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Management Issues Facing Global Managers as We Enter the 21st Century

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The 21st century global manager faces many challenges as the norm become having business interest in other countries. When managers of companies decide to enter the foreign market there are a lot of things to take into consideration. Sure the money is great! However, if money is the only thing that is driving you to expand into a foreign market, you will surely fail. There are several factors that a manager should consider before deciding to expand their product or service into foreign markets. Among these are the cultural differences you will be faced with, the differences in language of the countries, the challenges your employees will face as they return from foreign job assignments, and the know how, to develop and assist your employees, who take foreign assignments, in keeping their skills up to date while in these underdeveloped countries. Without the right tools and knowledge, the 21st century managerÐŽ¦s task ahead will be extremely difficult. We will begin by discussing Culture.

Culture is important and has to be appreciated by the business manager. It can make or break a relationship and could possibly lose your company millions. Consider the differences between cultural imperatives, cultural electives, and cultural exclusives in another country. Before a manager decides to do business in a foreign country, they should find out what these consist of. Cultural imperatives are the things that you must do to keep from offending others. Cultural electives are things you may participate in, but you do not absolutely have too. Participation in a cultural elective could seriously help the business deal you are trying to close though. Lastly, cultural exclusives are things that you should not participate in no matter what the circumstances are.

Global managers of the 21st century must also gain knowledge of the other countriesÐŽ¦ management style. This consists of how their country conducts business and the methods they use to accomplish their goals. You do not have to act like you are Chinese if you are in China, because they know you are American. It is ok to act like an American. However, this doesnÐŽ¦t mean you donÐŽ¦t need to know what self-reference criterion (SRC) is.

ÐŽ§SRC is an unconscious reference to oneÐŽ¦s own cultural values, experiences, and knowledge as a basis for decisionsЎЁ. (International Marketing, Pg15). For example, a manager may make a wrong business decision in China by basing his or her decision on how they would handle the same decision if they were in their home country.

The global manager going into the 21st century should understand that you can and probably will do something in your foreign business journey that is culturally unacceptable. No one is perfect and the chances of you accidentally doing something or saying something that is offensive is high. The more you understand their implicit and tacit culture, the lower your chances of making mistakes will be.

Always keep in mind that if you are not sure how to act in a certain situation that you should simply not act at all. Global managers of the 21st century should always take time to do their due diligence regarding culture whenever they are considering expansion into a foreign market.


Global managers in the 21st century have to able to communicate. This can be difficult when that person is of a different nationality and does not fluently speak the language. As an international manager being able to speak many languages would be ideal but unrealistic. Even when one does know the language getting an idea across may be difficult.

Language is a set of symbols, both spoken and unspoken, its purpose is to allow people to communicate with one another and be able to share information. According to Benjamin Lee Wharf, the language you normally use influences the way you understand your environment, thus the picture of the world shifts from language to language. An example of this is the use of words to express numbers or the use of different names for colors. IsnÐŽ¦t Magenta really just a form of red and why canÐŽ¦t red be called blue? These are examples of how the language reinforces knowledge.

People are often proud of the language they speak and often relate to and communicate more with those who speak the same language. How many times have you spoken to a stranger rather easily who speaks your native tongue? This is because we are able to identify with one another. The loss of being able to identify can be a barrier when bringing an outsider in to a foreign firm. Because this person does not communicate the same way, even if he or she can passably speak the language the challenge lies in being able communicate the meaning effectively.

Translating and interpreting can both be difficult, but an effective strategy for global managers is to use a translator. This person can be used to translate written documents into a different language or for speaking. It is imperative that the person doing the translations not only be fluent in the language, but also be able to think in both languages. Communication through

a translator can often be a challenge because it can be perceived as not coming directly from the leader or an idea or thought can be lost in translation. Idioms, colloquialisms and slang can not be translated word for word. Here is an example even in English ÐŽ§out of sight, out of mindЎЁ could be interpreted by someone to mean ÐŽ§blind and crazyЎЁ. As the words are not direct from the speaker, it can be perceived by those receiving the message that the speaker is less competent. So how fluent the speaker (leader) is, now indirectly ties to how much respected he/she may be perceived.

It is in the global managersÐŽ¦ best interest to always make sure that his translators are directly from the country they are wishing to do business with if possible. If not, recommendations from the local businessmen should be welcomed.

Reentry of Expatriates

Global managers in the 21st century, must be aware that it is a part of the responsibility of management to not only meet the needs of returning employees by making sure that their household goods and cost-of-living adjustments, are correct, but to also assist in satisfying the

ÐŽ§softerЎЁ needs arising from the stress of transition (reentry) and its effects on their social life, individual development, and career management.

According to Dr. Bruce La Brack, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA there are ten top immediate reentry challenges for expatriates. They are: boredom; a frustrating inability to explain experiences to those not having



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