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Important Aspects Of International Management Today

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    In today’s world and society, international management can be difficult and complex to tread through. Important aspects in international management today mean that effective and successful international management does not mean simply managing and working across various countries. Just as working across different locations is important in international management, understanding and adapting to different business environments and cultures is just as important. With so many different business environments and cultures in today’s world, it can be difficult for a global manager to effectively develop a plan to manage internationally. When managing across different businesses and cultures, many difficulties could develop. Below are some of the most prevalent problems that arise for global managers when strategizing across various environments and situations.

    The first problem faced by a manager working across different environments is the potential differences in language. Although many places across the world will use English as a language, this cannot be assumed. If there are any barriers in communication between partners or employees, these must be addressed. If the origin country’s language is not seen as a language that can be used in other locations, management must come up with a method to either adapt by learning the language, or come up with a way to integrate a plan with that language (Kozenkow). Without the proper plan towards potential language barriers, effective international management is near impossible. Management must try to put themselves in the scenario and try to change strategies to work with different languages.

    The second problem faced by a manager working across different environments is the different types of cultures that are seen across the global environment. When dealing with different cultures, there are many things to consider that could produce some challenges to a global manager. (Kozenkow). First off, depending on the culture, how you interact with partners or employees from different cultures could have different meaning to them depending on the culture. For example, a greeting or welcome in one culture could be interpreted completely different in another culture. Gestures or greetings that may be ok in the manager’s culture may be taken negatively or differently in an international culture. That is why it makes the cultural environment across the world so difficult to navigate for international managers. The other challenge with navigating across cultures is in getting a company strategy that can align with different cultures. An effective strategy starts at the top in management and then can be implemented on employees.

    Another challenge faced by a manager working across different environments are the business attitudes faced when working internationally. The business attitudes of a country or environment, much like cultures, vary from situation and place. What is the business attitude of an environment? The business attitude is how a business reacts to various situations in the market depending on the environment or culture. (Kozenkow). The problem with trying to adapt your management strategy to different business attitudes is that trying to read or predict how different environments act is a difficult task. This problem like culture, is complex in the sense that every situation is different. While working in the U.S. or a country similar to the home country, it is easy to know how businesses would react to different situations. Across different environments however, this situation becomes much more complex.

    The next challenge faced by a manager working across different environments are the difference between countries or environment depending on their technical development. Depending on the country or environment, the way a company can market or sell their product varies (Kozenkow). Working in a more developed country as opposed to a less developed country differs in many aspects. As a global manager, you have to be able to know the strengths and weaknesses of the environment you are working in as a strategy used in the U.S. would not necessarily work in a country that does not have the same technical capabilities. If that company for instance, does not have much internet access, you must develop a strategy that can take that in account. These small things are aspects that make global management so difficult when working across cultures and environments.

    Foreign laws and regulations also prove to bring challenges to international management. Depending on where you are working your company internationally, different laws and regulations can affect how you set your international business structure up. Businesses and companies often get into trouble when international laws and regulations are not taken into account or ignored (Reynolds). Lastly global managers must also account for environmental issues in the countries or environments they are working in. Being knowledgeable about a country’s environment that you are working in is important in making sure your processes do not affect that country’s environment and pollute or destroy their natural environment (Reynolds).

    So with so many problems and difficulties, how can an international manager effectively manage across so many different cultures? The solution is in the MBI model or Mapping, Bridging, and Integrating. What is the MBI model used for? The MBI model in short, provides interpersonal skills along with an outline for a global manager trying to strategize internationally. The basis of the MBI model stems from building a diverse team. This is important towards effective international business as your company could reach further across countries and cultures in order to advance your company.

    Second in the basis of the MBI model is performance. When structured correctly, a highly diverse group or team can bring more efficient performance and bring aspects to innovation that would not necessarily exist in a homogeneous or less diverse team. In a more diverse team, there is more creativity encouraged as well as more discussion into ideas. This in turn leads to a more efficient workplace. Lastly in the basis of the MBI model is managing interaction on the team or group. In order to effectively manage interaction with diverse teams, teams should strive to become “creators”. This is where diverse teams are able to take their differences and build on those differences in order to achieve goals and productivity. Many teams however, choose to just ignore the differences and try to work without accounting for differences.

