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International Management Competencies

INTRODUCTION

MSc International Management was my chosen area in which to study after my BA honors in International business management at Oxford Brookes and I was given the opportunity to complete a Masters Degree in the same line of study. The semester classes started on the 28th of September 2009, where I was to take part in International Management Competencies. The sessions would give me the possible additional prospect of becoming a first-class international business manager. To be involved in a global business concerning mixed cultures, overall integration and examination for changes that affects globalization by interacting cross-culturally. (Thomas, 2008). The class in which I took part in included 23 students from 17 different countries of origin, which meant I would be having contact with individuals that have the same interest of subject with different backgrounds and experiences to offers with diverse cultures which most certainly could give me an insight into different ethnicity and cross-cultural factors. These could potentially overlap between each other while interacting. With this in mind, understanding culture it is to be associated with the aim to define common human problems which are shared between groups. (Schneider, 1997). The module itself would also give me the unique opportunity to enhance my mangerial skills by learning form my experiences and taking part into the activities that would bring further education in developing my fundamental process of learning. I began to understand that the classes would give me a vast ability to develop my skills on a weekly basis by interacting with all the members of my class and group that I was placed in, also while working on the reading material and keeping a weekly diary (see Appendix A) it seemed to be appealing and would most definitely exceed my knowledge on the subject in question, to understand that International managers hold the responsibility towards an organisations success by managing with their human resources which are related to their cultural differences and backgrounds (Groseschl, Doherty, 2000).

REFLECTIVE STATEMENT

EXPERIENCES

The most important task that I had to undertake this semester was associated with a mixed group of individuals form the same division to then explore the core case study given by our module leader, “The case of the Floundering Expatriate”, in which it involved diversity in cross-cultural groups concerning an organization that tries to manage these mixtures effectively to try accomplish great performance and success.

The role for the project would be to analyse Bert Donaldson‘s managerial practices and to address the key issues with his team, and actions he could take in his own cultural development. The final results would then to be presented to the peers in weeks 8 (trial mock, see diary Appendix A, week 8) and week 10 (final assesed, see Appendix A week, 10), with also a group report showing all the content and understanding of the case. The group i got allocated to consisted of 5 people from different countries with mixed culture backrounds, knowledge and experiences to offer (Appendix A,week 2-3), of which Shirley came form Venezuela, Konstantin from Bulgaria, Judith form Germany, Moses from Denmark, and me from Italy. The process in which all these events happened has been recorded in diary format shown in the appendix (Development through the weeks of the semester) showing overall actions taken during the initial process in which it began, where i had to change to another team (Appendix A, week 2 and 3). The group was given the chance to be fully independent, and we had the power to decide when to schedule as there was no pattern or organised structure to follow, therefore we could procede as best as we could, to optimize the procedure, which would be critical for the result. As described by Robert Harris, (2004) the synergy within a team has to be promoted by improving strategy that creates enhanced quality of work, autonomy control, improved communication, which then results in higher performance, productivity and more research and development. On initial startup there was a lack of organization and indeciciveness to whome should be the leader, to find a comprimise to work consistenely, but then Shirley proved to be up to the part and showed great ability to commence and organize a programme to follow (see Appendix B) related to meeting times and place, and a leader was found, persuing the role as the motivator and director of the operation by applying her human resource skills and direction of the generic scope which are crutial for a successful leader by creating a sense of purpose structure and clear defenition of purpose (Emirates Center, 2002)(Appendix A week 5 to 6). The role in which i could represent myself would be as a team worker and finisher ,a relevant role that would have to be skilled over the weeks to come. As mentioned by Harris, 1998, a team worker has the main priority to put people on top of his list, concerning feelings, needs, and has a strong observing power of the strengths and weaknesses of the group. Additionally he plays as a facilitator minimising any possible frictions that may arise.

FEELINGS

I was very content to be in the assigned group and ready to combine all our ideas together to then put them into practice. By using different prespectives on cultures and leadership which are essential to be able to learn the basic skills for managing its organization successfully and create a working environment that can develop its skills and training through time. Managers are faced with one of the biggest tasks to motivate and lead individuals to different cultures by understanding their behaviors, as motivation has the need to achieve and dominate in its class (Mc Cleland's, 1981). I had an amazing feeling that the overall experience would bring me insight into team working and learning other cultures by having the possibility to integrate and develop skills needed in working life environment, involving decison making process, solving problems, and being able to carry out required tasks. Furtermore an absolute importance to the way in which you present your skills and ideas is crutial for the success and undestanding you bring across. As explained by Tjosvold et al (2003), cross cultural management is increasing due to expatriation and international trade, meaning that people from diverse cultures must work together in the global marketplace. Societies differ in characteristic ways of thinking, feelings and acting through effective approaches derived from their values which portrays stereotypes and expectations that come from these specific situations. Finally by examining my teams diversity there were some disadvantages towards lack of cohesion(Appendix A week 7-8), and misscomunication through language as none of us were native spakers, but there were several advantages thatour mixed creativity gave a wide range of prespectives, better ideas and less groupthink, that resulted in better problem definition in regards to finding solutions for productivity.

