Descriptions of the International Companies
ABC Corporation is a multinational cooperation based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The corporation specializes in energy production and is the largest corporation in Latin America in terms of revenues. The company was founded in 1959, and has been a monopoly in the oil sector in Brazil since its establishment. In addition, the company is a significant producer of oil and has assets in oil refineries, tankers and distribution of oil products. ABC Corporation is considered a global leader with respect to the development and innovation of advanced technology in oil production, especially deep-water extraction technologies. ABC Corporation controls a considerable portion of energy and oil asset in 20 countries spread across various regions including Asia, Europe, America and Africa. The most important assets for ABC Corporation are its oil and petroleum reserves in Brazil. Nevertheless, the company is known for its numerous foreign acquisitions through purchasing and controlling a number of energy companies operating in other regions.
The commercial activities undertaken by ABC Corporation focus on searching and recovering natural gas and crude oil, operation of mid-stream and upstream infrastructure required for the delivery of natural gas and oil to the market, and manufacturing, marketing and distributing chemicals and oil products. ABC Corporation is a vertically integrated corporation. The company makes use of a decentralized organizational structure for its branches in various countries, whereby each branch functions with a high degree of autonomy. The foreign subsidiaries of ABC Corporation face competition from local companies; as a result, they have developed local production facilities that operate almost independently with minimal influence from the side of the headquarters. The internal culture of the company puts emphasis on personal relationships instead of formalized structures, and financial control instead of technical and operational details. The national subsidiaries of ABC Corporation have more strategic freedoms and operational independence from the headquarters; as a result, these national subsidiaries are perceived as portfolio of foreign investments instead of a single transnational business. The strategic decisions made at the headquarters are decentralized and characterized by simple and loose controls over their national subsidiaries, which focus on meeting the needs of local markets.
Summary Profiles of the Executives to Be Trained
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The executives to be trained belong to the branches of the ABC Corporation in the United States, China, Ukraine and Nigeria. It is imperative to note that the executives of these branch companies have diverse cultural and racial backgrounds. In addition, these executives have never been assigned with any international tasks owing the fact that ABC Corporation has recently taken over. This implies that they are likely to be sent on international assignments in countries across the globe that they are not familiar with, which underpins the development of the executive training program on managing diversity and effective cross cultural leadership and communication. All the executives of the various branches in the aforementioned countries have worked with the company for a relatively longer period, at least 15 years. In addition, it is imperative to note that these executives have joined their respective branches at lower management levels and gradually progressed to executive positions; this means that they have the knowledge and expertise required for addressing the needs and demands of their respective local markets. However, with the diverse acquisitions, ABC Corporation is positioning itself to benefit from diversity by reassigning its leaders to other branches in other countries for them to share their skills and expertise. Given their diversity in terms of nationality, race and culture, it is imperative for these executives to develop and enhance their cross-cultural communication skills and leadership competencies in order to perform effectively when accomplishing their international assignments, which is the focus of this training plan.
Goals and Objectives
The goal of this training program is to enhance executives skills, knowledge and cultural awareness for the benefit of the company through facilitating effective teamwork and creating a positive work environment characterized by recognizing and tolerating cultural differences among other people. This training program provides executives with the opportunity to learn more about the cultural diversity. Despite the fact that diversity training may not be successful in changing the beliefs that an individual has, it can help enhance his/her awareness, convey knowledge, and educate the executives regarding the ways of accepting differences among other members of the organization (Osland & Bird, 2006). This diversity training program seeks to bring out the best out of the executives while on their international assignments. In addition, through this diversity training program, ABC Corporation seeks to dismantle the barriers that these executives are likely to face when being in foreign countries. The barriers are associated with social, political and ethnic factors among others. It is vital to overcome them in order to facilitate teamwork and productivity. At the end of this training, the specific objectives to be achieved are divided into the following groups: training goals, individual goals and organizational goals.