    Once the basis of the MBI model has been understood, the correct steps for a global manager in eliminating problems across countries and cultures can be started. The first step in the MBI model is mapping. Mapping is used in order to have a solid understanding of differences faced when working internationally across various cultures. What is mapping? Mapping is the fundamental method of characterizing different people and trying to see differences and similarities that can then be used towards efficiency and performance. When used effectively, mapping takes data and facts used to compare them with the data and facts of other groups and individuals. Mapping, unlike stereotyping, can use information on tendencies from groups, cultures, and locations to gain insight into the different environments and cultures. Mapping can almost be seen as a way to look at the perspective of a culture through that cultures eyes.

    Highly effective mapping is not easy and takes a lot of time and commitment to the process. However, mapping gets more important as the task gains importance as well as more types of groups involved. Mapping is all about looking at different perspectives of different situations. How can mapping help to solve the many problems encountered with managing internationally? Because mapping creates frameworks that can compare different cultures, a global manager struggling to adapt their strategy could turn to this framework in mapping to look into the perspective of other cultures.

    The second step to the MBI model that can be used to solve the problems in managing internationally or across different cultures is Bridging. Bridging in detail is understanding differences in cultures with communication. Bridging is being able to understand those differences in order to help a flow of ideas among people and teams. In communication with different cultures people should be able to interpret what a person may be trying to say when they are in a group or in a different culture. Interpreting the write meaning can prove to be complicated and if not interpreted correctly, could lead to miscommunication. The three important aspects of Bridging are preparing, decentering, and re-centering. Preparing is important as it is the basis and beginning part of effective communication. The two attitudes necessary are motivation and confidence. Having these two attitudes help to set up effective and open minded communication. Motivation provides the push to try to understand cultural barriers. Confidence is what gives the belief that those barriers can be understood and pushed through.

    The next important aspect of Bridging is decentering. This is involves being more open-minded in your thinking and trying to move away from you center or natural thinking. The key in decentering is to have empathy. This way you can almost see into another person’s perspective or a group’s culture. Lastly in Bridging comes recentering. Recentering involves creating a common medium and agreeing on common rules between different cultures or people. When different groups or people from different cultures are able to come to an agreement on differences, they are then able to move forward and progress in order to work together. This is especially important when it comes to diverse and multicultural teams.

    What Bridging brings to struggling managers that are working internationally is the crucial second step in the MBI process. Many of the problems faced by international managers have to do with cultural barriers, business attitudes, or technological differences. With bridging, a team that deals with these problems can pinpoint and try to come to a common ground on differences between them and try to communicate those differences across team discussion. This step, although simple and seemingly easy, can solve many of the problems seen with international management.

    Last in the MBI model that can be used to solve the problems in managing internationally or across different cultures is Integration. In integration, differences are understood and used to build upon. Integration first relies upon generating participation. In order to take those differences between teams and cultures, and build upon them, team participation is crucial in multicultural teams. In generating participation, a manager can see from the perspective of the multicultural team. With active discussion there is bound to be disagreement. However, this disagreement can be used in a positive way by resolving those disagreements and used to try to understand the differences. Once those disagreements are solved, a manager can use ideas that have been created in discussion, and build upon those ideas towards innovation and advancement of processes.

    When used correctly together, Mapping, Bridging, and Integrating provide for a great foundation and method to tread through difficult international situations for managers. Each step provides a basis to build onto the next and in total is able to bring value to differences. This value in turn is able to create high performance in an organization or team. To use as an example of a struggling company that was able to turn things around by expanding internationally and diversifying is Renault. In 2017, Renault was able to become the largest carmaker in the world with their partnership or alliance with Mitsubishi. Renault was a giant in the French automotive world, however they were not able to successfully market their products to the U.S. and other large markets. Their cars were most of the time only able to sell in France or closely neighboring countries. The alliance between Renault and Mitsubishi began in 1999 and has since been revised to the Alliance 2022 plan which in 2017, was able to jump start the growth of Nissan and Renault to the top (Mihaltianu).

