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Open University Business School (OUBS)

Professor John Storey - Associate Dean (Research)
I don't think there will be one new model of a new 'global manager'. There will be, as now, different types and kinds of managers. It may be possible to characterise an array of types but certainly not just a dichotomy between 'international' and 'domestic'. There are a number of reasons. Part of this is due to the fact that there are multiple forces at work - some of which operating in conflicting directions.
1. The (business) world is changing rapidly. Does globalization mean, too, that we need a new kind of "global" manager?

I don't think there will be one new model of a new 'global manager'. There will be, as now, different types and kinds of managers. It may be possible to characterise an array of types but certainly not just a dichotomy between 'international' and 'domestic'. There are a number of reasons. Part of this is due to the fact that there are multiple forces at work - some of which operating in conflicting directions. For example, the internationally experienced manager will have some claim to significant advantage and elite status due, in part, to the reflected ambience of high class hotels, special airport lounges and limousine transfers. But there is the counterpoint that this requires significant amounts of time away from home and the attendant disruptions on family life and social relationships. In other words, these appurtenances could be seen as poor 'compensations' for a heavy commitment. Added to which, as international travel becomes commonplace there are the annoyances of flight delays and congested traffic.

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To take a different perspective on this. There are also a range of strategies open to corporations: joint partnerships, strategic alliances, licensing, acquisition and so on - in varying degrees these may allow decreased reliance upon 'expatriate' (as one version of 'global') managers.

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?

As hinted at above, just as there will be different types of managers in general so there will be different types of global manager. A certain proportion will be young, unmarried and without children whose eventual ambition will be to decrease their exposure to international assignments. Then there will be the partnered, dual career-family units who will be costly to their firms because they will require substantial notice of planned moves and appropriate housing and re-entry facilities.

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

Virtually all top managers in future will need to be more international in outlook and experience - simply because their marketplaces will invariably be global. Their skills and qualifications will need to reflect these new realities. Research we conducted a short while ago on this very question indicated that managers across a number of countries ranked 'strategic awareness' as the key attribute required.

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?

No - for reasons given above.

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

There is no one profile of the ideal global manager. There are different roles to be played and therefore different role requirements and different person specifications. We seek to cater for this variety through the provision of cutting-edge teaching materials and learning opportunities. These, increasingly, have wide international input and application. Our model is that of the 'reflective practitioner', able to gain adaptability and understanding through supported open learning.
Dieser Artikel ist erschienen am 23.02.2001