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Introduction

International management is the process that requires skills, knowledge and competence over and above the normal business expertise to gain information about international economies and ways to effectively conduct business operations across the globe. Global Virtual Teams is a phenomenon that many business organisations are adopting so as to work collaboratively with the professionals across different parts of world. The present assignment is based upon General Motors which is one of the leading manufacturers in automotive industry headquartered at Detroit. This report gains an insight into the ways these teams have changed the traditional way of working and management. Also, it explores the challenges that these virtual teams pose and the ways by which an effective leadership can be developed that ensures the efficient implementation of this concept of increasing networking across the globe.

Concept of Global Virtual Teams

Any entity by making use of its networking channels can build effective relationship with professionals spread across the world and tap the advantage of skills, competence and knowledge of these personnel to conduct business operations globally (Hoch and Kozlowski, 2014). This gives rise to the concept of Global Virtual Teams which is an effective way of conducting operations of entity in different parts of the globe. Such teams have transformed the way a business used to conduct activities in past. General Motors have largely made use of this phenomenon to gain knowledge and experience from different countries to get expertise in the area of vehicle manufacturing so as to become the top company in automobile industry. Also, the company build effective communication with professionals in various geographical locations so as to take suggestions from them in relation to an effective conduct of business performance.

Role of culture in international business

Culture is a set of values, norms, beliefs, customs and notions that individuals in a particular group possess which shape their way of thinking and behavioural conduct towards an idea or activity (Stahl and Tung, 2015). Every organisation has a different culture depending upon the set of beliefs and values it possesses towards the community and environment. Managers and leaders in an enterprise need to possess in-depth knowledge of all the aspects of organisational culture. They must possess the tactics to implement the organisational culture in the behavioural pattern and performance of employees of an entity. In relation to General Motors, management has developed a corporate culture where the authority and responsibility of each individual within the organisation is clearly specified. This allows effective flow of necessary information within and outside the premises of enterprise. This is done by building strong communication with various talented and competent professionals across the world. This helps the company in collaborating the experiences and knowledge of various individuals and then making certain necessary decisions (Papadopoulos and Heslop, 2014). These may include the choice of processes, tasks, methods and techniques to carry out the manufacturing process effectively such that there is least wastage and no harmful effects towards the environment like carbon footprints.

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For any business entity to ensure its sustenance in market for a long duration of time, it has to bring changes in its methods of conducting business operations on a regular basis so that entity remains in alignment with the developments and advancements taking place in industry. Also, for a business to conduct activities in international markets, it has to take into account the perceptions, trends, norms and economic conditions of that country. Every business entity has diverse set of variables that govern its working. These must be in accordance with the rules and regulations, taxation and economic policies of the new country (Aggarwal and Goodell, 2014). Most important consideration in this regards is the difference in culture. Conducting international business requires reconciliation of cultural differences of various geographical locations where business want to carry out activities. This helps in effectively conducting the operations internationally with the aim to target new segment of audience so that General Motors can increase its sales revenue. Company need to adopt norms that comply with the culture of country where the entity expands its business. It is vital for GM to move into new areas in a manner that reduces the cultural differences and bridge the gap between business units performing in multiple cultures.

Key organisational and national cultural characteristics

It is essential for any company to take into account the cultural characteristics of the countries where it wants to expand its business so that they effectively carry the operations in international markets. In relation to this, many organisational and cultural characteristics affect the business across the globe. National culture includes a variety of elements that directly impact the business activities and processes of General Motors in various geographical locations. These are social structure, language, communication, religion, values and attitudes (Lee, Vargo and Seville, 2013). The interaction of these elements comprises the national culture. Different individuals and groups in a society have different social structure which reflects the role of individuals, its stratification and mobility in society. One of the major aspects of this is the constitution of family. Where some countries promote nuclear families, other countries may emphasize upon inclusion of aunts, cousins etc. also in family. Language is another important national characteristic that defines the way members interact in an economy. Population of a country consists of a number of individuals that have diverse languages which need to be reconciled by General Motors while going international. Communication is yet another essential component which is important for General Motors to ascertain the views and opinions of people in relation to their needs and wants for the vehicles manufactured and designed by enterprise. Religion of various individuals and groups existing in society also need to be determined by company to gain an insight into and forecast the demand of cars and other parts manufactured by entity. In the same manner, values and attitudes of people that are a part of an economy also affect the conduct of business operations by General Motors in Asia and Europe.

Organisational characteristics such as workplace etiquettes, organisational hierarchy and vision of company also impact the conduct of operations of General Motors in international markets (Vaara and et. al., 2012). By ensuring workplace confrontation, compliance with rules and regulations of statute and entity and achieving pre-decided performance standards, company can look at effectively performing the operations of business across the globe. Also, with clear specification of the responsibilities and authorities of personnel in General Motors, company can consider reaching the international markets effectively.

