Global managers' perceptions of cultural competence
To work effectively in the global business arena, managers need a strong set of intercultural management skills. When dealing with clients, co-workers, and other stakeholders at home or abroad, managers with cross-cultural competence have a distinct competitive advantage in the multicultural marketplace. Although generally accepted as a valuable asset for doing business, cross-cultural competence defies easy definition. This study attempts to conceptualize the complex term from the practitioner's point of view. What does cross-cultural competence mean to global managers? From their perspective, which aspects of culture do business people need to understand? From the universe of cultural beliefs, values, attitudes, and country-specific information, what should an executive, with limited time, focus on to develop a basic level of cultural competence? This study asked Mexican managers what they needed to know about culture to do business with the U.S. In the process, they consistently identified certain basic components of cultural competence. Responses were surprisingly similar among the managers, indicating they had a clear picture of which cultural essentials were most important for global executives to learn. The results of the study reveal a working definition of cultural competence for global managers. This research also provides trainers and business educators a content framework for a short-term training program, based on the global managers' perceptions of cross-cultural competence.
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