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This qualitative study explores the meaning of global competence for global managers in three different countries. Thirty interviews were conducted with global managers in India, Japan and the Netherlands through Skype, an internet based software. Findings are reported by country in five major categories: country background, personal characteristics, experience in and adaptation to global business, developing global competence, and global competence. Themes were identified per country for each of these five major categories. The study’s findings were compared to the existing literature on global competence. Based on the findings and existing literature the study proposes a model of global competence that defines global competence as rising to the challenge of succeeding anywhere in a complex world with resource constraints. The model consists of three major competencies (building relationships across the globe, communicating for results across the globe, and managing expectations across the globe), five basic building blocks (organizational, cultural, language, and global understanding as well as professional global passion), and two methods for global competence development (social learning and experiential learning). The study further demonstrates how this universal model can be adjusted for the cultural and national background of managers. The study concludes that there is a need to customize global development programs based on national and cultural background. It provides specific suggestions for the customization of these programs for Indian, Japanese, and Dutch participants as well general suggestions for customization applicable to other countries. Five suggestions for future research complete the study.
Adviser: Richard J. Torraco