Companies that used to send untested expatriates overseas and hope for the best now have a reservoir of scientific data to rely upon when making assignments and preparing managers for success in complex global environments.
The Global Mindset® Inventory, a scientific self-assessment developed at Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona, takes much of the guesswork out of what skills and aptitudes a manager needs to thrive in unfamiliar markets with people from diverse backgrounds. In just three years, a research team at Thunderbird’s Global Mindset Institute has amassed 10,000 survey responses from dozens of companies all over the world.
The milestone — which Thunderbird passed on May 10, 2011 — means the sample size is now large enough to make every type of statistical analysis by gender, region, industry, job function, company size and other variables. Thunderbird researchers can identify trends, make predictions and refine the way companies develop talent and improve a person’s Global Mindset.
“The fact that we have reached such a sizeable number of responses in a relatively short period of time is a major indicator of the interest out there among companies,” said Garvin Distinguished Professor Mansour Javidan, Ph.D., head of the Global Mindset Institute. “Having a database of 10,000 individuals allows us to build the science and do the proper analyses.”
Many of the team’s findings come as no surprise to Javidan. For example, living and working in multiple countries, speaking multiple languages and earning a global business degree all boost a person’s Global Mindset.
But other findings from the expanding project have caused Javidan to rethink what it takes to thrive in foreign cultures. One key finding is the need for global managers to develop and sustain high energy levels.
“When you are dealing with people from other parts of the world, your body and your brain works extra hard to understand what is going on,” Javidan said. “You’re constantly out of your normal framework, so your body uses extra energy.”
Javidan said when low-energy people get tired they tend to become abrupt and irritable, which sends negative messages to business associates and negotiation counterparts. “Lack of energy can be a major obstacle in building relationships with people from other cultures,” he said.
Another surprise is the importance of English proficiency for nonnative speakers of the language. Managers who speak two or more languages tend to score higher on the Global Mindset Inventory when one of those languages is English.
“More than other languages, English allows you to communicate with people from other cultures,” Javidan said. “We have actually tested that.”
Other key findings show:
– By industry, telecommunications ranks highest and defense ranks lowest in Global Mindset.
– By job function, management professionals rank first and information technology professionals rank last.
– By generation, Millennials born between 1977 and 1994 score highest, while younger Baby Boomers born between 1955 and 1964 score lowest.
– By company size, employees at small firms with less than 100 employees score highest, while employees at midsize firms with 100 to 1,000 employees score lowest.
The research also shows a direct link between Global Mindset and corporate position. CEOs score highest, while managers six or seven steps down the corporate ladder score lowest.
Javidan said his team currently is working to adjust for “cultural response bias,” which occurs when one subgroup tends to score itself higher or lower than the norm due to cultural pressures. Men, for example, tend to score themselves higher than women. And U.S. individuals tend to score themselves higher than their counterparts from collectivist societies such as Japan.
Although the comparisons help educators define, measure and grow Global Mindset, Javidan said the primary purpose of the project is to give individuals confidential feedback to help them improve. He said managers can develop effective action plans without making any comparisons to their peers.
“Our approach is to be helpful to individual managers,” Javidan said. “We are a business school. Our job is to help people develop themselves.”
To learn more about the Global Mindset Inventory or to take the self-assessment, visit the Global Mindset Institute website, contact business development manager Joy McGovern, Ph.D., at email@example.com, or watch the Thunderbird Knowledge Network video series below:
|Global Mindset Advantage: Thunderbird Professor Mansour Javidan, Ph.D., talks about why global mindset is important. View the video on YouTube or on China’s www.tudou.com (2:18).||Global Mindset Origins: Thunderbird Professor Mansour Javidan, Ph.D., the personal and professional influences for his global mindset research. View the video on YouTube or on China’s www.tudou.com (2:13).|
|Global Mindset Development: Thunderbird Professor Mansour Javidan, Ph.D., shares a three-step process for improving global mindset. View the video on YouTube or on China’s www.tudou.com (2:35).||Global Mindset Inventory: Thunderbird Professor Mansour Javidan, Ph.D., talks about the science behind the school’s online self-assessment tool. View the video on YouTube or on China’s www.tudou.com (2:20).|
|Global Mindset Investment: Thunderbird Professor Mansour Javidan, Ph.D., says managers can learn global mindset the easy way or the hard way. View the video on YouTube or on China’s www.tudou.com (2:49).||Globalization Benefits and Risks: Thunderbird Professor Mansour Javidan, Ph.D., talks about the benefits and risks of globalization. View the video on YouTube or on China’s www.tudou.com (2:41)|