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BSM414 Characteristics Of An Effective International Manager: Education, Ethics, Core, Competencies

Characteristics Of An Effective International Manager: Education, Ethics, Core Competencies And Acumen

The manager

A manager is a person who is held responsible for planning, organizing, controlling and administering all or part of the operations of an enterprise. Noted management author Peter Drucker signifies that a manager has five basic tasks which are setting objectives, organizing, motivating and communicating, measuring and developing people. Therefore, being manager means one is setting goals for others to pursue and follow while the person breaks down the goal into individual tasks, activities so that they are more manageable and continues to undertake the necessary motivating initiatives like pay, promotion and reward and communicate them with the followers and subordinates alike. However, a manager also undertakes the activities involving measuring the performance, analyzing the performance to reflect learning and providing the necessary input to his or her people for their development.

Contexts of international managers

Drucker's such characterization of a manager is critical to understand since he focused on the functional aspects. But at the same time, it also covers up the variations that managers face at home and in an international environment. Since the adoption of free market economy, there been the rise of multinational corporations operations shooting the demand for international managers to a higher level. Significant observations on the domain change for managers showed that being a manager in a home country is more competitively advantageous while it is equally challenging in an international context. The differences are not only in the economic system, or in the laws. A successful manager in the domestic market requires applying even sharper and meticulous managerial skills and capabilities on foreign locations. A perception can get misinterpreted, a facial expression of a manager can get wrongly interpreted in foreign. The risk is very high. Based on the background this discussion aims at identifying the effective characteristics of international managers regarding his or her education, ethics, core competencies and acumen.

Challenges and research question

Prior progressing on the key discussion it is necessary to get a detailed orientation of challenges, issues, and aspects that construct the functional, operational and strategic variations between a manager and an international manager. The first group of factors that definitively influence and impact the managerial outcome of an international manager is differences in culture, employee mix, compensation and training and development. These are factors which have individualized implications for the international manager. Secondly, it is a foreign team working motivation, life at employment, pay for performance system, organizational structure, union to management relationship and attitudes towards ambiguity are determinants of the performance outcomes of an international manager. These are the factors which implicate the international manager from an organizational perspective. Third, factors like differences in economic level, legal systems, international business trend, industry situation in the host country, availability of information, inflation rate, freedom of media, also construct the macro aspects that affect international managers. A manager in his or her foreign operation needs to get the orientation of every aspect mentioned in above while in a domestic country such knowledge on the mentioned factors remains as more reinforced, without a need for validity checking. At this point, we assume that education, ethics, core competencies and acumen; all these characteristics as given in the topic, have a positive relationship with international managers’ effectiveness.

Education implicating effectiveness

As for education’s positive relationship with ensuring international managers effectiveness, [Chu13] stated that international managers effectiveness depends on cultural diversity, group dynamic, gender differences and blended organizational culture. His argument is that, for a manager to become effective, it would be essential to develop self-awareness, understand cultural stereotypes, foresightedness, be a visionary, abilities to gain and offer needed support and effective in communication and in motivating others and respect for societal responsibility. All these require him or her to be an avid learner and a tutor. Education only implicates the effectiveness enhancement of the international managers by widening the knowledge base and providing the necessary theoretical mindset to relate practices with a theory so that advantages can always be realized. [Ols121] mentioned that an international manager is only effective and good when he or she is quick in comparing what he/she hears, sees and observes. The manager then carries the needed research and result in innovating new products or services which take the business towards future continuity. Essentially, to become that good research, a manager needs to know how to carry the research, what to research and find the answer for the contradictions. Much of his or her preparations come from his or her academic understandings. [Saw13] gave the example from manager's preference for leadership practices that managers with a lower academic qualification develop preference over autocratic model while managers with higher academic qualifications tend to take a blended approach involving all dominating leadership styles like democratic, free reign, autocratic and others.

Ethics implicating effectiveness

As for ethics, [Elc12] explained that international managers ethical practice are directly related to worker turnover situation. workers turnover lowers when the manager stays ethical. [Kid01] explains while we know all the cultures are uniquely different, they are greatly homogenous, too. The most interestingly the parameters that individuals irrespective of their cultural orientation utilize the weigh and evaluate their relationships with another are the components and displays of ethics. These include compassion, responsibility, fairness, honesty, and respect. Certainly, ethics, for an international manager and his or her new colleagues, provide the necessary ground to encourage communicating at comfort. Ethics functions to deliver the value which the followers of the managers follow and maintain. It is the quality of mind and mindfulness. An international manager needs to be an ethical leader, too, to become effective as that denotes his or her honesty, trustworthiness, courage, and integrity; [Mih10].

Core competencies implicating effectiveness

As for core competencies to positively implicate the international manager effectiveness, [Lee101] stated that subordinates, peers, and even the supervisors hold unique perspective as their interpretation of effective manager. Such peer assessment remains mostly oriented towards the degree of strength and weaknesses in managerial core competencies like problem-solving skill, quick negotiation and alike matters. [Bha133] conducting a literature review identified the core competencies essential for international managers effectiveness include communication skills, team working, reactiveness, vision, result orientation, ambition, persistence, decision making and risk taking capabilities. Whether it is the organization or the colleagues an international manager will continually assess for effectiveness regarding such indicators. These characteristics define the operational efficiency and effectiveness of international managers. However, authors [Mbo04] found another dimension of managerial core competencies to relate with performance effectiveness. As per them, senior managers put interpersonal competence as more important while line supervisors emphasize operational competencies. They also revealed that female managers perceive analytical and operational capabilities as more important while male managers prioritized interpersonal competencies. So, it can be inferred from above that while the core competencies are very important for international managers effectiveness, their level of implications continues to vary as a manager progress towards organizational hierarchy. Core managerial competencies are not a combination of knowledge, information processing capabilities, and skills; but also risk aversion, profit maximization, and growth; [Kra12].

Acumen implicating effectiveness

Acumen is not only knowledge, but it is the insight and the instinct for doing business that makes the international managers effective in their foreign workstations and results only in synergies; [Vel12]. It requires a manager to gain strategic agility by thinking strategically, manage vision and mission to inspire others, deal with ambiguity and solve problems to bring and manage change. Manager's acumen reflect in the power buildup for teams, getting works are done by others, organizational positioning, business dynamics, trouble dealing, creating the new difference and in resilience and intelligence. Business acumen is the personality, competency and emotional awareness approaches towards social interactions, emotional capabilities and organizational strengths and vulnerabilities. It does not come as a quality since it develops towards maturity with time, experience and interactions; [Per081]. The primary facilitation that international managers receive from their business acumen to be effective is that they grow capable of engaging stakeholders in enabling them to identify and take necessary actions with required sustenance and to execute the whole for the result. Business acumen, therefore, for international managers is very positively related with their effectiveness since it defines the needed understandings development of the organization's business model, financial goals so that the manager can utilize all the resources, including data and information, to continue learning, excelling in setting and achieving new targets. The end result is more growth, a guarantee of continuity and profits maximization.


Given the review of challenges that international managers face in being effective to their works, we have related education, ethics, core competencies and acumen. We found that every single aspect has a contributory role in ensuring the effectiveness of international managers’ performance. We have also found that while many of these aspects come from academic fields, many are gathered with time in the workplace. The discussion centered on the composition and constituents of each of them factors and revealed their relational aspects. Therefore, the initial argument we hold that education, ethics, core competencies and acumen have a positive relationship in enhancing the effectiveness of international manager is valid. So, we can conclude that among the characteristics that make an international manager effective to his or her work, include education, ethics, core competencies and acumen in their comprehensive forms.


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