A long time ago, doing business abroad was a luxury. Countries were not particularly happy with the investors who came from abroad, and only few businesses could expect to join the global market. The world was much more reserved, and governments thought of potential threats rather than benefits of foreign businesses. But everything changed with the end of the cold war. Artificial borders vanished between countries that introduced friendly trade agreements. Third world countries started to develop their economies and became closer to their Western sponsors. The internet made the whole world accessible here and now.
In the condition of rapidly growing international markets, businesses have the best opportunity for expansion. More than 95% of income opportunities lie outside the US, and American companies try to benefit from them. Emerging markets in India, Latin America, and Eastern Europe stimulate businesses to invest and outsource.
Another important trend that emerged due to globalization is a strong corporate social responsibility and ethics. Economic expansion made companies care about their positive brand image, and they invest a lot into maintaining a positive reputation. No big business wants scandals around the violation of workers’ rights, child labor, or unethical treatment of employees. A strong social responsibility is an obligatory condition for big businesses that put too much on stake.
And the most expected consequence of globalization is an increased brand equity. A multinational brand can push their industrial capacities to the economies that develop most rapidly and it can be represented in dozens of countries. Multiple revenue opportunities are not a miracle but a chance every business can take.
Owners and consumers usually have a different perception of brands. While owners incorporate their aspirations in the brand, customers evaluate it according to advertising, social and environmental strategies, charities, public events etc. While many companies think they know best what their brand is, that is not true. Because the customer perception shapes the brand, and the perception of owners does not matter if customers are not satisfied with the brand. There are several components of brand perception that make up the brand’s image. As long as customers think positively of brands, people will remain loyal to these companies.
Customer brand perception is based on the brand image, company image, employee trust, company trust, price, and service quality. Potential customers who have not purchased from the brand yet draw conclusions from the public brand image, the company image, the number of customers, and price of products. Current customers take into account the quality of received services and their price. Positive customer perception is the core condition of developing loyalty to the brand.
Positive brand perception may come out of the customer’s personal experience, and it may be based on brand’s public image. Some customers positively perceive brands that are on everyone’s lips. Interestingly, people think better of brands that conduct intense marketing campaigns and have an army of loyal customers. Little-known businesses usually cause suspicions, and people are less likely to try their products if brands have few customers so far. However, firms operating in the niche markets gradually change this trend providing superb services to few of their customers.
Diversity in the workplace is as natural as a green grass in summer. The US has a strikingly diverse population, first of all, in terms of its ethnic origin. Religion, culture, and social background also matter. No wonder, all these people search for employers who would not discriminate them at the very least. Many companies employ the diverse workforce to better approach the client. But diversity is also important to increase cultural competence and ethnic tolerance in the workplace.
Hiring more diverse people in their teams, managers seek innovation. Diversity of thought is what they are interested in. People of a different gender, race, socioeconomic background have a different education and a unique opinion on things. Uniting all these people, managers let all of them learn from each other and become better in communication and business activity. Creating comfortable conditions for people of all backgrounds, leaders facilitate learning and make another step to a desirable innovation.
Hiring more women, employers give them higher chances to become leaders. Statistically, women take no more than 25% of managerial positions all over the world. Leaders do not deny that they still have a ‘glass ceiling’ that separates women from top leadership. But data show that it may be more important to let women take the charge. The research conducted among the UK leaders defined that 10% of female managers were strategic leaders as compared to 7% of male managers. Companies need more strategic leaders who are more flexible in their practices. Hiring more women would help companies to fight gender bias in the workplace and in the leadership.
Despite employers have been hiring people for ages, the notion of leadership emerged only in the 20th century. American engineer Frederick Winslow Taylor changed the way managers interact with employees by breaking the production process into several parts and training employees to specialize in one specific stage. The innovation brought maximum efficiency, and Taylor became the father of scientific management. Apparently, the change in the mindset happened as the consequence of the Industrial Revolution. But leadership styles developed on principles of psychology rather than economy.
Back in the 20th century, employers considered leadership to be an inborn quality. Leaders were thought to have certain inborn traits that allowed them to take effective decisions in crisis. ‘Taylorists’ believed that one leadership style fits all, and the approach did not last long. Yet in 1939, organizational psychologist Kurt Lewin issued the publication in which he differentiated autocratic, democratic, and Laissez Faire models of leadership. The three types required different extent of decision-making power from the leader. By the 1970s, more scholars proposed their own theories on leadership. American social psychologist Dr. Rensis Likert introduced the notions of exploitative authoritative leadership, benevolent authoritative leadership, consultative, and participative leadership. They were characterized by a different concern of the leader towards their employees. Professor of management Dr. Gary Yukl described similar styles with different names.
By the end of the 20th century, situational leadership came in vogue. The approach was developed by Dr. Paul Hersey and Dr. Ken Blanchard and involved leaders who directed, coached, and supported their employees as well as delegated some responsibilities to them. Leadership styles of the 21st century have much in common with situational leadership that has little to do with early leadership styles.
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