THOUGHTS

As our first meeting started on the 16th of October many thoughts ran through my head and I was thinking if the group would be able to interact, merge developing ideas and fuse past experiences (work related and life events) with knowledge to minimize any potential cross-cultural issues that may arise. During the meeting everyone knew their role (Appendix A, weeks 3-6). I was motivated to extend and widen my thoughts by analyzing the situation in hand for the development plan needed. I was beginning to feel very relaxed and was pleased to share my opinions and ideologies of the case, by describing as best as I could what I thought we should include for the report to analyze it according to the prerequisites. I stared to realize that I was changing as time passed on, as I understood that my preferences where towards working with others and accepting ideas and mixing concepts to reach an evaluated criteria for fluency. I began to apprehend that I function perfectly as a team worker by constructing a working structure with appropriate skills and resources as suggested by West (2004), but there was a necessary need for change towards the way I express myself and come up with ideas. I would have to be more assertive and confident in myself. As for being an expatriate from Italy it brought additional challenges for working in a new cultural environment. Haour-knipe (2001), argued that in order to be successful during the integration of a new society there needs to be an adaption towards learning the new language, making new friends and getting occustomed to the the new surroundings and local culture. Nonetheless I saw different insights into people's different styles and ways of achieving a process where I could take into account additional practices to develop myself towards diversity and the power that a team can generate, as mentioned by Essed (1996), diversity can be understood by experiencing events that are in common with the individuals from the team, where these beliefs, principles and theories have an important impact on the opportunities for success. Not only would this be developed through practice but also the assigned reading would help me to expand the ideas and understand further ways to think globally and express myself.

REFLECTION

Through team working I understood different aspects of behaviors towards work commitments and endless encounters that would affect the work process. With this in mind i can understand that culture influences behavior as its a process about people or events they carry out, by looking towards cultural norms (acceptable behavior and influences of past experiences, Francesco, 2005) shared in a group, with selective perception, stereotypes, expectations, social dominance and different attributes for reaction (Usunier, 1998). A good example illustrating this could be the existence within the group members of both low and high context cultures of which everyone except for me was low context. Meaning that there explanations are done through words or verbalization instead of context, while I was the only one of high context mainly the opposite of them. Therefore by looking towards my experience i have noticed the various advantages that brought me to seek my role, not only that i knew what i wanted to do but also it was confirmed by Belbins self awareness questionnaire (Appendix C) that i was an implementor and team worker. These implications are the essential attributes for my team, that are in need for improvement towards my communication practice and presentation style that would have to be fully prepared to describe content coherently and right to the point. By developing these aspects it brings me a step closer to becoming a successfull specialist in the field of international business as Brooke (1996) described the process of becoming a successful by 3 stages involving observation, experience and theory, thereon analysing them to understand the relevance of each to learn the theoretical side.

THEORY INTO PRACTICE

The potential cross-cultural problems related to the topic of the session were plentiful, where there were issues concerning team roles, working skills, and decision making. There were also differences in communication style (verbal and non-verbal) and performing practices among cultures. Moreover there are diverse preferences towards leadership performance (skills), decision styles, and expectations with a need of cross cultural adjustment towards a new environment. Consequently it is necessary to know ones skills to be assertive; portraying what you may offer when entering in United Kingdom to show all the benefits you may bring to future career.

SUMMARY

Managers need to able to take into account all the concerning circumstances mentioned above to lead Individuals form their team towards working as a unit to increase overall performance to reach targets (Thakur, 1993).What needs to be understood is that globalization is a major factor affecting cultures all around the world, where everyone has to work closely together and need each other's support to build up to required expectations and competencies. This factor involves the rapid growth of a market in relation to social, economic and technological problems (Kavous, 2009). This module gave me the chance to question, analyze and improve my managerial skills, while the reflective statement and diaries give a broad outline of the experiences passed. Furthermore the professional development plan below will outline future areas for development .The overall project gave me an opportunity to discover my interpersonal skills as well as weaknesses that I need to overcome to develop sufficient international managerial competencies, the most important of which are communication, decision-making, leadership, presentation skills and team working.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ardalan, Kavous. (2009) “Globalization and culture: four paradigmatic views”, International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 36, No. 5, pp. 513-534.

Danielle Medina Walker, Thomas D. Walker, Joerg Schmitz, Terence Brake. (2003) Doing business internationally: the guide to cross-cultural success. McGraw-hill pages 33-36 Culture.

Dean Tjosvold, Kwok Leung. (2003) Cross-cultural management: foundations and future. Ashgate publishing company, pp. 1-6.

