International management is a more challenging task than management in any one individual country. My experience as an international student in Britain has given me important lessons in international human resource management. Indeed, international management starts at the individual level. This entails being able to cope with the situation in a new learning environment and the associated challenges. Clearly, his has greatly boosted my understanding of international management.
Effective international management starts with the manager himself. The manager must be able to manage his or her resources, in addition to managing his relationship with colleagues or workmates. The management process concern itself with better allocation of scarce productive resources for maximum benefits (Thomas, 2008, p142). This starts with effective and efficient management of the human resource. A good manager is able to overcome all the challenges that befall him/her.
This starts with overcoming personal challenges before tackling those of the organization. Being new in the United Kingdom, I faced several challenges that I had to overcome while I pursued my goals. I found myself in the midst foreigners. I could not clearly understand their language and hence I had no friends.
International studentship was a challenge to me in the first few weeks. The hardship of coping with the new environment and with new people offered me a taste of challenges associated with international management. International management requires that managers or the management advisors understand the cross-cultural aspects of the region or market in which the organization is operating (Armstrong, 2006 p156).
The manager must acquire enough knowledge regarding the cultural background of the organization. At the university, I had to learn how to cope with varied cultures. Every organization has its own unique organizational structure. Being new in an organization or institution, interaction becomes difficult as communication and its systems become a hindrance. For effective socialization, good communication network is necessary (Armstrong, 2006, p155).
The manager or the management consultant must ensure that he or she acquires good communication skills. International management requires the manager to have a wide range of knowledge. He or she should have acquired the necessary tools and skills required to effect positive change in the management. Just like in management, I encountered various problems concerning communication problems. I could not actively interact with others due to my poor understanding of their language. My participation in group work was minimal as my group mates could not comprehend my arguments.
Similarly, I could on several occasions fail to understand them due to their accent. Team work is very essential if a group or an organization is to achieve its objectives. The manager should initiate change and prepare the work force or those directly affected by the change efficiently before hey can accept it. For effective change to occur, all the stakeholders must be involved in the change process.
During the International Management Competency conference that I attended, the idea of team work developed. My group was composed of members from different countries. While carrying out the multi-national group meetings I observed that different countries have different customs, culture and traditions. Similarly, people differ in their beliefs, traditions and various ways of doing things (Towers, 2006, p169). Organizations operating in different background differ on the way they carry out their operations. They are also affected by the external environment in which they operate.
Different organizations operate in different environments. These environments are totally different from one another. The language used, cultural attitudes and beliefs differ in these environments. Human beings are usually resistant to change. In effecting the necessary human resources in an organization, managers should take precautions and the necessary considerations so that the changes made are not in conflict with the culture of the organization (Wilkinson, 1988, p.41).
To develop an effective International Management Competency program, the developer must therefore consider the Multi-cultural essential concepts and develop a program that is acceptable to all stakeholders. I found that for an organization to change, the change must begin with the individual. Individuals who are well considered during the change process become part of the change itself and hence are able to positively influence the rate of change of the organization in a positive manner.
The change individuals involved therefore becomes supporters of change rather than obstacles (Wilkinson, 1988 pp.40-56). Personal change brings about organizational change. I observed that when we were put into groups in order to prepare presentation, the quality of the groups findings were better than an individual’s findings. This was because there was exchange of ideas and personal differences depending on the cultural background were considered and differences taken care of.
Feelings should be taken at a personal level. Different persons experience different levels of feelings. Being new to the United Kingdom, I felt out of place. I felt inferior to other students as I could not communicate and talk fluently as they did. It was difficult for me to adapt to the new environment especially being one week late and having missed the socialization week. From the experience, I have discovered that for change to be realized a certain degree of socialization is necessary. In international management, when people socialize, they become close to each other and socialization level increases.
Consequently, a process of fluidity is enhanced. The socializing parties become partners and are able to direct their collective resources as well as dispel their fears and hence increasing their self- confidence. This makes positive change a process for all. Personal indication and clarity is very vital before someone embrace change in an organization (Legge, 2004, p78). A manager must take time to acquaint himself with elements of change so that he or she can be well prepared to deal with all obstacles in the process of change, and clearly understand the benefits that will result from the effected change (Legge, 2004, p 79).
The advocate for change must clearly demonstrate a sense of urgency in the need for change before engaging others. Those involved in the change process must be made aware on how the proposed change would assist the growth of the organization. From my group, I learned the need of being mindful of individual needs. There is need to connect speed with personal needs in order to speed up the process of change.
From the discussions based on the module sessions I developed an inner insight of the concept of change. Individuals are responsible for driving the process of change. As a student in international management, I was keen on human interactions and motivating factors in the learning environment. The group meetings that I attended assisted me reflect the role of a change leader. To effectively manage change in an organization, leaders need a well informed workforce to assist them effect and manage the changes initiated. The group to lead the changes must be carefully selected, and the group selected should represent all the departments in the organization (Allen & Morton, 1994, p 243).
The group should possess both emotional and intellectual capabilities required to effect the changes, the courage to execute the change and the urgency required to deal with difficulties which may arise during the execution period. The group chosen should be clear on the goals to be attained through change. The group should communicate the goals often so as not to loose focus. From our discussion group, I realized the importance of freedom in engaging everyone to air personal views regarding the change process and to spread the change process to all those who are directly or indirectly affected by the change. Group experience offered great lessons on human ability and great achievements that can be found from teamwork.