    Because they are able bring together a company from Japan, as well as a company from France, Nissan and Renault were able to implement a plan that mirrors the MBI plan. Management had to adjust to company quarters that were cross-cultured and very diverse. How does this mirror the MBI plan? Nissan and Renault had to develop a plan that began with where they were marketing their products. Gaining information about the areas or cultures that they would be marketing or selling their product is the first step in the MBI system in Mapping. Bridging would be the management between Nissan and Renault going over their differences, and trying to come to a common ground and understand the differences that exist. Lastly Renault and Nissan would integrate. Management would take the differences that are realized between the companies, and try to build on those differences.

    As seen in the Renault and Nissan alliance, an effective international plan can prove to be beneficial towards company growth and advancement. Expanding and partnering alone was not the sole reason for the success of the Renault and Nissan alliance. An effective management plan towards the alliance was just as important as the alliance. Without a proper plan towards international business, a partnership or alliance is not guaranteed to work out. For example, Google is a vastly successful giant in the United States. However Google’s search engine for China was not able to work out and ultimately Google pulled out of the Chinese market. The opportunity lost in such a large market is an example of how a plan like the MBI plan could be necessary towards difficult multicultural situations. Google failed in China because the differences in cultures. In China, censorship plays a huge part in the internet. Google failed to conform to those differences and tried to bring Chinese traffic towards the uncensored Hong Kong google version (Waddell).

    This move shut down Google in China within a short period of time, and further emphasized the importance of the MBI system. The main challenge faced is the difference in cultures, and in China, Google did not take into enough importance the Chinese censorship concern. Another example of a major U.S. company that did not have a proper plan in a certain environment is Walmart. Walmart tried to enter into the South Korean market but failed in doing so. This was in part because they did not understand the cultural differences in South Korea. People in South Korea tended to enjoy small packages as well as shopping in a variety of small, local stores instead of large stores. This lack of attention to this detail led to the failure of Walmart in the South Korean market. Had Walmart implemented a plan like the MBI plan, they would have been able to see the tendencies and statistics on the cultures and environments of South Korea. That would have been part of the mapping step which would have sparked a potentially successful market into South Korea.

    These two example of huge, successful companies in the U.S. show that it is not always easy to navigate the international market. That is where management is most important, specifically global management. With a planned in advance system, a company can ease some of the difficulties that are faced when working and managing different cultures and highly diverse workgroups. In conclusion, for a global manager to successfully navigate through difficult environments and situations, they must have a plan towards changing company ways towards diversification. With the various problems faced by global managers including language and cultural differences, business attitudes, and technical or development differences, managers could struggle to get a company going efficiently without the proper plan. The MBI plan although simple, provides an effective plan that can help to eliminate and solve many of these problems. Mapping solves much of the uncertainty faced when dealing with cultural and language barriers. Bridging helps to take the information from mapping and use it towards the overall plan. Integrating sums everything you have and puts the whole plan into perspective.

    Works Cited

    1. “10 Successful American Businesses That Have Failed Overseas.” International Business Degree Guide, 12 Sept. 2013, www.internationalbusinessguide.org/10-successful-american-businesses-that-have-failed-overseas/.
    2. Mihaltianu, Adrian. “How Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Became the No. 1 Carmaker in the World.” Drive Mag, 2 Feb. 2018, drivemag.com/news/how-renault-nissan-mitsubishi-became-the-no-1-carmaker-in-the-world.
    3. Waddell, Kaveh. “Why Google Quit China-and Why It’s Heading Back.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 19 Jan. 2016, www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/01/why-google-quit-china-and-why-its-heading-back/424482/.
    4. Kozenkow, Judit. “International Management Challenges.” Small Business – Chron.com, Chron.com, 26 Oct. 2016, smallbusiness.chron.com/international-management-challenges-56168.html.
    5. “11 Biggest Challenges of International Business in 2017 Hult Blog.” Hult Blog, 11 Oct. 2018, www.hult.edu/blog/international-business-challenges/.
    6. Lane, Henry W., and Martha L. Maznevski. International Management Behavior Global and Sustainable Leadership. Cambridge University Pres

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