The following report is related to the reflection of my recordings in logbook and self evaluation of my skills, attributes and competencies. This assignment gave me opportunity to use the expertise approach of our text book i.e. Understanding Cross-cultural Management by Marie-Joelle Browaeys & Roger Price. Moreover, with the help of some useful frameworks from the text book, I have shown results of my own progress since starting of International Business Management course which will definitely play an important role in my career as an International Manager. Since, to be in an international university, it includes study with colleagues and tutors from different ethnic origin. In this report, I’ve reflected that how the module “Management Competencies in Multicultural Environment” helped me in my realistic life. In addition, I have evaluated my mid-semester SMART development plan and presented a new SMART plan for next six months.
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Self Evaluation and Development:
The most fruitful self-evaluation depends on rigorous honesty; look at what you have accomplished and what are the remaining goals. Self Evaluation is the process to learn by the use of specified strategies to achieve academic goals on the basis of self-efficiency perceptions. It is a process to evaluate own characteristics and plan the tasks and goals to be achieved in a strategic manner.
I am the person who always set his goals and objectives according to the circumstances. At present, my achievement is to organize myself to play role of International Manager in a respected company. Since, I was studying about international management practice and cross cultural issues, I read a lot about managing with people of different ethnicities and acquiring capability to adapt their culture and effectively learn skills. But still I have some areas which I need to develop to be a successful individual (hopefully manager) in my future career.
According to my recordings in my logbook of the six weeks, my aim was to do progress in many areas in which I was lacking. So I evaluated myself with different perceptions following the mid-semester SMART development plan. I realised that my research skills were not up to standards and for that during the last six weeks I used all the feasible resources offered by the Sheffield Hallam University. In addition, I took help of my international consultancy project manager and some of my classmates who had good quality of research skills in them.
In my opinion, this particular report was a big challenging task because exploring own strength and weakness is not as easy as it appears to be. But while working on this report I realised how important and useful is to recognise own strength and weakness. Therefore, now I would be doing self-evaluation with the help of academic theory and concepts which will help my personal development.
Self Evaluation of Attributes:
The attributes that came to my mind while self evaluation are positive “Can Do” attitude, flexibility, focus and good listener, quick learner etc. I assume that these are some important attributes to be presented for successful international manager or an entrepreneur in this globalised competitive market. “Students from international business schools are well prepared to work globally due to their linguistic ability, their willingness to study abroad, and their experience in working in multicultural teams”(Schneider and Barsoux, 2003)
- Positive “Can Do” Attitude:
The word flexible in itself has a great importance in context to international management practice irrespective of field of management. This characteristic is highly noticed during the interview sessions in MNE’s (Multinational Enterprises). This factor has given me great opportunity to be offered a post of permanent employee in my part-time job, as at the time of joining, I was recruited as a temporary employee through agency. This scenario i.e. during initial few weeks at my part time job while I was under training, quite number of times I was asked for working over time and I never use to refuse; my manager found that I am a quite flexible and quick learner regarding the work. In addition, I never use to avoid university seminar and lectures. This evidence proves the flexible nature of mine.
This characteristic has equal importance and demand in the international management practice. This “can do” attitude has ability to convert many difficult or impossible tasks into attainable with bit of effort. I got this positive attitude when I joined my father’s business of construction materials. This attribute has helped me to raise level of good will for my father’s firm. The evidence for this goes two years back when I completed first year of my bachelor degree in commerce. My father suffered from heavy financial losses in his business as he couldn’t complete one government project on time because of less availability of labour. Later, when I came to know about such losses occurred, I decided to join his firm and help him out to gain confidence and emerge as a better competitor in the market. I helped him out to fill tenders with my academic knowledge. This positive attitude helped my father’s firm to regain the position of best competitor as he got back the most desired tender during that course of time.
Self Evaluation of Skills:
The development of key skills is mere important to succeed in our course and further in employment. According to (Lasserre 2003) few skills among the important which I evaluated in the past six weeks and need to improve are as follows:
- Cultural knowledge:
First of all, the skill which I want to improve now in me is to present myself in more developed professional manner. This is because as now I am on the verge of finishing the course after which I will be applying for professional jobs. So for that reason I need to develop the way I approach to people and present myself. In addition, in this globalised competitive corporate world, I cannot take any risks by leaving a bad impression at the time of interview or meeting any professional individual.
At present due to large number of migration of professionals the MNC’s or MNE’s have got diversified employees belonging to different ethnicity and cultures. Therefore, it becomes essential to have knowledge about different cultures. Also, we need to accept the level of thinking and respect the cultural values in order to build a better relation with the people or colleagues from different regions of the world. The cultural knowledge gives a self confidence in a situation where an individual doesn’t know anybody else. It also gives an upper hand when doing business internationally or managing across cultures. During this course I learnt a lot about British Culture, Chinese Culture, and some parts from EU. The model of Professor Geert Hofstede (1980) developed a dimensional approach to cross cultural comparisons. He gave five dimensions namely:
Power Distance (high/low) [PDI]:
the factor distinguishes between the levels of hierarchy accepted by the society
the factor tells the importance of the individual in a group and the loyalty towards oneself.
tells about importance of work goals compared with personal goals.
