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Physical Movement Company: Global Management in Practice

Scenario:

You have achieved great success at Physical Movement Company (PM Co.) as their Sales Manager. PM Company is a three year old, US$25 million home healthcare company, headquartered in the northeastern part of the United States. The firm creates and sells wheelchairs, walkers or other types of "mobility products" that give a person some level of mobility when they can no longer completely ambulate on their own. Recently due to an influx of inquiries about your mobility products and some very large, direct sales to customers outside your home country, you have been promoted to the position of Vice-President of International Sales, responsible for all sales outside the United States. The job sounds simple enough - just sell your great mobility products around the world! Benefits of the job include traveling globally, eating great food and shopping for bargains in your free time. Life is good!

However, after a few days in your new position you begin to realize there is more to this job than what you were previously accustomed to as a Sales Manager who sold only in your own country. Your previous job responsibilities included finding a need for your mobility products, overcoming any objections and closing the sale. You were very comfortable in this role. As you begin to call on companies around the world by phone and e-mail, you realize that the global business environment is far more complex, involves many more details, and requires much more knowledge than you ever realized! Because of the time zone differences, you are finding yourself working all the time as business is conducted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week around the world, so there is always someone you need to contact or follow-up with. No one in the company has ever sold internationally before. There are a few employees in the company who were not born in this country. They can provide some language skills and can share their cultural knowledge, but they do not have international business experience. However, you are now the global business leader for your company.

Late one night between calls to Singapore and China, you realize you need to quickly learn as much as you can about global business issues and their implications and to communicate these issues and their solutions to senior management so that together you and the company can achieve your new worldwide revenue objectives.

Phase 2 - Global management in practice

Problem 1) Deliverable Length: 5-7 paragraphs single spaced/ Times new roman/ font size 12/ minimum 2 references APA format

Currently international management at PM Company consists of one person. What specific management principles and practices should PM company begin to put in place that will assist the company as their international expansion plans move forward and their international business begins to grow?.

Problem 2) Deliverable Length: 4-5 paragraphs
single spaced/ Times new roman/ font size 12/ minimum 2 references APA format

Given PM Company's human resource diversity policy and its expectation that global sales will grow significantly in the future, how should you, as the Vice-President of International Sales, plan to manage the diverse team of managers that will be working for you? You've become familar with Hofstede's cultural dimensions; how might they influence management decisions?

Bring this up the next time you meet with the other VPs at PM Company.

Solution Preview

Management Principles and Practices that Physical Movement Should Put in Place

You're an American businessperson whose company is expanding into foreign countries and markets. Or your company is acquiring or has been acquired by one. Or you're courting a supplier or venture capitalist from foreign countries. In any case, you want to make good impression.

You've heard the rumors that Americans are thought to be, well, somewhat less than cultivated. And it's true that American businesses often place more stock in talent and skills than they place in polish and style- we've all seen American managers who are brilliant strategist but rudely answer cell-phone calls or type in their PDAs while having discussions with their subordinates. We know a defense attorney who has a stellar record in spite of (or perhaps because of) his unkempt appearance. (Maybe it's disarming to jurists?) And we all know talented computer wizards who earn outrageous salaries going to work in jeans and flip-flops every day.

In foreign countries, dress, manners and demeanor are more important than they are in the States. But as business here becomes more global and as businesses become more competitive, even the most casual Americans are learning that there are benefits to having the more cordial manners of their foreign countries and counterparts.

The principle of etiquette Physical Movement Company should master

There are some rules and standards of etiquette in foreign countries that are puzzling to Americans at first, and we cover some of those in this article. There are also some fairly simple rules of thumb that will spare you some awkward moments and prevent unintentional offenses.

For the past few years in the United States, businesses have been tending toward "business casual"- meaning polo shirts and casual slacks for men and women. In the recent few months, most industries are gearing back to a more "dressed up" appearance - blazers and slacks (if not a coat and tie) for men and more corporate pantsuits and dresses for women; although many workplaces still have "casual Fridays."

As far as we know, there are no "casual Fridays" in foreign countries. A dark-colored coat and tie with a light shirt for men; and more formal skirt and pantsuits for women are de rigeur. Anyone wearing something less formal might be seen as someone who does not take his business very seriously, or who has too little respect for the people he's meeting with to spend the time on his appearance.

Business Interactions principles

Typical business interactions are more effective (and more enjoyable!) if you consider some cultural differences such as titles and introductions, language differences, differences in organizational structure and philosophy, and issues of style in matters such as taking blame and giving credit, giving compliments, and resolving differences of opinion.

Titles and Introductions principles for Physical Movement Company

In the U.S., if you work for the same company as someone else, you can pretty much take for granted that you're on a first-name basis with them. Everyone from the CEO to the janitor is addressed by first name only, even if you're barely acquainted with him or her. That often transcends companies, and anyone who calls you Mr. or Ms. is probably trying to sell you something.

