The international manager
10THE INTERNATIONAL MANAGER
The International Manager
The International Manager
In a progressively growing world, both exchange and investment courses are curving up a new card of associations between economic actors and their geographical locations (Amann, Jaussaud and Martinez, 2010). The idea of internationalization accentuates convergence sustained by various evolutions, particularly in areas such as telecommunication, Internet as well as transport. Currently, a shapeless de-compartmentalization call for actors who are not usually ready for this new situation (Amann, Jaussaud and Martinez, 2010). Therefore, obstacles to exchange both products and services, information and investment, etc. have been significantly reduced over the past decade although not in every geographical locations which calls for international managers to deal with these obstacles. Therefore, international managers are confronted with strong and continuous challenges that necessitates both training as well as a proper understanding of a foreign environment (Dunning and Lundan, 2008). Taking care of a business in an oversea nation necessitates managers to cope with a wide range of cultural and environmental differences. Therefore, as a result, international managers ought to constantly observe the political, legal, sociocultural, economic as well as technological environment an international environment (Dunning and Lundan, 2008). The contention of this essay is to describe and evaluate the challenges and opportunities international managers face in this global environment citing relevant practical examples. It will also provide ways in how conflict generating and solutions can be handled.
Lemaire (2000) describes the international environment as an environment in various independent nations which has factors that are exogenic to the home environment of the institution that decides on how best to use both resources and capabilities. These include: political, legal, sociocultural, economic as well as the technological environment (Lemaire, 2000). A political environment within a nation affects the legislation and the rules of the government where an international firm functions. All nations worldwide abides to its own system of law and thus the international firm operating under it has to follow (Lemaire, 2000). In addition, a technological environment constitutes components associated with materials and machines utilized in producing goods and services. The decisions made within the firm are influenced by the willingness of the firm to implement new technology (Lemaire, 2000).
Economic environment applies huge hit, especially on firms functioning in a global business environment. Therefore, economic factors relate directly to aspects that adds to a nation’s attractiveness for international business such as inflations, interest rates, exchange rates and purchasing power parity (Lemaire, 2000). Furthermore, sociocultural environment relates to the diversity as well as the cultural differences of an organization. Therefore, companies that enter into a global marketplace has to ensure that their employees learn the proper cultural practices and taboo of the foreign nation (Lemaire, 2000). Finally, an international environment considers a legal aspect which necessitates that any international company that is willing to conduct business transaction within a foreign nation has to abide by the laws and regulations of the country (Lemaire, 2000). Therefore, in this international environment, an international manager ought to have a clear understanding in order to effectively conduct business within a foreign nation.
International managers deal with building effective strategies structuring proper organizational designs and taking care of individuals in a cross-cultural environment (Hughes, 2015). Therefore, these managers ought to handle bureaucratic, linguistic, technical, economic, political as well as cultural differences and in doing this, they face numerous challenges. First and foremost, international managers face language barrier which is the most important of all. Linguistic differences influences communication with his employees, business partners and also customers (Hughes, 2015). This language barrier comes as a major challenge since an international manager is therefore obliged to learn the language in order to build their strategies in that language ensuring smooth operations (Hughes, 2015).
Furthermore, culture is another issue international managers face when representing their firms in a foreign nation. Culture determines the habits, behaviour and preference of the consumers within a society (Amaram, 2011). Therefore, international managers ought to consider every cultural characteristics when implementing a business strategy with a foreign nation. For instance, a firm cannot sell beef to a market in India because cows are considered sacred animals in that nation (Amaram, 2011). Another challenge that international managers face is the business attitude. Information and knowledge of a business as well as the attitude and habits of a foreign nation is important for the successful operation of the business (Amaram, 2011). International manager most at times find it difficult to cope with these attitudes yet they directly influence how businesses react to various circumstances within the market.
Technical development also challenges international managers due to the differences and faculty of markets. These technical developments determine the basic opportunities of sales, production and marketing of a business (Linehan and Scullion, 2001). For instance, international managers have to deal with issues such as selling latest mobile networks in areas with no access to such services. In addition, issues such as devolving employer/employee compact also affect international managers because the days of longtime employment and associated loyalty has surpassed (Linehan and Scullion, 2001). Therefore, these managers ought to have valid reasons that may keep their workforce intact so as to ensure a smooth flow of work. Additionally, international managers also face discrimination from the locals of the foreign nations especially from their employees. These managers deal with discrimination when trying to delegate duties to their subordinates thus creating a wave of tension within the working environment (Linehan and Scullion, 2001). Therefore, they should be adequately trained to deal with such challenges in order to enable a smooth functioning of the organization.