Uncertainty Avoidance (high/low) [UAI]:
tells about degree of tolerance for uncertainty or instability.
Time Orientation [LTO]:
tells about the importance of virtues related to past and present or virtues related to future.
This particular skill is considered to be problem solving exercise. One should have negotiation skill as it is a process in which conflicts are considered, ideas are thought to be sorted out and solutions of some kind are found out. During the negotiation process the factor that really matters is the style of negotiation. The individual should be more explicit, exact and direct when dealing with range of issues. The style of negotiation should not cause frustration for both the parties. The framework Weiss (1994) drew shows in structured form of culturally approachable strategies that can be adopted according to the level of knowledge which each negotiator has with other culture.
is used to denote not only one person’s knowledge of other person’s culture, but also ability to apply this knowledge effectively to the interaction.
is used to denote a standard progression of behaviour expected by person concerned.
One should have the courage to face any tough challenges and situations with determination to complete the given challenge or task. This is also among one of the areas which I want to develop according to international standards. Determination is a protein which I would like to drink greedily each day to execute best of my attributes; same as I drink protein shake every day before leaving for gym to keep my body enriched with essential building blocks of matter.
Self Evaluation of Competencies:
The definition of the word competence based on the concept developed by Le Boterf (1994) “competence is developed by people through a combination of knowledge and know-how when combined via channels of communication and interaction help to form the desired level of ability to integrate which is called as competence”. It consists of all resources related to knowledge, skills and cognitive abilities.
The evaluation of some of the necessary competencies is as follows (Schneider and Barsoux 2003):
- Linguistic ability:
- Leadership and Motivation:
There should be understanding for the need for linguistic proficiency and linguistic sensitivity in international business, with particular attention to the dichotomy between explicit and implicit communications. The relationship between language formality and social context should be taken care off to the use or misuse of slang, humour and conversational taboos. In the last semester, once in a group work, I behaved a bit aggressive on two group members. The reason behind was that those group members were not serious about the final presentation and I didn’t wanted to get low marks just because of them. But then I realized that being a group leader it symbolises immaturity in me, rather I should try to motivate them. In my opinion, I can prevail over the linguistic barriers by making a strong bonding between my team and my colleagues of different cultures.
To be the best leader an individual should have certain features such as intelligence, dominance, self-confidence, level of energy and activity and task-relevant knowledge (Stogdill). One can be a leader without being a manager and vice versa. The leader duty is to ensure the success of the group or organization. According to the contingency theory, the performance of the employee working in organization is the combination of leadership style and task-related knowledge. Leaders can be of two types namely transformational leaders (use influence, motivate through emotion, focus on vision, communicates goals, futuristic, think globally) and transactional leaders (use control, focus on control, production, results, implements, current and think locally). Daniel Goleman’s six leadership styles:
- Coercive leaders: ‘Do what I tell you’ ( negative )
- Authoritative leaders: ‘Come with me’ (positive)
- Affiliative leaders: ‘People come first’ (positive)
- Democratic leaders: ‘What do you think?’ (positive)
- Pacesetting leaders: ‘Do as I do, now!’ (negative)
- Coaching leaders: ‘Try this’ (positive)
According to my future career plans whether I find a job in Retail Industry or Sales and Marketing I need to develop excellent communication skills in order to serve to the customer queries or needs satisfactorily. In this module I studied topic about “communicating across cultures” after which I concluded that if how enhancement of the communication skills can determine key to success. As we all know English is the only universal language and in order to improve my communication skills, I’ve decided to follow Jackson’s 3’C’s framework:
environment in which communication defines itself. Culture is also context in a way of thinking of activity and system of social organization. There are high context cultures which are implicit and low context cultures which are explicit (Hall and Hall, 1990). For example, In Swiss and Japanese meet, Swiss come directly to the point to be discussed for deal whereas Japanese don’t come directly to conclusion rather talk about life in general in order to get to know each other.
role of conduct in communication is related to what we see, how to behave and perform, and what should be the body language.
role of content is about the message that is received from the person we are communicating and how do we analyse it. It depends on our perception, motivation, ‘world view’, and all the senses
Review and Progress in Mid-Semester Smart Development Plan
Self evaluation until now hasn’t been an easy task to do as I had to consider my own attributes, skills and competencies to be a successful international manager in near future. During these six weeks the strengths and weakness that I have evaluated in myself are not achieved wholly. I had to improve my reading and research skills which I found that I have achieved my goal because in my second semester I had lots of pressure regarding my dissertation and other assignments which I have completed satisfactory. It also proved that I have improved a lot in my time management skills but only to a certain extent as I had to take extensions for the submission of two assignments. I had improved my communication skills as this time in second semester I participated in delivering all final module presentations and that too with the choice of my group leaders. But still I lack in the cultural skills, negotiating skills and leadership qualities.
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