There have been marked growths in international business around the globe, with barriers in trade receding and business opportunities being spotted abroad. Globalization has enhanced the growth of international business expanding all the more requiring effective and competent international management for them to meet the set objectives and goals (Adekola & Sergi 2007). International management, however, covers a wide area of special interest core to the performance of the business (Kelly 2009). Attitudes towards leisure differ from one country to another, and what is acceptable in one may be strictly unacceptable in the country as outlined by Kelly (2009). Comparing leisure attitudes within the business environments of the involved countries is of great essence to the setting up of appropriate leisure programs within business organizations under international management.
Comparison of Leisure attitudes
Leisure attitudes in the United States and Switzerland are different from each other based on variations in a number of factors (Chan et al 2009). These include social-cultural as well as economic and political factors which have the influence on the way people in the respective countries perceive leisure. As a result, employees of the same multinational company operating within the two countries would have differing preferences concerning leisure. In consequence, leisure programs and activities would be variable as well as the time at which they are offered and allocated. The United States can be said to have the world's most competitive working environments with employees seriously committed to performing their assigned duties at work (Lussier 2009). Competition among the highly qualified working staff has helped raise business performance with many employees expressing satisfaction with their work. Research on work, values and attitudes related to leisure has revealed differences among the working population based on generational dissimilarities: this is between the "baby boomers, generation xers and millenials" as reported by Science Daily (2010). Many employees of the younger generations born in the 1970s and 80s prefer work that is not strenuous which offers more vacation and leisure time (Chan et al, 2009). With this information in mind, managers have the onus to make the working environment more amiable to all. Comparisons among all the working groups indicate employees are less likely to work overtime and many do not view work as most central to their lives (Lussier 2009). Workers in the United States, on the whole, prefer to have leisure time structured within the organizations programs, particularly as part of the management efforts geared towards reducing work-related stress. The Swiss have a good reputation of being hard and efficient workers.
Employees within the country have adopted efficient work ethics that further aid the managing teams in planning, organizing, controlling and effectively directing international business towards better performance levels. They, however, "enjoy their leisure time as much as anyone else" (swissworld.org 2011); a fact that has to be considered by any international manager. Surveys carried out in the recent past have indicated the country's employees preferring more leisure time to be spent with their family and friends. At work, some of the employees tend to spend the time helping out with work areas not related to their professional duties in the business organization and participating in public and social services. Many of the Swiss also love the outdoor sports especially the grueling and physical exercises including mountain climbing and cycling (myswitzerland.com 2011). Workers around the globe have great positive attitudes towards leisure, a feature also perceived from the two countries in question. Similarities are that employees from both nations are hard working and perform well on their jobs but at the same time love to have some time to for pleasurable leisure activities other than their work as part of their relaxation. As much as work provides the much needed financial resources through salary, employees from both United States and Switzerland consider work as less pivotal in their lives. Differences in the leisure attitudes are depicted by the preferred ways of passing the time allocated to leisure. These differences come out as a result of cultural variations at the international level among the two countries which are essential factors that international managers have to incorporate when setting up appropriate leisure programs and their administration (Kelly 2009). Generational differences among the baby boomers and the subsequent generations may be important social-cultural elements to consider for the international manager in the US. On the contrary, this would not be applicable in Switzerland, and any ethnocentric approaches of duplicating the same strategy would lead to possible failure of such programs. Leisure activities desired to differ as is the specific time to be allocated for them. Whereas the employees within the Scandinavian country may prefer to have outdoor activities, their counterparts in the US are likely to prefer indoor activities. In such case, the US managers would have to allocate resources to leisure activities within the business premises such as indoor gyms (Hopwood, Skinner, & Kitchin 2010).
Implications for international management
International managers in the two countries have the responsibility of ensuring their respective international businesses prosper under the prevailing environment and cultural attitudes (Hitt, Ireland, & Hoskisson 2009). With this in mind, all factors essential to management strategies directed at enhancing employee performance will have to be considered (Faria & Guedes 2005). Managers have in the recent times greatly accepted the huge role played by leisure time in boosting working morale among employees who find relaxation from leisure activities they participate in. integral to meeting the goals set for the international businesses, managers need to enhance work satisfaction among the staff making planning of leisure within the organizations programs an essential management strategy(Newlands & Hopper, 2009). This also goes a long way in establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationships within the business organization, and guaranteeing effective communication and sharing of experiences among employees from various departments that do not come into direct interaction (Lashley & Lee-ross 2003). In the United States, the international managers would have to factor in the variations that do exist from generational differences among the employees in planning leisure time and activities within the organization (Punnett 2011). This may not be such a h3 factor to consider in Switzerland as little differences are shown to exist among the employees as a result of cross-cutting cultural attitudes towards leisure among all employees. Approach to international management in relation to planning the leisure programs would require in-depth consideration of cultural differences. A number of models can be used for these exercise such as the model fronted by Geert Hofstede (Distefano & Maznevski 2003). Organizing of resources for setting up the most suitable activities and programs for relaxation, and subsequent directions to guide the programs would have to be based on the prevailing cultural attitudes towards leisure as well as other important factors such as the organization's capability to meet the same.
Leisure programs are important activities set within any business organization focused towards enhancing individual and collective performances of employees (Jackson & Mathis 2007). Attitudes towards leisure differ from place to place and country to country based on cultural variation. International management has to incorporate these cultural differences to ensure programs set within the business organizations are acceptable to the employees and go towards enhancing the overall performance and meeting set goals and objectives. Of note is the fact that international managers would have to plan on the acquiring of an organization of resources to be directed towards the setting up of the leisure programs, based on attitudes towards the same by employees in the respective countries. As seen by comparisons between the two countries, programs designed for Switzerland may not necessarily be applicable in the US and vice versa. Ignoring the difference in cultural attitudes between the involved countries would be the recipe for failure in their management.