As Chinese business goes global it is time to start training its managers for leadership in a global business world say Jørgen Thorsell, Justin Bridge and Fiona Gardner.
In 1978 Deng Xiaoping, the reformist then leader of China, began introducing, very slowly, a market system into what was and still is in many ways a controlled economy. Since then the demands for effective business management and leadership in China have increased dramatically. Consequently, the need has arisen to prepare Chinese managers to meet the challenges of doing business both in China and in the rest of the global business world.
A desire to understand Chinese leadership and “best practice” in leadership development in China prompted Mannaz, a leading international leadership development group (formerly the Danish Leadership Institute – DIEU), to undertake a study of how Chinese human resource managers are preparing their leaders to handle the challenges of doing business in a fast-changing global marketplace (Mannaz: Preparing Chinese leaders for the global business world, 2013). The study has proved as relevant as it is fascinating.
Point of departure
Looking at how Chinese business leaders have created exceptional growth in the past three decades, one can only honour their achievements. Anyone with expertise in the construction industry will know how much it takes to build a single high-rise apartment building not to mention the airports, roads, power plants, shopping malls, hospitals and schools that are required to support domestic urban life.
Chinese leaders have demonstrated their capacity to manage successfully this extraordinary and rapid transformation; admirable preparation for meeting the demands of the new business world as they enter the global scene.
Large western corporations have honed their ability to operate organisations on a global scale for more than a century. Scholars and business experts have built an impressive array of management and leadership “tools” to help move businesses forward.
Sequestered within the walls of a totalitarian state, Chinese business leaders had little or no access to this type of thinking until a mere 30 years ago. They now find themselves playing catch-up as the Chinese market opens and they enter the global market.
Life after the MBA
In western economies, and America in particular, the MBA degree has been the supreme management qualification for the past 40 to 50 years. From being a distinct degree for the few it has become a “gateway” degree for the many who wish to enter the ranks of business management.
This is no longer a Western phenomenon.
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