Globalization and management

By Kevan Hall, CEO, Global Integration

Just finished reading the excellent Economist special report this week on globalization, see it online here

Unsurprisingly, one of their conclusions is that management quality will be a deciding factor in whether companies in the developing economies are able to compete long term with the established multinationals (and vice versa).

One fascinating statistic from the report is that less than 5% of the members on the boards of American multinationals are non-Americans. If after all this time the even other “developed” economies in Europe and Asia are still not represented it could take several management generations before multinational boards in the USA become common.

Does this matter? Well if you believe that a range of cultures and backgrounds brings additional understanding and richness to decision making, then it does.

It also means that we need to develop the skills in our existing generation of mangers to build a global mindset wherever they are from originally. Demographics at the top of organizations takes a long time to change.

It’s also not true that just because an individual is from another culture they are automatically good at working internationally or that increasing diversity leads to better decisions unless we change the behaviours of the existing dominant corporate culture too.

There is still a lot to do to build real global management capability – take a look at our approach to building global management skills.

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