What Is A Global Manager Essay

2689 words - 11 pages

The answer is a network of specialists, not a


What is
a Globai iVianager?

by Christopher A. Bartlett
and Sumantra Ghoshal
In the early stages of its drive overseas. Corning
Glass hired an American ex-ambassador to head up
its international division. He had excellent contacts in the governments of many nations and
could converse in several languages, hut he was less
familiar with Corning and its businesses. In contrast, ITT decided to set up a massive educational
program to "globalize" all managers responsible for
its worldwide telecommunications husiness-in
essence, to replace its national specialists with
global generalists.
Corning and ITT eventually ...view middle of the document...

But an emerging
group of transnational companies has begun to
transform the classic hierarchy of headquartersChiistopher A. Bartlett is a piofessor at the Harvard
B-u.siness School and chairman of the International
Senior Management Program there. Sumantra Ghoshal
is a professor and Digital Equipment Research Fellow
at INSEAD in Eontainebleau. France. Recent books by
Bartlett and Ghoshal include Managing Across
Borders: The Transnational Solution {Harvard Business
School Press, 1989) and Transnational Management:
Text, Cases, and Readings in Cross-Border Management
(Irwin, 1992).

subsidiary relationships into an integrated network
of specialized yet interdependent units. For many,
the greatest constraint in creating such an organization is a severe shortage of executives with the
skills, knowledge, and sophistication to operate in
a more tightly linked and less classically hierarchical network.
In fact, in the volatile world of transnational corporations, there is no such thing as a universal global manager. Rather, there are three groups of specialists: business managers, country managers, and
functional managers. And there are the top executives at corporate headquarters, the leaders who
manage the complex interactions hetween the
three -and can identify and develop the talented executives a successful transnational requires.
To huild such talent, top management must understand the strategic importance of each specialist. The careers of Leif Johansson of Elcctrolux,
Howard Gottlieh of NEC, and Wahib Zaki of Procter & Gamble vividly exemplify the specialized yet
interdependent roles the three types of glohal managers play.

The Business Manager:
Strategist + Architect + Coordinator
Global husiness or product-division managers
have one overriding responsibility: to further the
company's global-scale efficiency and competitiveness. This task requires not only the perspective to
recognize opportunities and risks across national
and functional boundaries but also the skill to coordinate activities and link capahilities across those
harriers. The global business manager's overall go,
is to capture the full henefit of integrated worl
wide operations.
To be effective, the three roles at the core of a
husiness manager's joh are to serve as the strategist,
for his or her organization, the architect of i
worldwide asset and resource configuration, and
the coordinator of transactions across national
borders. Leif Johansson, now president of Electrolux, the Swedish-based company, played all
three roles successfully in his earlier position as
head of the household appliance division.
In 1983, when 32-year-old Johansson assumed responsibility for the division, he took over a business that had been huilt up through more than 100
acquisitions over the previous eight years. By the
late 1980s, Electrolux's portfolio included more
than 20 brands sold in some 40 countries, witb...

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