The opposite is true in foreign countries. Calling someone by their first name (unless invited to do so) is considered presumptuous and too familiar for business interactions. Courtesy titles and last names are the norm.

Introductions are also very different. In the U.S., introductions are almost an afterthought- you get "introduced around" an office if you're new to the company, and introductions in meetings are cursory if done at all.

In Foreign countries, introductions are very important, and they follow the old rules of introducing the "less important" person to the more important one. If Mr. Smith is the owner of the company you work for, and Mr. Jones is your newly-hired colleague, an introduction would be as follows:

"Mr. Smith, I'd like to introduce you to Mr. Jones."

If you are standing when an introduction is made, shake hands (firmly, please!) with the person you're introduced to. If you are sitting, stand up, face the person, and shake hands. Always stand when making introductions yourself.

In meetings, formal introductions may be made before the meeting before the participants take their seats, or everyone may go around the table and introduce himself or herself, (while seated) but a meeting is never begun if there are any participants that have not formally met. Follow the lead of the meeting host, or if you are hosting a meeting, ensure that introductions take place before addressing any items of business.

The concept of Language for Physical Movement Company

A company may tell you that all business will be conducted in English, so there is no need to learn a second language. You will find, however, that there are differences in structure and usage between American English and "Foreign and business English."

Language is more formal, and although there may be some slang (especially in new fields like computers) it's best to avoid American slang and newer words.

The structure of sentences is a little different. The adjectives often come after the noun.

Take these differences in stride, and try to adapt your style of speaking and writing to the people you're doing business with. It's much more effective to communicate in he the way the majority of people are comfortable with than to try to change things to the style you may be more used to.

The principles relating to Physical Movement Company Organizational Structure and Philosophy

Companies in the U.S. have been tending in the last few years away from hierarchical systems and are more "flat" in style and structure. Senior managers might inhabit cubes the same as regular staffers, everyone is on a first-name basis, and everyone's opinion carries equal weight if the idea has merit. In Foreign countries, things are a bit more traditional and people are more deferential toward people who have "earned their stripes." It's fine to put forth ideas if you're not the "top dog," the only difference is in the style of communication. It's much more effective to give suggestions than to pronounce opinions. (Note- although few would admit to it, this style often works better in the U.S., too!)

In the U.S., managers often listen to discussions of team members and say very little- allow the team members to come to a resolution themselves, and only facilitate discussion, resolve issues, or provide information as necessary. In Foreign countries, managers are expected to be active participants, actively asking questions during the entire process. Otherwise they may appear to be uninterested or not knowledgeable.

The practice of "Take Blame and Give Credit"

In the 1930s, an American named Dale Carnegie wrote about the practice of taking blame for things that go wrong and giving credit for things that go right. Unfortunately, too few Americans seem to have taken his advice. But foreign countries and have! (Or maybe it was their practice all along and Mr. Carnegie happened to be the one to pass that along in the States. )

By admitting fault quickly and emphatically when you've made an error, you immediately take the antagonism out of a problem, and everyone's focus turns more quickly to a solution rather than faultfinding.

Passing along credit is even more effective than taking it for yourself. If a global expansion goes well and you are congratulated, it is much more charming and effective to say, "Thank you, but the administrative staff set it up beautifully" or "The programmers did all the work." The administrative staff or the programmers will appreciate it, and the person congratulating you will think more rather than less of you for passing along credit.

The Practice of Compliments that Physical Movement Company executives must learn

Another thing that Mr. Carnegie wrote about that seems more common in Foreign countries than America is the practice of giving compliments.

In America, compliments are often seen as passé' or condescending. Complimenting someone is seen as unnecessary. People refrain from pointing out things about differences in people's dress, practices or cultures. Some men refrain from complimenting women colleagues in particular because they are trying to be "politically correct."

Everyone likes to hear nice things about him or herself, regardless of where they are in the world. But in foreign countries in particular, giving compliments is a perfectly acceptable and even expected mode of interaction. Compliments can be very simple- admiring someone's taste in office furnishings (assuming you really DO like their office) or complimenting someone on their proficiency with the computer or complimenting their analysis of a situation. Many foreign countries and for whom English is a second language particularly like to be complimented on their grasp of English by Americans. (And often their English is better than ours! See notes on language.)

Being genuinely interested in other people, and expressing sincere compliments is a practice that is much more common in foreign countries but is effective in developing rapport with people anywhere.
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Solution Summary

This solution-guide discusses dress, business interactions principles, titles and introduction principles, language, good practices (like passing along credit), meetings, and dining etiquette that the management must be aware of. It further discusses information systems, financial performance, and enterprise/local power It also discusses managing a group of managers extensively. This solution is long, approximately 5700 words, but thoroughly structured to allow the student to extract exactly the information they need for each requirement of the assignment.

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