Leadership in Global and Multicultural Organizations
This paper will examine and contrast the essential characteristics of a global business leader as well as evaluate the characteristics and practices that may assist multinational organizations retain their workforce and boost their morale and team spirit. This paper will also examine views regarding the characteristics and practices necessary for global leaders to successfully manage within the global virtual team environment One of the fastest-growing, high-tech office trends today is ‘virtual teams’. These teams cross time, space, and cultural boundaries and do so effectively with the use of technology. When Marshall McLuhan forecasted the ‘global village’ in the 1960s; he was, in fact, speaking of the virtual workplace” (Johnson, Heimann and O’Neill, 2001, p.24). Clearly, there is a need for virtual teams within our expanding global economy. In order to build on the concept of a virtual team, it is first necessary to outline characteristics of high performing teams versus those that are not. A global multicultural organization is dynamic and complex. This means that multicultural organizations are very transformative and ever changing. Organization principles and rules that worked yesterday may not work today in a global multicultural organization due to the ever-changing demographics and needs of the workforce. The characteristics and practices necessary for global leaders to successfully manage within the global virtual team environment are knowledge, vision, understanding, good listener, ethically sensitive, and the ability and willingness. A bad leader in the global virtual team is the one who always portrays to their subordinates that they know it all. Effective and efficient future global virtual and multicultural leaders are those who are open minded, ready and willing, when situations become complex; and demand additional information and evaluation in order to make sound business decision. Today and future global virtual and multicultural leaders are those who are culturally aware of the difficulties and challenges that surround their multicultural and virtual workforce. They are ready to learn and be educated by their workforce. Organizations are excited by the fact that they no longer need to co-locate big teams. Microsoft, Texas Instruments and Motorola are just examples. Looking around, it is not difficult to see a majority of the multi-national organizations operating such teams with product design, development, test centers distributed around the globe, Philips, Ericsson, Hewlett-Packard, Honeywell, GE, DaimlerChrysler, Oracle and Digital Equipment just to name a few” (pp. 102-103). Based on the research, there are a number of significant reasons for companies choosing to have virtual teams. Johnson, Heimann and O’Neill (2001) provide a concise list of benefits associated with the benefits of virtual teams. These include “Allowing flexible hours so employees can spend more time with family. Nearly 75 percent of teleworkers responding to an AT&T survey last year said that they were more satisfied with their personal and family lives [now] than before they started working (Baig and Dunkin, 1998). Creates and disperses improved business processes across organizations. Supports cross-functional and cross-divisional interaction. Saves time and money in the daily transportation to and from work. Global leaders in virtual and multicultural organizations are responsible for building organizations were individuals continually expand their capabilities to shape their future through learning – that is leaders are responsible for fostering learning and are themselves learners (Senge, 1990, p.209). “In a global virtual organizations, the roles of leaders have been conceptualized as that as designers, teachers, learners, and stewards.” (Knutson & Mirando 2000,...