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International Business and Strategy


Team Meetings or Ritualized Events? How (Not) to Build Effective Leadership Teams

Bert A. Spector

In the following post, D’Amore-McKim School of Business Associate Professor Bert Spector examines President Trump’s recent inaugural cabinet meeting as an example of how leadership personality and meeting style can impact overall organization function.

In the first few minutes of President Donald Trump’s inaugural cabinet meeting, the President seemingly encouraged all participants to, one by one, offer their allegiance, loyalty, and gratefulness for the opportunity to serve his agenda. They used words like, “privileged,” “deeply honored,” and even “blessed.” The President smiled broadly and nodded, and then compared his accomplishments to the monumental first 100 days of Franklin Roosevelt’s first term in the midst of the Great Depression. It was a bizarre spectacle – a president seeking and receiving adulation from his handpicked top governmental advisors.

But it was more. It was a display– televised for all to see – of how not to construct an effective leadership team to oversee a large, dynamic, complex organization.

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“Get With the Program or Go” and Other Lessons of Leadership

Bert A. Spector

Bert A. Spector

In the following post, D’Amore-McKim School of Business Associate Professor Bert Spector shares his thoughts on leadership strategy in the Trump administration.

“These career bureaucrats have a problem with it?” said Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary. The “it” he referenced was Donald Trump’s January 27, 2017, executive order concerning immigration. “They should either get with the program or they can go.”

Get with the program or go! Who among us hasn’t at some time or another wanted to say that? It’s a thought that may provide comfort in times of uncertainty, turmoil, and change. But does it really represent good leadership? My short answer: not even close.

In my recently published book Discourse on Leadership, I analyze prevailing attitudes toward resistance and obedience on the part of followers to the direction of leaders. I point to Chester Barnard’s classic 1938 study of the functions of an executive, in which he noted that for organizations to achieve their goals, individual members would be required, to some extent, to subordinate themselves to the collective. That modifier, to some extent, offers a powerful insight for all executive leaders.  Read more…


New kids on the block: The rise of emerging-market multinationals


Ravi Ramamurti

In the following post, D’Amore-McKim School of Business Distinguished Professor Ravi Ramamurti answers questions on the role of emerging markets in the global economy.

Q: How important are firms from emerging markets in driving global flows of foreign direct investment (FDI)?

As recently at 1990, multinational corporations (MNCs) from developed countries dominated global flows of foreign direct investment. These countries accounted for nearly 95% of outward FDI flows, and almost 85% of those flows went to other developed countries. In other words, emerging economies were not important as sources or destinations of FDI. They were peripheral to the global economy.

Fast forward to 2015 and the situation is very different. Today, emerging economies account for 40% of the world’s outward FDI and 55% of its inward FDI. In 2014, they invested over $500 billion abroad. This is surprising, because poor countries are supposed to import capital from rich countries, not export it.

Emerging markets are attracting more FDI than ever before, because their economies have high growth potential. At the same time, as firms in these countries gained international competitiveness they have aspired to become global like their rich-country counterparts.

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Multinationals and Performance: Policy Implications

Cuervo-Cazurra-Alvaro-194x199International business strategy expert Alvaro Cuervo-Cazurra shares insight on the implications of outward foreign direct investment in emerging economies.

Q: Is government support important for a firm that is considering transforming to multinational?

Government support is not a requirement for expanding abroad but can be useful. It can help the company deal with the challenges inherent in foreign expansion, especially at the beginning when managers and employees may have limited knowledge on how to operate in other countries.

Q: Can outward foreign direct investment of emerging economies help build economic performance?

Outward foreign direct investment in emerging economies can help companies improve their competitiveness by exposing them to new ideas abroad that can lead to innovation at home. It can also help them obtain more sophisticated capabilities from alliances with and acquisitions of companies that have advanced technologies. All this has positive spillovers in the home country as firms with foreign direct investment, i.e., multinationals, transfer their capabilities directly to their suppliers and distributors via training and indirectly to other competitors that copy their actions, ultimately helping the country upgrade and develop.  Read more…