Global competence : What is it , and can it be developed through global assignments

  • Caligiuri P
  • Di Santo V
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Globally competent managers are critical for the future .success of all multinational organizations. To address this HR need, many strategic HR departments have initiated global leadership development programs to groom future leaders. There are two inherent assumptions in all global leadership programs. First, that "global competence" can be defined in terms of developmental dimensions. Second, that, once defined, these dimensions can be developed through global experience. This article addresses both assumptions. Study 1, using data from focus groups of senior managers, found that multinational organizations define global competence in terms of eight specific dimensions of knowledge, abilities, and personality characteristics. Study 2 examined employees on these eight dimensions prior, during, and after their global leadership development programs. Study 2 found that the knowledge dimensions can be developed; however, personality characteristics do not change as the result of global assignments. Study 2 also found that those during and after global assignments actually self-report lower on the ability dimensions. This interesting result suggests that once employees have been on a global assignment, they become more sensitive to the challenges of working in another culture. In other words, these future global leaders now "know what they do not know."

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  • Paula Caligiuri

  • Victoria Di Santo

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