Training goals focus on the actual training program. In this respect, this training has an objective of developing a safe and supportive environment for the discussion of difficult issues through engendering open communication (Barczak, McDonough, & Athanassiou, 2006). Individual goals place emphasis on the anticipated changes of the training participants (executives) associated with the training. The overall goal in this respect is to enhance the cross-cultural leadership competency of the executives. The specific objectives under this cluster include enhancing knowledge, practice skills, consciousness, personal change as well as social skills. With respect to knowledge, this training should disseminate information regarding the various cultures. With respect to practice skills, the objective of this training plan is to help the participants develop the skills required for them to work with people from diverse groups such as effective cross-cultural communication (Caligiuri, 2006). With respect to consciousness, the objective of this training program is to help the executives take part in the training to perceive diversity matters on a global level, and be able to draw linkages between social issues and the self (Caligiuri & Tarique, 2009). Essentially, this training seeks to help the executives to position diversity issues in the context of the large society. With respect to personal goals, this training has the objective of increasing self-awareness and self-knowledge of participants about diversity. This can be achieved by helping the executives change their individual beliefs related to diverse groups, increasing their awareness of their prejudices, and broadening their views regarding differences (Ferdman & Sagiv, 2012). With respect to social skills, this training has the objective of enhancing the ability of the participants to work with other people. In this respect, this training seeks to help the executives to enhance their communication, appreciation and collaboration skills. Communication skills focus on the ability to dialogue and converse about diversity (Holladay & Quinones, 2008). Appreciation skills focus on appreciating, expressing and celebrating differences among people and utilizing these differences in a positive way. Collaboration skills focus on helping the executives to get ready for work with people and accept people from different cultures (Connerley & Pedersen, 2005). With respect to organizational goals, this training has the objective of helping the ABC Corporation to be supportive of diversity and develop a harmonious work environment.
Major Topics and Activities
An understanding of global interaction is crucial for the success of multinational corporations in the present day globalized business environment. According to Kohonen (2005), employees of multinational corporations must be well informed about culture and have effective cross-cultural communication; this is especially important for leaders on foreign assignments. Therefore, the focus of this training is on developing the competencies of the leaders of the various branches in preparing them for assignments in foreign countries with unfamiliar cultures (Holladay & Quinones, 2008). There is a widespread agreement that, managers who succeed in the domestic environments are unlikely to achieve success in the global area. This can be attributed to the fact that the competencies needed for global leadership are different from the competencies required in the local context. According to Kohonen (2005), international executives are domestic executives albeit with a global mindset, which requires one to appreciate the attributes of various cultures. The major areas for this training focus on the competencies of global leadership, mental attributes required for global leaders, and behaviors of global leaders.
Competencies for global leaders. The competencies that the training will focus on include helping the executives develop their self-awareness, inquisitiveness and personal transformation. Self-awareness is related to an in-depth understanding of ones drives and needs, weaknesses, strengths and emotions as well as the ways of how one responds to problems, and causes of frustration (Kulik, Pepper, Roberson, & Parker, 2007). According to Mendenhall (2006), it is important for a person to be aware of his/her defensiveness prior to making a realistic assessment of the problem and the resources that are available to deal with the problem. In addition, self-insight plays a crucial role in enabling a person to listen to what others are saying, and their value of their contribution. Self-awareness is also associated with valuing diversity and openness. In addition, self-awareness also helps in enhancing social awareness and self-regulation; these are crucial social skills required for the developing and managing effective relationships (Ferdman & Sagiv, 2012; Fowler, 2006). In this respect, this training will develop the self-awareness competency through helping the executives enhance their self-confidence and personal mastery, exhibit confidence in their abilities and self-concept, encourage an understanding of their assumptions and values, and help to learn about their weaknesses and strengths (Kohonen, 2005).
