Educating global leaders: Exploring intercultural competence in leadership education
Irving, Justin A.
The globalization of the world has brought about massive shifts over the past two decades. With the increase of international travel, the quantum leaps in global communication brought about by the World Wide Web and the increasingly interdependent global economy, the way leaders and organizations approach business has dramatically changed. While intercultural competence was once viewed as something only necessary for those engaged in direct international relations, today organizations face a need to equip the majority of their leaders and staff in effective intercultural competence. This paper focuses on providing an overview of intercultural competence, engaging its critical importance for leaders, and providing examples and recommendations for how educational institutions may approach the development of intercultural competence in emerging leaders.
Keywords: Leadership Education, Globalization, Intercultural Competence, Global Leaders
Educating Global Leaders, Page 1
Journal of International Business and Cultural Studies
More than ever before in history, the effects of globalization are being experienced around the world. The interconnectedness and interdependency of cultures is felt within and between the organizations, cultures, and societies of the world. One of the strongest evidences of globalization in this day is the interdependency of global economies. Even as the author wrote this article in the fall of 2008, an RSS News Feed from MSNBC announced on his computer’s desktop, “World Stocks Fall on Economic Fear.” This news feed went on to note that “European stock markets opened sharply lower Wednesday following losses in Asia amid spreading pessimism over corporate earnings around the world.” As one such report among many, it is easy to quickly identify the interdependent nature of the world. In this time of globalization, international businesses and global economies increasingly experience the rise and fall of their value together.
Further illustrating the unique point we are in historically, House, Javidan, and Dorfman write, “With the ongoing globalisation of the world’s marketplace, there has been a shift from supplying overseas markets from a domestic base to establishing subsidiaries in numerous countries, acquiring or merging with foreign firms, or establishing international joint ventures” (2001, p. 489). In fact a recent KPMG study indicates that 41 percent of all mergers and acquisitions in 2000 were cross-boarder, and this compared to 24% in 1996 (Javidan, Stahl, Brodbeck, & Wilderom, 2005). While the fall of 2008 evidenced the challenges of interdependent markets, the beneficial effects of globalization are also astounding, providing opportunities that leaders around the world dare not ignore. With the rise of globalization, so rises the need for leaders with global perspective and intercultural competence to meet these growing challenges and opportunities. In light of this, this article will be focused on: (a) understanding the effects of globalization, (b) exploring theoretical approaches to the understanding of culture and the development of intercultural competence in global leaders, (c) presenting one school’s approach to educating leaders in intercultural competence, and (d) providing recommendations for leadership educators aiming to meet the urgent need of preparing leaders to serve well in the face of globalization. Globalization
While cross-cultural interactions have been taking place for thousands of years, it is only within recent decades and the past century that the societies of the world have become more accessible. Advances in aviation arguably served as one of the first quantum leaps toward the present state of globalization we now experience. Alongside advances in...