Ann M. Johnston, Fielding's School of Human & Organizational Development
This qualitative study is grounded in global leadership development theory and explores the theoretical concept of global mindset. Global mindset is the combination of an internal and external way of being in the world where global leaders actively seek to engage and reflect upon perspectives and orientations that both complement and contradict their own worldview. Short-term international assignments, including business travel, provide the context in this study for participant reflection on their development as global leaders.
Through the explication of the narratives of 16 global supply chain leaders within a multinational corporate setting, global leader development in real world contexts is reflected upon as a continuous evolution over time that is focused less on becoming a cultural expert and more on being culturally responsive in order to build relationships and achieve business results. These findings challenge the prevailing primacy of expatriate assignments as the preferred development strategy for global leaders.
Contrary to that prevailing notion that becoming a global leader requires immersion in another culture for an extended period of time is the reality that global leadership development, in particular the development of global mindset, is occurring through short-term international assignments that are significantly underrepresented in the literature. This study contributes to research and practice related to global mindset, cultural sense-making, and culturally responsive global leadership.
Key Words: global leadership development; global mindset; narrative; short-term international assignments