Thursday, October 11, 2007

All are potential or virtual global citizens

It seems like our own Overseas Filipino Workers are not the only globally mobile people in the world. Talents from all over are going around to work and live in countries other than their own.

Maury Peiperl, professor of Leadership and Strategic Change, IMD International, gave a very insightful look into global mobility at the Summit for Globalization of HR in Taipei last month.

Prof. Peiperl defined global mobility as the actual and the potential movement of individuals across countries especially regions of the world the world. Movement may be initiated by individuals or organizations and may or may not have a job-related component. He says that people move because they are told to move by their company or other agents; asked to move by employer, potential employer or significant others; perceives specific opportunity or driven to move on own reasons such as economics, political necessity, adventure, cultural interests, learn or develop new skills, develop a strong curriculum vitae and to get away from something or someone.

From his research, this author of Managing Change, Career Frontiers, Career Creativity and The Handbook of Career Studies has identified the following patterns of global mobility:

· Cross-national movement of labor continues to increase yearly, having doubled in the last 30 years.

· Still, growth in labor mobility significantly lags the growth in cross-national flow of goods and services.

· In some developing countries, the growing local supply of certain skills is reducing mobility needs.

· In others, "surplus" labor is being regularly exported to other countries; such "source" countries have sometimes included Taiwan and certainly include the Philippines, Pakistan, and Turkey, to name a few.

Prof Peiperl emphasized that there is no single entity that can be called global executive. Global executives are those who do global work and global work is found in the intersection of business complexity and cultural complexity.

He observed that expatriates sent from headquarters to foreign locations (or "inpatriates", vice versa), to provide needed skills and/or to form tighter international links, especially with headquarters (whether or not they have global skills). He added that the Japanese executives around the world outnumber all other nationals.

I agree with that because when a Japanese company partners with a local company here, for example, it is stipulated in the joint venture agreement that a number of people from the Japanese partner be involved in the business to protect their interests. So even those Japanese technicians are hired at least at the managerial level and receive the expatriate packages.

He also classified global activities and global citizens as: virtual global citizens (spend a great deal of interaction across cultures and markets while staying in home country); real global citizens (spend a great deal of interaction across cultures and markets and a great deal of time away from home culture and market); global travelers (spend a great deal of time away from home culture and market); potential global citizens (does not interaction with other cultures and markets and spends time at home).

From this classification, we can say that everybody is, indeed, a potential global citizen (dreaming and, maybe preparing, to work abroad) and a virtual global citizen (our colonial mentality sustains this).

Prof Peiperl suggests that the foundation to become real global citizens is global knowledge such as: know who or social capital/relationships; know how or skills and knowledge about work; know why or identification with strategy and culture; and know what or understanding of specifics and facts. He stressed that knowledge is a resource, not a competence. It is essential to all other competencies but not sufficient to any of them. The other global career capital are: cultural breadth, language skills, interpersonal skills, cognitive complexity, cosmopolitanism, systems skills, network and global track record.

More importantly, he accentuated the threshold traits for being global: Integrity, required for respect over the long haul; humility, fundamental to learning from others; inquisitiveness, essential to seeking out and learning from new experience; and hardiness, necessary for the above, and for rising to the unique challenges of global work.

Prof Peiperl speaks from his own experience. He has taught, researched, or consulted in twenty-five countries on four continents and is dedicated to promoting the role of business in sustainable global development and in the resolution of cross-national conflict.


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