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The managerial implication for Global managers
Many organizations are venturing into the global market in order to meet their growth targets. To be successful the organizations have to realign to the global business environment. The global business environment has various challenges and managerial implications that have to be addressed for an organization to gain a competitive advantage. Considering the highly competitive nature of the global economic environment, being a successful global manager is challenging.
Global managers need more than conventional managerial skills to steer their organizations. Other than the conventional managerial skills, global managers require to have foresight, understand business environments in different countries, have cultural knowledge, and be able to lead their organizations to profitability (Ali and Camp 1996, p. 7).
Cultural knowledge is very important in the global business environment. Managers in global organizations must be able to instill cooperation in individuals from various cultural backgrounds and avoid cross-cultural misunderstanding. Besides managing the internal environment of their organizations, global managers have to deal with governments, customers, and other businesses from diverse cultural, political, and economic environments. The managers also have to forge collaboration with business partners such as distributors, and joint venture companies. To succeed in a unique business environment, global managers need important qualities such as flexibility, adaptability, and comfortableness (Ali and Camp 1996, p. 5).
The managers need to be flexible enough to adjust to different geographical, cultural, and managerial environments presented by the global business environment. Other than being flexible, global managers need to adapt easily to changes in their working environment and be comfortable carrying out their managerial duties away from their home countries. Managers are responsible for motivating and leading other workers toward their organizations’ goals and objectives. Global managers should therefore have not only technical knowledge in their areas but also cultural knowledge to enable them to work easily with individuals and other businesses from different cultural backgrounds.
Global Business Teams
Global business teams (GBTs) have an important place in the success of a global organization. However, some of these teams fail. Gupta, Govindarajan, and Wang (2008) attribute the failure of GBTs to unique challenges in the global business environment. Communication barriers and difficulty in forging trust among culturally diverse team members are identified as the major challenges to global business teams.
Trust is very important to any team. Trust among members of a GBT makes it easier for the team members to cooperate. It also helps to avoid unnecessary conflicts within the teams. Communication barriers such as physical distance, cultural, and language differences affect GBTs negatively (Gupta, Govindarajan, and Wang 2008, p. 195). GB team members may be drawn from distant places, therefore making it impossible for them to meet frequently. Language and cultural differences not only make communication challenging but can also lead to misunderstanding.
In addition to the unique challenges in the global business environment, GBTs are also affected by conventional problems affecting domestic teams. The problems include “misalignment in the goals of an individual team member, missing elements in the bundles of knowledge and skills necessary for the team to accomplish its task, and lack of clarity regarding team objective” (Gupta, Govindarajan, and Wang 2008, p. 192).
A global business team can only be successful if the team’s objectives are clear to all team members and when all members cooperate toward realizing the objectives. Considering that most tasks assigned to teams are generally complex, the teams require the necessary technical knowledge and skills to succeed.
The effects of communication barriers in GBTs can be mitigated even though they may not be eliminated. Despite the distance, global business teams should meet often to cultivate understanding and trust among team members. Interpreters should be used where there is a language difference among team members. However, team members should strive to learn common languages to facilitate easy communication. Cultural misunderstanding, as a barrier to communication, can be reduced by offering cultural training to team members. In addition, a global business team should have a well-defined team charter to provide guidelines to the team’s functions (Gupta, A., Govindarajan, V., and Wang 2008, p. 199).
The global business environment presents a great opportunity for growth, but organizations have to overcome the involved challenges to seize the opportunity. Today organizations are taking various strategic actions in order to be competitive in the global economy. Acquisition, mergers, and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) have been common. The success of these global strategies, however, depends on how the emerging organizations realign to the global business environment. Organizations need to not only restructure but also learn and adopt a favorable global organizational culture.
Managers in global organizations have unique responsibilities for their success. They have to lead their organizations to take advantage of opportunities in the global business environment as well as ensure that a favorable internal environment exists. The managers should help their organizations overcome cultural and technical challenges in global business. To succeed, global managers need to be flexible, adaptable, and able to be comfortable when carrying out their managerial duties.
The managers also require the necessary technical and cultural knowledge. To gain the necessary knowledge and skills, global managers require high training and experience before taking duties as global managers.
No global organization can succeed without working in global business teams. GBTs enable an organization to coordinate operations in various parts of the world and enable the organization to meet its goals. GBTs can work effectively. Proper considerations when preparing team charter, picking the right team members and good management of team processes are vital to a GBT.
Ali, A., and Camp, R. 1996. Global Managers: Qualities for Effective Competition. International Journal of Manpower Vol. 17 No. 6, pp. 5-18.
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Gupta, A., Govindarajan, V. & Wang, H. 2008. The Quest for Global Dominance. New York: John Wiley and Sons.