Francesco, A.M. and Gold, B.A. (2005) International Organizational Behavior, Upper Saddler River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc., pp. 159, 161,175, 204, 205.

Groseschl, Stefan, Doherty, Liz. (2000) “Conceptualising Culture”, Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp. 2-3.

Jean-Claude Usunier. (1998) International and cross-cultural management research. Sage publications. pp. 31-35.

Mary Haour-Knipe. (2001) Moving families: expatriation, stress and coping. Routledge publisher, pp. 90-92.

Michael A. West. (2004) Effective teamwork: practical lessons from organizational research. Malden Oxford. Pp. 75-85.

Michael Z. Brooke. (1996) International management: a review of strategies and operations. Stanley Thornes Ltd. Pp. 3 -21.

Philip R. Harris. (1998) The New Work Culture: Hrd Strategies for Transformational Management Publisher HRD Pres, Team working pp. 520-526. Philip Robert Harris, Robert T. Moran, Sarah Virgilia Moran (2004) Managing cultural differences: Global leadership strategies for the 21st century. Elsiver, Oxford ,sixth edition PP.150 -156 Cultural differences.

Philomena Essed. (1996) Diversity: gender, color, and culture. Library of Congress, A challenge towards diversity pp. 135-137.

Schneider, S. (1997) Managing Across Cultures, Hemel Hempstead: Prentice Hall

The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research. (2002) Leadership and management in the information age pages 12-22.

Thomas, D.C. (2008) Cross-Cultural Management Essential

Concepts, 2nd Edition, Los Angeles: SAGE Publications Ltd, pp: 49, 50, 59,131-137, 187, 223, 234.

APPENDIX A

WEEK 1

DATE: 29th of September 2009

EVENT/ACTIVITY: Introduction of the Module and Key Competencies of an International Manager. Discussion of a Case Study, Exercise 3 “Spanning the globe”.

EXPERIENCE:

This was my first class where a brief presentation was given on how the module would turn out to be and what was expected form us with course objectives and learning outcomes. During this class we were given a specific task to work on, the case study “Spanning the globe”, to be worked on as a team with people that were assigned together to work sitting on the same table during the lecture break that was give to us.

During the given time the whole group decided we should read the case study individually and then discuss and go through the question given, therefore everyone had a specific task and to combine ideas together.

The overall outcome of the task was to see how everybody would react to team work under a strict time management and to combine personal ideas with other members of the team.

FEELINGS:

My initial feelings of the task were orientated toward overall successful performance to achieve what was asked from me, I thought the group was well organized and prepared to come the exercise to come up with combined answers and ideas. Time management was also dived in 3 sections, the first towards reading the case study, secondly reviews opinions of members and finally to write notes down for a final answers.

THOUGHTS:

During the whole experience I felt I was learning throughout and getting to know different people and other ways of working as a group which made me happy and motivated to continue with the module introduced to us, where I realized that I would learn a great deal from this module that would most definitely improve me as a potential fine manager.

REFLECTION:

What I could learn from the first group discussion was that all individuals are different and that everyone has a different way of performing and achieving a process, therefore we have to accept to learn to work together and combine all ideas and conflicts to create something unique and to use individual's strengths to help the process. Also I had a rough look at the content of the module and understood that a wide range of reading material had to be studied, also by using as core text book Cross-Cultural Management essential concepts by David C. Thomas 2nd edition, and others similar to this.

THEORY INTO PRACTICE:

The potential cross-cultural problems related to the topic of the session are the following:

* Time pressure (35 min)

* Different understanding of the content

* Different opinions about approach

* Different perspectives of case study

* Working together effectively (constraints)

* General discussions to agree on a certain point

In order to enhance these potential threats it has to be noted that individual competencies of members need to be worked on in order to be a successful manager and improve cross cultural team work by accepting different skills and behaviors that might come into practice.

WEEK 2

DATE: 6th of October 2009

EVENT/ACTIVITY: International Team Working. Work group vs. Team. Division into groups for Assignment 1, Discussion of the Case Study 0.1 “The Thames Pump & Valve Company” and different activities about team working guidelines, reflections about advantages and disadvantages of working in groups, improving long-term performance of leaders of a multicultural team and personal awareness and skills exercise. The group that I was in included me, Julius, Roman, and Pimita, but one member was missing as she did not attend the class. (Of which we were assigned to be group 2).

EXPERIENCE:

During this class our team explored the performance and potential of multicultural teams and the key barriers to achieve high performance and which strategies to consider to address these issues. The first discussion was about the case study of “The Thames Pump & Valve Company”. This case study was part of our homework for the day and the discussion in my group was productive in the end. During the class we experience even other activities such as the exercise about team working guidelines where different cultural background proved even different ranking of the list of provisional guidelines. The second activity consisted in establishing advantages and disadvantages of working in groups and the other one was about improving the performance of leaders of a multicultural team in the long-term. During the session we discussed on conclusion of the role of self assessment to find each members preference and role within the group by completing Belbin's team role task to see each other differences.