Challenge and opportunity of managing a diverse global workforce

One of the major concerns of any business organisation is workforce diversity as any enterprise consists of a number of individuals that communicate within the premises. In today's world, it is necessary that organisations understand the behavioural characteristics of the employees of General Motors and ascertain the diversities so that these can be removed to conduct business operations effectively. Increasing globalisation in present context also further increases the workforce diversity. Global workforce may be diverse because they are possessing different national and cultural characteristics. Organisations like General Motors that conduct business operations internationally need to give more attention towards the diverse cultures, beliefs, and backgrounds of personnel of the organisation. People now don't live and work in a marketplace where there is monopoly of operations, instead they function in an environment which is highly competitive and keeps on changing with the upcoming trends in technology and industry.

Opportunities

There are a number of opportunities associated with diversity at workplace. It is beneficial to both employees as well as entity. With respect to General Motors, diversity gives rise to exchange of various different types of cultures, opinions, views, thoughts, experiences and working patterns (Okoro and Washington, 2012). Although the employees which are a part of General Motors are largely interdependent for various functions in relation to entity, by respecting the differences that are there between personnel, company can tap the advantage of individual expertise. This will lead to an increase in efficiency of personnel in an entity which would reflect the overall timely and effective realisation of goals. In an era when flexibility and creativity are the essential elements to ensure competitiveness in marketplace, diversity is critical for an organization’s success. Diversity at workplace can reduce lawsuits and increase marketing opportunities, recruitment, creativity and overall corporate image of General Motors.

Challenges

Even though there are many opportunities for a diversified global workforce, there are many challenges that an entity comes across while dealing with such workforce. Managing diversity is more than just ascertainment of diversities between personnel of an entity. It is a process that includes recognition of values and beliefs, promoting engagement of staff, combating the issues like discrimination and inequality which give rise to differences between employees (Barak, 2016). Also, managers may at times face challenges in relation to productivity decrease due to factors like prejudice and discrimination as well as complaints and legal actions taken against the entity. Also, many a times, negative beliefs, attitudes and behavioural patterns of employees or managers can act as barriers towards effective performance of team as well as General Motors. Also, there should be measures taken by the leaders in General Motors to deal with issues like gender or caste stereotypes.

Factors that contribute to the notion of a globalised economy

In today’s digitalised world, there are many factors that foster the process of globalisation and also the businesses to take its operations to a larger scale in international markets. Rapid and sustained technological change has reduced the cost of transmitting and communicating information which serves as a key factor behind trade in knowledge products using web technology (Damro, 2012). Also, the desire of businesses to benefit from lower unit labour costs and other favourable production factors in other parts of the world encourage companies like General Motors to adjust their tax systems to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). Furthermore, many countries have become engaged in tax competition in a bid to win lucrative foreign investment projects. Also, old forms of non-tariff protection such as import licensing and foreign exchange controls have gradually been dismantled as a result of which borders have opened up and average import tariff levels have fallen so as to foster the process of globalised business operations (Moldan, Janoušková and Hák, 2012).

Conclusions

From the above report, it can be concluded that the management of any entity that is conducting its operations in international markets is necessary. Also, it has been analysed that there can be differences between the workforce of origin country and location where expansion is conducted. These differences owe to the different national and cultural characteristics of personnel at both places. Also, it can be observed that virtual teams are a good way to tap advantage of various professionals spread across the globe by making use of their expertise, knowledge and competence to bring improvements in operations of company.

References

  • Hoch, J. E. and Kozlowski, S. W., 2014. Leading virtual teams: Hierarchical leadership, structural supports, and shared team leadership. Journal of applied psychology. 99(3). p.390.
  • Stahl, G. K. and Tung, R. L., 2015. Towards a more balanced treatment of culture in international business studies: The need for positive cross-cultural scholarship. Journal of International Business Studies. 46(4). pp.391-414.
  • Papadopoulos, N. and Heslop, L. A., 2014. Product-country images: Impact and role in international marketing. Routledge.
  • Aggarwal, R. and Goodell, J. W., 2014. Cross-national differences in access to finance: Influence of culture and institutional environments. Research in International Business and Finance. 31. pp.193-211.
  • Damro, C., 2012. Market power europe. Journal of European Public Policy. 19(5). pp.682-699.
  • Moldan, B., Janoušková, S. and Hák, T., 2012. How to understand and measure environmental sustainability: Indicators and targets. Ecological Indicators. 17. pp.4-13.
  • Vaara, E. and et. al., 2012. The impact of organizational and national cultural differences on social conflict and knowledge transfer in international acquisitions. Journal of Management Studies. 49(1). pp.1-27.
  • Lee, A. V., Vargo, J. and Seville, E., 2013. Developing a tool to measure and compare organizations’ resilience. Natural hazards review. 14(1). pp.29-41.

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