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Inquisitiveness is the second major topic of focus for the training program. In this respect, this training seeks to help the executives develop curiosity and show concern for context. Inquisitiveness requires global leaders to look for expertise and knowledge beyond borders and use diverse sources of information (Kulik et al., 2007). In this regard, the training will focus on encouraging the executives to seek feedback as well as information for purposes of personal development. Inquisitiveness also plays a crucial role in the acquisition of knowledge regarding the ways of how culture influences behavior (Connerley & Pedersen, 2005). In addition, inquisitiveness also has an impact on the willingness and motivation of a person to confront unfamiliar situations, which is somewhat consistent with international assignments to countries with unfamiliar cultures (Mendenhall, 2006).
Personal transformation deals with a continuing commitment to develop ones skills and knowledge and stay updated (Ng, Van Dyne, & Ang, 2009). It also focuses on developing an intrinsic need to experience novel things, refraining from limiting presumptions and engaging in reflective learning. In this respect, the training program will focus on encouraging the executives to be adventurous and motivated to try out new things with aim of learning from these experiences. Personal transformation also emphasizes being open to change and readiness to change personal perceptions, beliefs and attitudes; this requires a person to be able to learn from experience (Kulik et al., 2007).
Mental attributes required for global leaders. This is another area of focus of the training. This comprises of the characteristics that have an effect on the manner in which a person tries to influence other people as well as the manner in which he/she approaches risky and unfamiliar situations. The mental characteristics needed for effective global leadership are crucial for taking any distinct action by the leader. To this end, this training will focus on accepting complexity including its contradictions; cognitive skills; motivation to work in a global environment; empathy; social judgment skills; self-regulation; and optimism (Holladay & Quinones, 2008).
With respect to embracing complexity including its associated contradictions, this training program will focus on developing positive attitudes among the executives towards unpredictable and ambiguous situations. In this regard, global leaders must have the ability to identify the opportunity that comes with adversity and be able to utilize diversity to spur creativity. There is no doubt that the global environment is increasingly becoming complex, especially regarding human resources (Holladay & Quinones, 2008). This can be attributed to cultural differences existing between countries. Therefore, embracing complexity as well as its contradictions plays a crucial role in enabling global leaders to appreciate cultural diversity, which is a must-have attribute for leaders in a global environment. In addition, embracing complexity helps leaders to appreciate the influences associated with cultural conditioning and embrace duality. In addition, it enhances the ability of the leader to strike a balance and manage with the tensions between the local and global needs (Osland & Bird, 2006).
This training will also focus on developing the cognitive skills of the executives. According to Caligiuri (2006), cognitive skills play a pivotal role in influencing the manner in which people interpret their respective environment. Cognitive complexity has been identified as a core competence required for managers working in global environments. This is because of the increasing complexity and uncertainty associated with the global environment. With respect to this, the training program will focus on helping the executives develop their divergent thinking skills, relying on their past knowledge and experiences in coming up with creative solutions and exhibiting emotional intelligence (Ferdman & Sagiv, 2012).
The training will also focus on motivating the executives to work in a global environment. This will involve stressing the importance dedication, perseverance, goal orientation and individual drive to exercise leadership in different situations (Fowler, 2006).
Empathy is related to a persons capability to interact with other people. To this end, this training program will focus on instilling empathy among executives through stressing the importance of being sensitive to the assumptions and needs of others as well as being participative. Other aspects of empathy that will be emphasized in this training include respect, warm heartedness, being open to others, good will, social commitment and service orientation. Empathy has been reported to have a positive effect on ones ability to deal with situations and people, and emotional connection with people of diverse backgrounds. Moreover, empathy helps people to understand diverse viewpoints and develop their listening skills. It also enhances cultural sensitivity (Holladay & Quinones, 2008).