Finally we were given the case study of “The case of the Floundering Expatriate” of which we would be analyzing with a group for the rest of the module to then give an oral presentation of the findings and solutions asked for.

FEELINGS:

I felt very happy to get to know my team members and see if we would work efficiently together, understand there different ways of doing and achieving a method, our group consisted of members from Germany (Julius), Russia (Roman), Italy (Eugenio), Pimpta (Thailand). So there were certainly potential for different cultural issues and idea generation. Overall there was a feeling of excitement for the beginning of a new relationship.

THOUGHTS:

While we were getting to know each other I was thinking what kind of benefits they would bring to the team and what could I learn from this experience and give towards making the group work. With this in mind previous weeks task for homework help me understand potential preferences that I might be involved in, I assessed myself development by completing the questionnaire given to us to correspond towards qualities for an effective manager where my strong points found were towards:

* Relevant professional knowledge and understanding

* Proactivity, inclination to respond purposefully to event

* Social skills and abilities

Secondly I looked towards personal awareness and skills exercise between the roles that an international manger takes into account, by organizing the most important roles that comply with you to be successful, the most important ones for me where:

* Team leader/ Judge/ Challenger/ and Innovator

REFLECTION:

While attending the session I learned that I would most definitely be a team worker as I got along with my members and I was motivated to bring great ideas and completing the task assigned to us. At this moment in time there was no evident leader so positions still needed to be assigned. Finally we all decided to meet the following Monday to discuss the case study of “The floundering Expatriate”, for a general review. Finally I was also reviewing the material that had to be red, the initial chapters of the core text book and others suggested by the module leader.

THEORY INTO PRACTICE:

The cross cultural factor that were influenced in this session were that there could have been a language restrain between each other and that clear ideas didn't seem to flow at times , therefore a better organization was needed.

WEEK 3

Date: 16th of October 2009

Event/Activity:

Culture and Values and Managing diversity. I started to feel ill, which resulted in getting the flu. Therefore I could not attend the First group meeting as I was unable to for health reasons and I was therefore moved to group number 1, as another member form group 2 attended and course leader suggested I move to the other group as they were already agreed to work together.

Experience:

During this week I got a temperature resulting in getting the flu and I was in bed for a few days. On Wednesday we had the first group meeting and one of my group mates was really kind to send me an e-mail with all the details discussed during the meeting. On Thursday I tried to recover from this by taking medicine and resting for a few days which put my back on track, unfortunately I felt badly that I could not attend the meeting and felt very frustrated; also I had to interact with my new group and set up new meeting and roles that would be taken

FEELINGS:

I was very happy to meet the other members of my group and was ready to work with them on the case study of “The floundering expatriate”, I wanted to see how we would socialize and combine all our ideas and put them into practice, but as I was ill I could do that, so it made me sad that I let the team down, and I had to tell them that I couldn't attend.

The group I was now assigned to consist from Shirley (Venezuela), Konstantin (Bulgaria), Moses (Denmark), Judith (Germany) and me (Italy), a nicely balanced group from different origins.

THOUGHTS:

During the time I didn't spend with my group I though what I could offer my team, and I started to think towards my potential assets that they could benefit from. One task that helped me realize what I could offer involved in completing Belbin's team roles self assessment by looking toward contribution, shortcoming events, involvement in projects, characteristic approach towards work, satisfaction, difficulties that may arise, and problems that can be dealt with. With all this taken into consideration, the final verdict showed that I exceeded towards being an implementer and team worker. Another way in which I understood that I was starting a general development of my life towards a working life was due to understanding wide-ranging points of view and concepts of cross-cultural management from Francesco and Gold, Thomas books that gave me a great deals to think about how my performance would affect the group and how I would interact with fellow members.

REFLECTION:

Unfortunately I couldn't learn anything from the group meeting as I was absent, but I read the case study and was ready to share my views and opinion on how to come about answering the questions that were given to us. Also I was informed form other member to meet my new group on the following Monday to review question 1 and 2 of the case study, to bring my ideas and thoughts to the next session.

THEORY INTO PRACTICE:

The cross cultural factor that were influenced in this session were that the group might have thought that I was unorganized and not willing to work as I did not attend and hoping that this would not happen again.

Additionally by being and implementer it meant that I would be reliable , disciplined, conservative and efficient and mainly to turn ideas into practical actions and work successful in a team with a smooth flow, knowing that I could bring these positive attributes to my team the following week and for the rest of the semester to complete the task given to perform a presentation on possible ways of developing the case study of “The Floundering Expatriate” by looking towards the:

* Cross cultural issues that arise

* Action plan to develop Bert's Team

* Steps in which Bert need to take into account to develop his interaction skills

* Finally followed by our groups performance in completing the task

WEEK 4

Date: 19th of October 2009

Event/Activity: Second group meeting: Presentation of task 1 and 2

Experience:

The group decided to review question 1 and 2 on Monday at 12.00 with a meeting point in the library in Wheatley campus, so we could discuss and review the work done the week before for the tasks and see if any progress was made since their last meeting.

