THE IMPACT OF GLOBAL INTEGRATION ON CORPORATE CULTURE AND INDIVIDUAL SKILLS
To truly integrate global hierarchies requires more than just aligning the business systems and infrastructure with the strategic vision of the organization. You must also develop the skills of the individuals, teams, and functional divisions that make up the enterprise. A global culture requires a culture of teamwork, elimination of non-value-added activities, flexibility as to jobs and functions, open communication, and information sharing. Unfortunately, the existence of hierarchical structures in organizations has traditionally fostered an atmosphere of competition, parochialism, distrust, secrecy, and finger pointing.
As practitioners, you may ask yourself how globalization and corporate mergers and acquisitions affect you directly. In fact, in the new global culture, the world may now be beating a path to your doorway whether you are a production planner, manufacturing floor manager, or logistics specialist. While the Internet certainly is not the all-encompassing technology that some would have you believe, it has enabled all of us to perform real-time collaborative business processes with our colleagues on the other side of the world. Language barriers as a given, you can bet that there are other cultural differences that will impact your performance if you are not prepared to accept them and act accordingly. Therefore, understanding the differences and finding ways to improve productivity by exploiting the positive aspects of these differences will help you become an integral part of your new organization. As we noted earlier, the opportunity to "internation-alize management" is seen as a competitive strength of a global company.
To succeed in this new environment, you will also need to develop new skills. These skills will include cross-functional expertise, databased decision-making and analytical skills, team development and facilitation skills, and an ever-growing awareness of your industry and its competition . The APICS CIRM course of study is one way in which you can acquire and hone these new requirements. In addition, it is guaranteed that your organization will continue to change and transition. One of the greatest attributes that you can offei is the ability to adapt, integrate, and continue lifelong learning and personal and professional development.
The need for a new culture is recognized as critical even to the governments of countries that invest heavily in the global marketplace. In fact, the Japanese government appointed a panel to study this very issue and released findings that suggested that success in the global market would necessitate a societal and business model that looks more "cross cultural" . One member of the panel, Makoto lokibe, a political science professor, commented, "We shouldn't be afraid of globalization," going on to say, "...if we want to keep our identity, want to 'be Japanese' and refuse global impact, we will be miserable Japanese isolated from the world. People will be complaining about how Japan is being bypassed again." Mr. lokibe suggests that his countrymen can still be very Japanese and yet accept and integrate those business culture manifestations that have gained worldwide acceptance.
In this paper, we have drawn a roadmap that links strategy, business systems, infrastructure, organizational culture, and professional development as a basis for
integrating global hierarchies today. We believe that the phenomenon of mergers and acquisitions will continue, perhaps at an even more frantic pace, and will undoubtedly impact the careers of our fellow APICS practitioners. Armed with the APICS body of knowledge, and the roadmap presented herein, practitioners can play a vital role in helping their organizations reach global competitiveness.
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