering can you think of?

2. The article mentions that there is a “steady decline” in the numbers of engineering students, leading to a “shortage” of potential recruits.

a. Think of at least two other words similar in meaning to “decline”.

b. Think of at least three words with the opposite meaning.

c. Think of at least one word equivalent in meaning to “shortage”.

d. Think of at least one word with the opposite meaning.


E Definitions

Match these terms with their definitions.

1. mainstay (line 5) 2. global reach (line 8) 3. set to soar (line 10) 4. impetus (line 21) 5. broadened the spectrum of job opportunities (line 22) 6. blanket invitation (line 23) 7. a novel campaign (line 28) 8. would-be trainees (line 30) a. an influence that makes something happen b. people who want to enter a training programme c. a new and imaginative way to recruit d. having a presence all over the world e. an offer open to everyone f. about to increase a lot g. increased the range of possible jobs h. most important part of something  


Unit 12. Selecting international managers




Approaches to selection vary sig­nificantly across cultures. There are differences not only in the pri­orities that are given to technical or interpersonal capabilities, but also in the ways that candidates are tested and interviewed for the desired qualities.

In Anglo-Saxon cultures, what is generally tested is how much the individual can contribute to the tasks of the organisation. In these cultures, assessment cen­tres, intelligence tests and measurements of competencies are the norm. In Germanic cultures, the emphasis is more on the quali­ty of education in a specialist function. The recruitment process in Latin and Far Eastern cultures is very often characterised by ascertaining how well that person “fits in'” with the larger group. This is determined in part by the elitism of higher educational institu­tions, such as the “grandes ecoles” in France or the University of Tokyo in Japan, and in part by their interpersonal style and ability to network internally. If there are tests in Latin cultures, they will tend to be more about person­ality, communication and social skills than about the Anglo-Saxon notion of “intelligence”.

Though there are few statistical comparisons of selection practices used across cultures, one recent study provides a useful example of the impact of culture. A survey conducted by Shackleton and Newell compared selection meth­ods between France and the UK. They found that there was a striking contrast in the number of interviews used in the selection process, with France resorting to more than one interview much more frequently. They also found that in the UK there was a much greater tendency to use panel interviews than in France, where one-to-one interviews are the norm. In addition, while almost 74 per cent of companies in the UK use references from previous employers, only 11 per cent of the companies surveyed in France used them. Furthermore, French companies rely much more on personality tests and handwriting analysis than their British counterparts.

Many organisations operating across cultures have tended to decentralise selection in order to allow for local differences in test­ing and for language differences, while providing a set of personal qualities or characteristics they consider important for candidates.

Hewitt Associates, a US com­pensation and benefits consulting firm based in the Mid West, has had difficulties extending its key selection criteria outside the USA. It is known for selecting “SWANs”: people who are Smart, Willing, Able and Nice. These concepts, all perfectly understandable to other Americans, can have very differ­ent meanings in other cultures. For example, being able may mean being highly connected with col­as leagues, being sociable or being able to command respect from a hierarchy of subordinates, where­as the intended meaning is more about being technically competent, polite and relatively formal. Similarly, what is nice in one cul­ture may be considered naive or immature in another. It all depends on the cultural context.

Some international companies, like Shell, Toyota, and L'Oreal, have identified very specific quali­ties that they consider strategical­ly important and that support their business requirements. For example, the criteria that Shell has identified as most important in supporting its strategy include mobility and language capability. These are more easily understood across cultures because people are either willing to relocate or not. There is less room for cultural misunderstandings with such qualities.


From Managing Cultural Differences, Economist Intelligence Unit

Date: 2015-01-12; view: 4545

<== previous page | next page ==>
INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT | Exercise 1. Interpersonal Skills.
doclecture.net - lectures - 2014-2024 year. Copyright infringement or personal data (0.107 sec.)