SECOND Experience: 22nd of October

This week's class of IMC was divided in two parts; the first one had a guest lecture who talked about coaching and mentoring and the second one was about leadership.

During the first part we did a test called ‘International Coach Federation Professional Coaching core Competencies' to get a view about our coaching abilities.

Also an article about coaching was distributed in class, titled “ Accessing cultural orientations: the online Cultural Orientations Framework Assessment as a tool for coaching” by Gilbert and Rosinski (2007).

The second part was about Manager as a leader where we discussed the characteristics of global business leadership and cultural influence on leadership in different counties.

FEELINGS:

I was happy this week to learn about mentoring across cultures and leadership which are essential needs for an international manager to learn the basic skills for managing its organization successfully and create a working environment that can develop its skills and training through time, as managers are faced with one of the biggest tasks to motivate and lead individuals to different cultures by understanding their behaviors, as motivation has the need to achieve and dominate in its class (Mc Cleland's, 1981).

While on the other hand leadership has the ability to inspire individuals to influence organizations members towards goals and targets that need to meet.

THOUGHTS:

As the lesson progressed I was thinking what kind of role would I seek to pursue during a managerial task, and when reflecting I was brought to understand that I would have a great ability to be a leader by having the ability to see members potential assets for the team and task in hand and by leading them to enhance their skills gradually by making them feel comfortable with what their achieving.

REFLECTION:

After the past experiences I started to realize that I might want to develop my leadership skills in my team, but as time progressed we noticed that Shirley took the role of leader right from the start by organizing schedules and giving out tasks to perform on a weekly basis and found myself in the situation to comply with her demands as she was very organized and everyone had the opportunity to collect and deliver any ideas that may be relevant for the case study. Also during the lectures I learned all the different styles that a manager can adopt or operate on, that can bring a wide variety of solutions.

THEORY INTO PRACTICE:

The cross cultural factors affected form this session and that concerned me the most were:

* A leader was found and had to deal with the of being a team worker

* Time constraint arose and found ourselves to rush through some of the work

* First sessions were formal and members from the group felt discomfort

* We need to establish a greater bond to flow in an organized way

* Different styles for expressing their ideas

* Different approaches to understanding and exploring ideas

WEEK 5

DATE: 26th of October 2009

EVENT/ACTIVITY: On Monday we had our third group meeting. On Tuesday, IMC class, where we had a guest lecture about International Careers and Development.

EXPERIENCE:

This group meeting took place at the same time and place as organized and decided, were it was productive and we kept on expanding our ideas and development for the project and started to become more organized and coherent.

WEEK 5

DATE: 29th of November 2009

EVENT/ACTIVITY: On Monday we had our forth group and on Tuesday's we had IMC class where we discussed “Problem analysis and decision making in an international environment”.

EXPERIENCE:

As every Monday we had our usual group meeting in the library the difference this week was that I was the only one to show up on time. During this class we discussed a case study “Pinpoint executive toys; the culture is important and can be said to be structured!” where we should put ourselves as managers of this organization and make some crucial decisions. While we were discussing the case study and try to find a solution to all the questions we found ourselves to work perfectly and in harmony together.

FEELINGS:

The guest lecturer gave me more insight into what my future plans would be and preferably were I would like to take my knowledge and skills into which sector of work, this gave me an insight into thinking more deeply into where I would like to work, where to stay in England or go abroad, working in an organization or company, and also what sectors would I be interested in.

THOUGHTS:

This week I was slightly de-motivated as I felt that I had to catch up with other modules and the work started to load on me, therefore I noticed that I was lacking towards generating new ideas and completing tasks, but I found the will and strength to study more, which showed I was gaining more insight into enhancing my personal skills as I wanted to achieve greater benefits to apply in future jobs or personal situation that might need particular assistance with.

REFLECTION:

During the week I completed the homework given to us towards assessing cultural orientation for tools used as coaching , relevant to towards working with others and respecting each member of a team by meeting ethical guidelines and understanding how culture works in different ways differently according to an individual's past.

Culture influences behavior and is a process about people or events how they are carried out, looking towards cultural norms (acceptable behavior) shared in a group, selective perception, stereotypes expectations, social dominance and different attributes for reaction.

