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Kenan-Flagler Business School

James W. Dean - Jr. Associate Dean MBA Program
Yes. I am currently involved with several organizations who are very interested in developing global managers, and in fact see it as a key organizational challenge.
1. The (business) world is changing rapidly. Does globalization mean, too, that we need a new kind of "global" manager?

Yes. I am currently involved with several organizations who are very interested in developing global managers, and in fact see it as a key organizational challenge.

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2. If so, what does he look like? Is the manager of the future a sort of global nomad, working with his laptop in hotel rooms and airport lounges, living some years at one place on the earth, some years at another?

He or she will certainly need to travel a great deal, and be comfortable with all sorts of remote communications, e.g. cell phones (tri-mode, of course), laptops, Blackberry wireless, etc. But for people high enough to have responsibilities that cross many borders, it is and will be important that they not lose the human touch, which can only be developed through personal contact. Hence the travel...

3. What are the qualifications of the Manager of Tomorrow? His talents, language skills etc.?

Important talents will include the ability to maintain a consistent message about organizational direction and strategy, while tailoring this message as appropriate to variations in local culture, economic development, infrastructure, etc. This is much harder than it sounds, because one is always questioning when to be flexible and when to be consistent. Certainly language ability will help: while a great deal of international business takes place in English, there are real limits for people who only speak English in terms of being able to thoroughly understand other cultures and people. For example, Alison Jesse's ability to connect with German people is much stronger because of her language ability. Another illustration: one of our MBA graduates is a German citizen who works for an American multinational and has reponsibility for Latin America. He has spoken French and English for many years, but has learned Spanish and now Portuguese to be successful in his new environmen. Yes, everyone he works with directly speaks English, but he shows respect for his staff by learning their language, and also this allows him to speak with people at lower levels of the organization who cannot speak English. (As an aside, I think Europeans have an advantage due to their early language training.)

4. Will we have a very tiny elite of truly "global" top managers and a more "national" middle management? In other words: Do we tend towards a two-class manager system?

Yes, I think this is likely. In large organizations, "top managers" and "global managers" will be synonymous. However, many middle managers will also have global responsibilities for projects or functions. I was on a conference call today with people from five countries. They share responsibility for a particular leadership development initiative, and all of them are middle managers.

5. As a business school, how do you see your role in shaping the world of tomorrow?

By conducting research on what management practices will be effective in a fast-moving global business environment. For example, a current project I am working on with a multinational deals with the exact topic of your questionnaire: what are the characteristics of effective global leaders?

Also, by educating individuals who will be successful in the new environment. Business schools in Europe and North America have had a tremendous role in shaping business practices of many, many countries, and will continue to do so.

6. If you wish to add something relevant to this subject, please feel free to do so.

Just to reinforce something I said earlier: technology will lead to much more efficient international communication, but truly successful leaders will always need superior interpersonal and communication skills.
Dieser Artikel ist erschienen am 23.02.2001