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Harv Bus Rev. 1992 Sep-Oct;70(5):124-32.

What is a global manager?

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  • 1Harvard Business School.

Abstract

To compete around the world, a company needs three strategic capabilities: global-scale efficiency, local responsiveness, and the ability to leverage learning worldwide. No single "global" manager can build these capabilities. Rather, groups of specialized managers must integrate assets, resources, and people in diverse operating units. Such managers are made, not born. And how to make them is--and must be--the foremost question for corporate managers. Drawing on their research with leading transnational corporations, Christopher Bartlett and Sumantra Ghoshal identify three types of global managers. They also illustrate the responsibilities each position involves through a close look at the careers of successful executives: Leif Johansson of Electrolux, Howard Gottlieb of NEC, and Wahib Zaki of Procter & Gamble. The first type is the global business or product-division manager who must build worldwide efficiency and competitiveness. These managers recognize cross-border opportunities and risks as well as link activities and capabilities around the world. The second is the country manager whose unit is the building block for worldwide operations. These managers are responsible for understanding and interpreting local markets, building local resources and capabilities, and contributing to--and participating in--the development of global strategy. Finally, there are worldwide functional specialists--the managers whose potential is least appreciated in many traditional multinational companies. To transfer expertise from one unit to another and leverage learning, these managers must scan the company for good ideas and best practice, cross-pollinate among units, and champion innovations with worldwide applications.

PMID:
10121314
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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