Selected Factors influencing managing in other countries

Managing in Australia is influenced by that country’s moralistic stance and its emphasis on political and social value, achievement and risk taking.

The importance of managing is even recognized by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who has relied on the new managerial elite to modernize industry when he was at the helm of affairs.

In the past, important decisions were largely made by central planners. However, the need for decentralization has become evident. Interviewed by Fortune magazine, a Soviet manager indicated that his own expectations are stated in profit and revenues but the decisions of resources allocation and salary increases for his employees are left to him. The managerial power even extends to the decision of firing an employee. But this authority may be more theoretical than real, because the state guarantees employment. Thus, the dismissal may amount to a transfer of the employee to another organization. While, in the past much of the decision authority was vested in governmental officials, the new authority relationships may cause a great deal of uncertainly among the managers themselves.

In one tractor factory, teams of about ten people worked together to earn to bonus if they exceeded the quota. Problems arose, however, when output quantities were achieved at the expense of quality. Indeed, Mikhail Gorbachev’s new approach to economics and managing created a great deal of conflict. While the newly educated executives push for change and the use of economic incentives to improve productivity, old-style managers see the introduction of bonuses as an infusion of capitalistic.

While raising the status of the managerial elite is a new phenomenon in Russia, management education lags far behind that in most Western nations. There were only two new management schools in the Soviet Union.

Italian managers are operating in an environment of low tolerance for risks. Italians are very competitive but at the same time they like group decision making.

Management in Austria (and Germany) is characterized by self-realization and leadership. Independence and competitiveness are valued. The tolerance for risk taking is rather low.

In Britain, security is important and so are resourcefulness, adaptability and logic. Similarly individualism is also highly valued. With the increasing investment of foreign firms in the United States more attention must be given to the integration of managers and workers from other countries into American society. This need is highlighted by the fact that the number of inter-company transferees has more than tripled from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s. The Japanese for example often find it difficult to be outspoken and direct in interaction with their colleagues and especially with their superiors. People from Arabian countries usually find American teaching methods too impersonal.

Various approaches have been used to reduce culture shock. These include special programs about corporate life in the United States, as well as instruction in English, books and movies even tax advice is given to the newcomers. Some companies have found the buddy system useful for making the foreigner feel comfortable in the new environment. In this approach an American looks after the needs of the newcomer. Other firms use role playing to demonstrate alternative ways of managerial behavior. Because of their cultural background, Japanese managers usually find it rather difficult to conduct an American style performance review that focuses on results.

In the past, training and development focused on preparing US managers and workers for overseas assignments. Increasingly firms are realizing that they need to help foreigners reduce the culture shock they may experience upon coming to America.

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