Keywords: strategy, organisational change, globalisation, leadership, general managers, managerial role, strategic management, critical thinking, change management
The evolving role of general managers in today's global organisations
Globalisation trends and rapidly evolving technologies have stimulated greater cross–border flows and increased the complexity of managing global organisations. As a result, the traditional role of general managers as 'generalists' has increasingly fallen out of favour. General management, which once formed the nucleus of training in business schools, has largely been replaced by specialised courses such as quality management, entrepreneurship, and innovation and technology. Uncertainty and volatility in world markets, however, underline the continued importance of general managers who possess broad strategic and critical thinking skills that enable them to manage increasingly complex organisations in a global business environment. This paper examines the evolving role of the general manager from an analytical to strategic thinker, who is capable of leading increasingly complex businesses, organising globally dispersed assets, managing a wider range of stakeholders, and responding to rapid technological and global change.