THEORY INTO PRACTICE:

The cross cultural factors affected form this session and that concerned me the most were:

* Motivation in studying

* Cross cultural differences between members ways of doing and achieving

* Future prospects of life are confused

* Affected by the sense of disorientation towards which job to seek for

WEEK 6

DATE: 5th of November

EVENT/ACTIVITY: Problems analysis and decision making in an international environment, for a general understanding of the structure of problems and the different types that are likely to be encountered as a manager, also the ability to select basic problem skills to solve the issues by understanding the key decision making concepts described to us during the lecture. Furthermore with all to mind use the ability to apply these basic steps and decision making tools to a variety of situations that can come into context for an international manager.

EXPERIENCE:

Main experience during the week passed was made through our group meeting were we all realized that time constraint had come upon us, we only has 2 more weeks before the mock presentation and really need to concluded the case study and our case analysis, therefore we were encountering some problems between dividing the work accordingly to finish.

Also during the lecture numerous things were said about problem solving which gave and skills needed to accomplish goals, mainly to be organized and structured well to function under all types of circumstances, being able to be prepared to overcome any potential hazards that may arise, and as an effective manager to be able to display solve as best as possible all concerning issues.

FEELINGS:

I felt very frustrated that this week the group was lacking towards organization and motivation as we only had a basic 2 weeks to finish the tasks and present our findings to the rest of the class and our professors, I was starting to also get worried that we wouldn't be able to finish on time, therefore affecting our overall performance and creating discomfort.

THOUGHTS:

I was trying to find an alternative route towards making the group more motivated and I sent an email to everyone trying to raise moral and making sure everyone tried to finish and refine their work for the following week to be able to prepare their part accordingly, of which I had to cover question 2, towards an action plan that Bert should adopt in order to improve his team.

REFLECTION:

I began understanding the role of an international manager as weeks progressed and that they have to deal with numerous factors towards cultures, problems, acting on their own feet and being responsible for actions that occur within teams that can affect the organization. The international manager is said to involve a business to be global and interact cross-culturally in the working environment.

THEORY INTO PRACTICE:

The cross cultural factors affected form this session and that concerned me the most were:

* Time management (time left for case study completion)

* De-motivation of the group

* Leader was lacking in performance

* Overall group performance declined

* General disagreement of decisions to be made to finalize work

WEEK 7

DATE: 10.11.2009

EVENT/ACTIVITY: IMC with Joanna on Tuesday afternoon.

EXPERIENCE:

Learning communication process and defining cross cultural issues, also to understand how languages affects communication and how different cultures use styles of verbal communication and can encounter problems that might affect them form expressing themselves. This mainly looked at the effectiveness of team work with their cultural circle for quality, structure, effectiveness, consistency and any influences that might have affected the process positively or negatively within the time spent.

FEELINGS:

I was very nervous this week as we only had one more week before the actual mock presentation and I stared to worry as the case study analysis wasn't 100% fully finished and I have never been confident in presenting in front of a crowd because I get the feeling that I am not in control of the situation at times and become very nervous and begin to read of my notes. Overall I was trying to overcome this fear and try to develop this skill that will definitely be required to be an international manager to express ideas to your department or teams that need your leadership and guidance.

THOUGHTS:

Many thoughts ran through my head if I could ever fulfill the job of expressing myself with comfort and coherences to bring my point towards the concerning members that will be listening to our presentation.

REFLECTION:

During the week I began understanding the meaning of presenting and making yourself understood by others by bringing across your point, also began to see the stressful side of completing a task under time constraint and making sure that all members of the group were ready to perform on the day and a general flow of project should be obtained.

THEORY INTO PRACTICE:

The cross cultural factors affected form this session and that concerned me the most were:

* Time constraint

* Presentation performance

* Overall performance yet again lacked in organization

* Cultures achievement affected the means in which presentation approach would be performed due to different styles and ways of doing.

* Different approaches to express their verbal and non-verbal communication

* Different ideologies and commencing process

WEEK 8

DATE: 16th of November 2009

EVENT/ACTIVITY: Last Group meeting before week 8 presentation

EXPERIENCE:

This was our final meeting of the group in order to put everything we did together and perform a few runs through of the presentation, but unfortunately Judith could not attend the meeting as she had another obligation to be present at, so we found ourselves to rehearse the trial version just between the 4 of us, so we would only be able to run through the project only before the actual mock day 30 minutes before.

FEELINGS:

Unfortunately I was still feeling nervous for the following day to present even though the group was prepared and ready with all the questions covered with a PowerPoint presentation and everything divided to each other needs and wants.

THOUGHTS:

General thoughts came through my mind on how to locate any potential faults or problems that may be encountered during the presentation, in order to be ready to deal with them and being able to continue with the fact of presenting our ideas to the peers.

REFLECTION:

As time passed by I began to realize that I was learning a great deal towards understanding each member's preferences and styles by considering their culture, overall working with a group were everyone has a task to perform effectively, also I started to be more organized and calm towards presenting my ideas. This was due to the fact of researching over a wide range of sources that helped me to understand that there are different ways of thinking and understanding and mainly each individual represents its own culture and means of achieving.