Social judgment skills are one of the important competencies for leaders, both in international and local contexts. It is connected with taking a viewpoint, and being able to broaden the context beyond a specific situation, which is positively related to learning capacity. In this respect, this training will focus on developing the abilities of learners to profile and observe others culture (Fowler, 2006). Social judgment also focuses on understanding the social contexts for which the solutions are found. Other aspects of social judgment that will be covered in the training include self-reflection, wisdom, and self-objectivity. In addition, social judgment is related to the ability to switch viewpoints (Mendenhall, 2006).
Self-regulation focuses on being able to control and manage disruptive moods and impulses. It is connected with suspending judgment that helps to think before undertaking action. The aspects of self-regulation that will be covered in this training include emotional stability, capability of handling distractions, accountability, integrity, adaptive capacity, character, ability to tolerate ambiguity, flexible behaviors, low levels of neurotism, handling stress, resilience, perseverance, open-mindedness, self-efficacy, and refraining from ethnocentrism.
Optimism is also a mental attribute that this training will seek to reinforce among the executives. Optimism is concerned with looking at things more favorably. It is also concerned with having a can do attitude when one is placed in complex situations; therefore, it helps a global leader to handle uncertainty effectively, look for opportunities in uncertainties, learn from mistakes, and use problems to foster growth (Ferdman & Sagiv, 2012).
Behaviors for global leaders. The training will also focus on the appropriate behaviors required for the executives to be successful in cross-cultural environments. The emphasis of the training will be on networking and social skills. Networking skills focus on managing formal relationships, which can be developed by community building, active pursuing of partnerships, establishing alliances and partnerships, and creation of internal networks (Ferdman & Sagiv, 2012). On the other hand, social skills focus on managing relationships at a more personal level. In this respect, this training will cover such aspects as persuasiveness, listening skills, communication skills, collaboration, team work, team leadership, conflict resolution, development and empowerment of others, visionary leadership, ability to inspire others, and effective cross-cultural communication (Fowler, 2006).
Methods of evaluation depend on the goals established for the training process. For the case of training process, evaluation will involve determining whether competencies for global leadership have been learned by participants (competency learning assessment). This will be performed at the individual level in order to assess the reactions of participants as well as their enhanced understanding. Assessing participants reactions is also important owing the fact that negative reactions towards the program reduces the likelihood of them applying what has been learned in practice (Barczak et al., 2006). The primary aim of any training is to yield enhanced understanding with respect to improved or novel abilities, skills and knowledge. The instruments used for competency learning assessment will include questionnaires and knowledge reviews. Questionnaires are a structured approach used in offering both qualitative and quantitative information regarding the participants reactions towards the training. The questionnaire must place emphasis on both aspects associated with delivery and content. The section on content of training must have questions focusing on whether materials provided valuable information that can be helpful in undertaking the assignments at hand, and whether the training helped in enhancing the knowledge of the participant (Kulik et al., 2007). The section on the delivery focuses on the presentation of the information, and appropriateness of format and detail. Knowledge reviews are objective methods of assessing the extent to which the participants have learned the content of the training. Knowledge reviews are often administered pre- and post-training in order to determine whether the learning objectives set for the training have been achieved (Fowler, 2006).
Long-term Assessment of the Training Program
Long-term assessment of the training program will involve assessing the practical application of the learned competencies in order to improve performance (competency application assessment). This is performed at the organizational level rather than at the individual level and implies examining the changes in performance with respect to the costs of training. The underlying assumption is that, if participants are exhibiting appropriate behaviors on their assignments following the training, it can be argued that the training positively influenced their performance. The long-term assessment of the training will be done using two approaches, which include analyzing the measures of organizational performance, and analyzing the return on investment (ROI) on the training (Fowler, 2006). Measures of organizational performance are related to the metrics used in evaluating successful organizations. They help in performance tracking for the purposes of trends identification as well as aspects that need additional attention. The performance of the ABC Corporations branches is a good metrics through which the effectiveness of the training program can be evaluated. ROI is related to the monetary benefits gained by the organization for investing in training. It is used in assessing the degree to which the desired result was achieved.