Survey: Cultural Understanding Most Valued Skill for Global Managers

October 19, 2004 ( - Cultural understanding is the most valued of all skills for global managers, a Columbia Business School study says.

A study taken by the Columbia Business School’s Executive Education division at a seminar for global managers shows that 50% of respondents thought that cultural understanding was the key attribute for people in their line of work. The study also found that people skills (30%) and communications (30%) were also highly valued traits.

Respondents also overwhelmingly believed that general managers were getting younger. Almost two-thirds (64%) of global managers surveyed though that people were being put in that position at a younger age, compared to only 6.7% who thought general managers were getting older. Global executives were evenly divided between yes and no on whether it was getting easier to attain this job position compared to five years ago.

Respondents also stated that most global team meetings, despite massive technological advances, were done in person. Almost half (49.4%) of respondents global team meetings were done in person, compared to 25.3% by conference call, 18% through instant messenger, and only 4.5% over video conference or webcast.

The respondents were attendees at a Columbia Executive Education seminar entitled “Executive Development Program: The Transition to General Management.”