On the other hand, international managers have numerous opportunities since they get to build a favourable partnership with their counterparts within the foreign country which aids in creating more business for an organization (Mohamed, 2015). These relationships go a long way, especially if an international manager conducts himself/herself accordingly. Also, due to the different forms of decision making procedures used in different nations, international managers have the opportunity to learn various decision making procedures in addition to what they already knew (Mohamed, 2015). Also, international managers get to learn different cultures in their foreign market as well as their language which can help them communicate effectively with both their partners and their subordinates in the foreign country. This therefore increases their chances of representing the entire organization in that foreign market due to high credibility (Mohamed, 2015).
In addition, international managers also have the opportunity of creating a diverse workforce within an organization since working in a foreign company enables one to function with different types of individuals with entirely different cultures (Hughes, 2015). In addition, international managers are exposed to new ideas as well as concepts which come as an opportunity since they can be able to utilize these new concepts to effectively achieve the vision and mission of their organization. Furthermore, international managers also have the opportunity of entering into joint ventures with organizations within the foreign market (Sarina and Wright, 2015). This assists the organization share its risks of foreign market entry and hence can provide involving experience for an organization starting its presence in a foreign country. Additionally, international managers have the opportunity of developing their careers to a higher level primarily because they are exposed to an entirely different environment where they can gain more skills working with different kinds of individuals (Hughes, 2015).
For instance, Qantas Airlines has fallen victim of international competition and expansion due to strengthening of the competitors. Qantas Airlines international market share has drastically dropped in the previous decade and they are on their way to cut down costs in order to match its competitors from the Middle East and Asia. Between 2010 and 2011, shares of the national flag carrier dropped to 18.7 per cent as compared to 2000-2001 period where they dominated the market with up to 34.3 per cent (Sarina and Wright, 2015). Qantas Airlines stopped their flow by opening a low-cost operator Jetstar which took up to 8 per cent of their global traffic (Jiang, 2013). Qantas faced direct competition from Emirates Airlines and Singapore Airlines which came as the second most known overseas carrier. Other than a huge drop in their market shares, Qantas also has challenges related to their workforce. They faced heightened situations of accidents as well as frequent strikes from dissatisfied workforce who complained of their meager salaries.
In addition, Qantas has decided to lower their intended volume increase to the United States and shift to the Asian market since they are wary of damaging their returns on the increasingly competitive trans-Pacific market (Sarina and Wright, 2015). Qantas Airline also would cut its growth in order for the entire Australian-US seat capacity grows by 6 per cent rather than the prior planned 9 percent. Furthermore, Qantas will also reduce their Sydney-Los Angeles flight frequency to one daily-flight down from 10 weekly flights (Sarina and Wright, 2015). This is entirely because they are dealing with challenges of expansion in order to avoid any risks of damaging their returns. Therefore, Qantas decided to concentrate on the Asian market so as to curb any form of competition since Asia is their largest contributor to their international revenue (Sarina and Wright, 2015).
Qantas Airways is the largest airline in Australia yet it faced quite a number of challenges and intense competition from airlines such as Emirates and Singapore Airlines (Sarina and Wright, 2015). In order to minimize any losses, the company should have initiated a change management procedure through cutting off prices as well as labour costs so as to ascertain high productivity. In addition, the company should have moderated the wages and also introduce flexible structures via an adaptable and motivated workforce. Furthermore, the airline should revive their brand so that it completely different from its rivals. Brand revival should encompass operations such as serving their economy passengers with their own meal boxes rather than trays (Fenclova and Coles, 2011). It is a cheaper option than serving them with trays.
Also, with regard to their redundancies and losses, Qantas Airways should purchase more fuel-efficient aircrafts so as to minimize the company’s operating costs (Fenclova and Coles, 2011). Also, the company needs to create a base from which it can develop into the future and thus it ought to have the ability to justify to both the bank and its shareholders injections of investment in order to adequately equip their fleet. Finally, regarding their workforce, Qantas Airways should incorporate job design and analysis which is essential for an effective organizational functioning. This can be done through an effective personnel selection, job evaluation, performance appraisal and training of their workforce (Fenclova and Coles, 2011). This process of job design can help the company deal with its competitors as well as its talent crisis.
To sum up, an international manager is a very important post within an organization because they deal with the interrelations that exist within two or more nations. They represent the host country in a foreign country. Therefore, these international managers are confronted with numerous challenges as well as opportunities that present themselves within the foreign market they are designated to lead. First, they need to cope with the international environment which is defined as an environment in various independent nations which has factors that are exogenic to the home environment of the institution that decides on how best to use both resources and capabilities. The external environment is divided into five categories namely: political environment, sociocultural environment, legal environment, economic environment and technological environment. Additionally, international managers face challenges such as: language barriers; cultural differences; business attitude and habits of foreign market; technological developments and discrimination. On the other hand, international managers also have opportunities such as: building favourable partnership in foreign country; gain decision making procedures; learn different cultures; create a diverse workforce; exposed to new ideas and concepts and enter into a joint venture to name a few. A case of Qantas Airways clearly indicated the challenges the company faced as well as the various recommendations on how they could improve over their competitors.
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