THEORY INTO PRACTICE:

The cross cultural factors affected form this session and that concerned me the most were:

· One member could not meet us because of another meeting

· Constraints on rehearsal (1 person missing)

· Time constraint

· Cross cultural barriers towards presenting (different styles that didn't match until we configured a way of flowing all together)

· Organization was still not perfect and things might be affected by this towards the style and performance that will be shown on the day

DATE: 17th of November 2009

EVENT/ACTIVITY: IMC Presentation day

EXPERIENCE:

I woke up this morning feeling confident about the day that lied ahead and got ready for the final meeting before the mock presentation and was glad to get this over and done with. Judith was present for a mock trial before the final mock, which made us all more comfortable for the presentation as we had a chance to go through the whole presentation all together.

FEELINGS:

Confidence grew in me and was ready to present, during the presentation we were dressed smartly and were organized with our power point presentation, we all carried our notes with us in case we forgot something, Shirley introduced the group and Konstantin followed by introducing and describing the case study with general cross cultural issues and possible alternatives, secondly me and Judith continued with the action plan towards the team, with methods to enhance the roles and methods to apply to be on top, thirdly Shirley continued with the action plan that Bert should adopt for himself to be effective and finally Moses finished by talking about the group performance and interaction through the following weeks working together.

THOUGHTS:

Overall I thought that the presentation went well, were we were organized, right to the point and motivated to perform accordingly to peers satisfaction. Although when presenting I was thinking of ways to achieve better performance for a smoother flow and more elegancy to be present.

REFLECTION:

A better understanding of the situation was understood, and I saw different perspectives of what can be achieved when a group works well together as many ideas are drafted and chosen carefully to answer the question fully and determine the circumstances it needs for completion.

THEORY INTO PRACTICE:

The cross cultural factors affected form this session and that concerned me the most were:

* Reading from notes made the presentation lack a small percentage but the mock presentation was there to get us ready for the final one

* A general feeling that we need more time for the assignment

* Final member was there for a final run through, felt like she was ready and fitted with our style so resulted in a good expectation

* Not many factors affected us as we were prepared for what was asked for us.

WEEK 9

DATE: 23h of November 2009

EVENT/ACTIVITY: Last Group meeting to apply any additional changes brought to hand form peers in order to develop and reorganize for the final presentation that would be marked at a value of 10 % but then we would also have to hand in a report of the case study outlining all factor covered n the presentation for week 12 that would carry an additional 20 % for the module.

EXPERIENCE:

On Monday we had the group meeting for final details for the presentation. After we read the final verdict on the how we presented the week before, and there were recommendations given: to not read from the notes and generally be more precise with details and reference in the direction of being more accurate as a whole.

We fixed and done what was asked from us and made sure it was more organized and precise for their taste. Overall the mock presentation was said to be good but can be improved with some more work.

FEELINGS:

I wasn't very happy as we had to do more work on the presentation and also collect all the information for the group report, which involved more work and preparation, so I was feeling a bit de-motivated and unwilling to do any work.

THOUGHTS:

Thoughts ran through my head to get on with all the work that I needed to do and comply with in order to pass all the modules, and said to myself as the course is giving me an opportunity to learn different aspects of life, and to deal with any concerning problems that might slow down the process of achieving

REFLECTION:

In general I started to realize that I was developing my ways of doing and being more mature about what I considered necessary to do and create a better trust within myself to be more confident in what I do and achieve in life.

THEORY INTO PRACTICE:

The cross cultural factors affected form this session and that concerned me the most were:

* De-motivation from myself due to overload of work

* Time constraint to all meet together to adjust the project

* Feel of discomfort from all team members

DATE: 24th of November 2009

EVENT/ACTIVITY:

Fast approaching final due date for final formal presentation and general work for other modules started to bring me down as I was feeling under the weather from all the work that had to be done and started to become anxious towards everything.

DATE: 26th of November 2009

EVENT/ACTIVITY:

Additional group meeting for IMC class and final rehearsal.

EXPERIENCE:

Final small adjustments made to the project in order for everyone to be happy for final piece to be presented after all the mistakes were corrected.

We found ourselves working hard on the assignment to try to adapt all changes and suggestions that were made, by making it more smooth flowing, precise dates for the action plans for a more credible outcome.

FEELINGS:

I was feeling very motivated as we were learning from our mistakes and correcting the work, we were adapting all changes and following guidelines to achieve the process as efficiently as possible.

THOUGHTS:

All the way through I was thinking how nice it was that the team was working so well together and making amazing progress, just to realize that team effort was great and work well under pressure and any uncertain outcomes that came upon us.