The leader of the change group must develop a vision and come up with a good strategy for executing the change. The leader and the change group must create awareness to the employees regarding the changes being effected (Allen & Morton, 1994, p242).
The vision must be in line with the organization culture. This is important, in order to ensure that the change does not go further than the needs and abilities of the change group. The change group should clearly communicate the vision to those it affects. The vision should be in line with the culture of the organization. The message should be simple for every stakeholder to understand so that they can understand how change will affect the way the work. The communication process should be effective and easy to understand so that the message is well perceived.
Theory into practice
In international management, the concept of cross cultural management cannot be over emphasized. Cross cultural problems arises in all organizations that employ workers from all walks of life. In all international organizations, employees come from different backgrounds. They have to meet, interact and understand each other in order to have a common agenda and be able to achieve the stated objectives of the organization. Different races and tribes have different ways of doing things (Everett, William & Yoshitaka, 2002 p3). Their ways of doing things are based on their cultural background. What is good in one culture is definitely not good to another culture.
During the group discussion, I realized that cultural background greatly influence the way people behave in work places and this can greatly impact on the way change in an organization is effected. Different countries have different laws and regulations. Some of the laws relates to the differences and preservations of their cultural diversities. As an expatriate of international management in the United Kingdom, the biggest challenge to any foreigner is communication. Good mastery of their language and the accent is a great achievement to any foreigner expatriate who wishes to operate in the United Kingdom.
The greatest challenge in operating on a cross-cultural environment is that in making any change, the cultural diversity of the entire population must be taken care of. United Kingdom comprises various communities with conflicting cultural ideologies. The change must be carried in a way that it does not affect any culture negatively. All those affected by the changes must be well informed of the consequences the change will bring to their lifestyles (Everett, William & Yoshitaka, 2002 p 4).
Due to cultural diversity in the United Kingdom, international expatriate should have a wide range of knowledge coupled with a good mastery of languages. United Kingdom is a cosmopolitan society and hence the expatriate has to empower him or herself with a wide knowledge of different cultures. What may seem good in one culture may be considered bad in other culture. In other cases, the some things may seem common in different cultures but they have different interpretations and meaning.
Professional development action plan
The overall objectives for the action plan are:-
To attain international management skills that is necessary to change the structure of my family business to international organization.
To make my family business the largest and well managed business in Georgia.
To effectively achieve the stated objective, there is a great need to improve on communication. Communication is very vital in management since every aspect of change in any organization must be accompanied by necessary and satisfying explanation. To be a good manager, one needs to be composed and self driven (Mead, 2005, p268). With adequate knowledge on management I will be able to handle people from across cultural back ground and be able to carry out business with them. With good knowledge about international relationship, I will be in a good state to transact internationally and hence expand our family business. Besides working on the family business, I would like to meet many people from various countries and backgrounds and apply the concept of internal relations in order to understand their business.
Sub-tasks/activities (to be completed by the year 2011)
To achieve the main tasks, there is a need to formulate subtasks that will reinforce the attainment of the major task. Besides taking my masters degree, I will take an initiative to study as many business and management oriented courses as possible. This will enable me to acquire a wide scope of the required business and management practices that will assist me to meet my objectives. The courses should take less than one year. They should run concurrently with the masters program. By the end of next year I need to have finished my masters program. Besides the master’s degree, I would also wish to have various certificates in human and managerial courses. These certificates will assist me to acquire necessary documents that are essential to a person who aspires to become international manager. The sub- tasks should be completed before I graduate for the master’s program.
In order to achieve the required change in my family business, the necessary resources must be provided. Of all the resources, human resource is of paramount importance. The process of employment training should take less than one year. Employees use other resources in certain proportions order to produce products. The human resource needs to be knowledgeable and possess the skills required to produce the expected results ( Lewis, 2005, p88).
The management is expected to conduct employees’ workshops which will assist them have collective understanding of the intended outcomes. To meet the main objective effectively, organizational change is required (Todd & Peiperl , 2002, p251).
The manager must explain in details why a change in organization structure is important. Equipped with the right knowledge, all the stakeholders will become agents of change. The change process will be spearheaded by a small group. The leading group should be well trained and only selected from the middle level managers in the organization who have the sense of urgency required to effect the change. The leading group should take care of individual differences as well as their cultural backgrounds. Views and recommendations from the entire work force should be put into consideration.
Success in an organization is determined by the productivity of the business. It can be assessed by constant evaluation to determine whether the expected level of out put is in line with the stated objectives. Similarly the change process requires constant evaluation to ascertain whether the tasks being carried out will lead to the attainment of the overall objective. The success of the business can also be evaluated on the concept of staff morale and their ability to produce the expected results (Eliyahu & Cox, 2004, p81).
This can be achieved through staff surveys to determine the effect of change and eliminate the fear of mistrust between the staff and the management. The overall objective is broken down to medium and short term objectives. The short term objectives consist of tasks that should be completed on monthly basis. The attainment of the short-term objectives should culminate to the attainment of the overall objective of the organization.
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