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The international manager was synonymous with the expatriate manager. Most of the Companies devise more experienced cross border strategies. They increasingly were looking for manager who can cross borders in a single bound to do the implementing. It has prompted the call for a new type of cosmopolitan, multilingual, multifaceted manager's. Who can be operational across national borders.
The international managers has also been mean to the international elite manager's, drawn from the company's operations worldwide, portrayed as member of a global commando.
Most of the companies have been developed a international manager's, developed through frequent and multiple transfers, have often found that elite is different to integrate into the corporate mainstream necessarily capable of doing the work of more down to earth experts. Operating across national boundaries does not mean that the minds of international managers are also travelling across boundaries.
Lesson From Abroad
We know that managing cultural differences at an individual level comes from the experiences of expatriates. Many expatriates, international assignment turns out to be the most memorable career experience, but not always for the right reasons.
There is a chance to develop for greater challenges and responsibility and for personal and professional development. For most of the expatriate's managers, living in a foreign country produces constant and unexpected challenges to their ways of perceiving, acting and valuing things, making it difficult to correctly process and act on information.
The Process Of Cultural Adjustment
Cultural shock often used to describe this sense of frustration, is actually rather misleading. It tends to suggest a sudden impact with a single cause. More likely; it will result from a simmering reaction to a succession of minor events which are difficult to identify.
The cultural shock is a kind of “rite of passage” in international assignment; it signals that the expatriate's manager is becoming involved in new culture. Cultural shock provides the motivation, which may not have been there at earlier stages, to try to understand and come to grips with cultural differences.
Expatriate manager has a responsibility and power to invest with great deal of responsibility but having to depend on local management employees to achieve their objectives.
Managing Differences Abroad
Interpersonal skills are often identified as most important. The ability to form relationship helps the manager integrate into the social fabric of the host culture. Not only does this satisfies the needs for friendship and intimacy, but also facilitates the transfer of knowledge and improves coordination and control. Establishing relationship and building trust allows the expatriates manager to tap into critical information, thus reducing the stressful for both work and personal life.
Many companies acknowledge the importance of interpersonal skills; it is rarely seen as an important for selection. In practical, the expatriate's managers are primarily selected on their strong track of records in their country, that is, their reputation for getting the job done. Most companies send abroad those who have been identified as best for the purpose of career development.
Linguistic ability is also important as it helps to establish contact. However, having total command of the other language may not be feasible and may be less important than trying to develop a feel for what matters to others.
Motivation To Work And Live Abroad
Working in abroad has been shown to be a key ingredient to the successful adaption of the expatriates and their families.
Ability To Tolerate And Cope With Uncertainty
Ability to tolerate and cope with uncertainty and ambiguity is also needed. Action often has to be taken on the basis of insufficient, unreliable information.
The behavior and reaction of local employees may be unpredictable, so that the international manager has to be able to adapt almost instinctively.
Patience And Respect
It is crucial for the international executive is patience and respect. Patience is necessary, not only because different culture have different rhythms, but also because it takes time to learn the ropes. Expatriates have to avoid the temptation constantly to benchmark the new culture against the home culture, but must instead try to understand the local reason for the way things happen.
Respecting the behavior and ideas of others requires empathy. Some individuals find it easier to appreciate the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of others. Focused listening and non judgmental approach help manager to understand the other person's viewpoint.
Strong Sense Of Self
Expatriates do need a strong sense of self. This allows interaction with other person or other culture without fear of losing one's own identity. A strong ego also reinforces the ability to handle stress. This is particularly critical in an environment where the manager is deprived of familiar surroundings and social support.
Sense Of Humor
A sense of humor is one quality which is often cited but only in passing. Humor is actually important on coping mechanism and for relationship building. Retaining a sense of humor is seen as a way for manager to buffer the frustration, uncertainty and confusion they are bound to encounter in an unfamiliar environment.
The interpersonal skills are the form of relationship helps the manager integrate into the social fabric of the host culture. Establishing relationship and building trust allows the expatriate manager to tap into critical information, thus reducing the stressful uncertainties surrounding both work and personal skills.
Many companies acknowledge the importance of interpersonal skills, it is rarely seen a critical for selection. The expertise manager is primarily selected on their strong track records at home that are their reputation for getting the job one.
Motivation to work and live abroad has been shown to be a key ingredient to the successful adaption of the expatriates. The expatriates should be selected based on a genuine interest in other cultures and new experiences.
Many of the recommendation regarding the handling of cultural diversity often sound like common sense, more recognition, more trust, more respect, more communication, more patience, and more confrontation of differences. But the fact that the prescriptions are simple does not imply that they are easy. Recognizing and valuing cultural differences in fine in theory, but in practice remains elusive.
Many managers are concerned that managing cultural differences mean adapting to the other culture and finding them lost at sea, without point of hint.