REFLECTION:

There is so much I learned from this particular experience that made me reflect on all the beneficial outcomes the module leaders decision to make us run through a mock presentation, by giving us the opportunity to recover our standards and overall it would give us a possibility to get a improved mark that would count towards our final degree that will determine a better job opportunity.

THEORY INTO PRACTICE:

The cross cultural factors affected form this session and that concerned me the most were:

* Decision-making process for final piece

* Understanding of was asked (unclear, time to reflect)

* Time-management always repeated but present (tight schedule)

* Finding time to meet together to finish the assignment

WEEK 10

DATE: 1st of December 2009

EVENT/ACTIVITY:

IMC group presentation (FINAL!)

EXPERIENCE:

In the afternoon we had the IMC group presentation, we were to present at 3.30 and where the second group to present. We were moved to another room as the other one the computer facilities stopped working so we met in the post graduate building were we had to present in the room chosen by our module leader.

FEELINGS:

We were all prepared and dressed accordingly (suits), we had notes for peers and presented second and was feeling a little bit nervous and tired and generally happy to finish with the task.

THOUGHTS:

Final thoughts came into mind that we developed so much during the time passed together as a group intellectually and managed to work together effectively and tried to cover as best as we could the recommendations given to us. Although unexpectedly Shirley started to complain all of a sudden that she had done more work than the other members and she was not happy with the situation, and never said anything before this day, which obviously created nervousness between the group and distress.

REFLECTION:

I learned so much over the last few weeks in ways towards presenting and understanding other people's points of view, visually seeing other people present and elaborate your understanding of their ideas they try to carry out, looking at the positive aspect that I could learn from them to one day use for a purpose.

THEORY INTO PRACTICE:

The cross cultural factors affected form this session and that concerned me the most were:

* Shirley started to complain al of a sudden that she did more work than the others in the group

* This factor created discomfort within the group

* Everyone started to get irritated and tension rose

WEEK 11

DATE: 9th of December

EVENT/ACTIVITY:

Completion of group report, finalized and binded for hand in date of week 12

EXPERIENCE:

As a group we all sat down and complete the report, each and every one of us had their part to cover, after that was done, we put together the whole piece and made sure it flowed and covered all that was asked from us.

Finally we went through it a few times, referenced all the work and ideas and binded the report so it would look tidy for our module leader to read and examine.

FEELINGS:

Happiness we managed to cover all the points and complete the report all together.

THOUGHTS:

So happy to finally complete a part for the module to show our understanding of the case study and work as a team

REFLECTION:

Finally I learned so much from my team on how to study, extract most important information and gain knowledge of from others towards diverse ways of doing.

THEORY INTO PRACTICE:

No cross cultural issues occurred as we were all motivated to finish and complete the report to hand in.

 

Meeting duration: 2 hours

Tentative Action Plan

Meeting No

Date

Topics (T)to be discussed

1

Monday, Oct 12th

● T1: Case study situational analysis and cross cultural analysis (what and why)

2

Thursday, Oct 22nd

(Heading Campus library, 4:15pm)

● Review of T1

● T2: Action plan for Bert's group (what and why)

3

Monday, Oct 26th

● T3: Acton plan for Bert (what and why)

4

Monday, Nov 2nd

● Group to discuss T4: group account and cross cultural issues

● T1-T4 Review

● Review group leader collation of T1-T4 into a group report

● Presentation topics assigned individually:

Presentation intro and T1 - Eugenio

T2 - Judith / Konstantin

T3/ report conclusion - Shirley

T4 / presentation conclusion - Moses

5

Monday, Nov 9th

(Moses unable to attend meeting)

● Review group report

- Each topics to be reduced to 1.5/2 pages and additional appendices to be provided*

- Each section owner to review his/her topic and link current lectures notes/readings to particular section of report*

- Each team member to provide 2/3 sentences for introduction and conclusion of group report

● Start working on presentation slides

- Decide layout and structure of presentation

- Each member to create his/her own section slides

- Final presentation to be collated by Konstantin

- Team to e-mail individual slides to Konstantin on Friday, Nov 13th.

- Konstantin to e-mail team complete presentation on Saturday, Nov 14th

6

Monday, Nov 16th

(Judith unable to attend)

● Review presentation slides and make any final amendments

● Practice group presentation

DEADLINE

Tuesday, Nov 17th

Group presentation (non-assessed)

7

Monday, Nov 23rd

Headington library, 3pm

● Review slides and report

Moses to provide additional information for topic 4

8

Tuesday, Nov 24th

11:30am

● Review slides and report - incorporate peer/professors' comments

9

Tuesday, Dec 1st

Wheatley library, 1pm

● Practice group presentation

● Final amendments/changes to slides and report

DEADLIINE

Tuesday, Dec 1st

Group presentation (assessed)

10

Tuesday, Dec 8th

● Group final changes/updates to report

DEADLIINE

Tuesday, Dec 15th

Group report official submission deadline

APPENDIX C

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