It seems clear that experience matters as it relates to providing quality leadership in the global arena however, identifying just what type of leadership that might entail and what kinds of experiences matter is difficult to ascertain. For many organizations, Gillette for example address the growing strategic importance of leadership by implementing an international trainee program that exposed candidates for global assignments to corporate planning and strategy formulation prior to transfer overseas (Novicevic & Harvey, 2004). Providing these experiences are not without their risk; high costs, inability to guarantee career progression (Stahl et al; 2002), dual career family constraints, culture shock, and applicability of capabilities gained (Dickmann & Harris, 2005) during an international assignment all present considerable dilemmas .
Despite these problems, many organizations and individuals continue to believe that the experience gained will increase the global competence of the leader (Harris, et al, 2003). With the high cost of international assignments not only must the leader gain experiences they must be comfortable with re-learning, attaining new attitudes and ways of thinking, (McCall & Hollenbeck, 2002) and then they must mentor and coach those in the organization back at Headquarters. In other words the experience of one must be developed into the experiences of many if the organization is going to be truly global; knowledge of any kind does little good if it is hoarded by a select few.
Dickmann, M., & Harris, H. (2005). Developing career capital for global careers: The role of international assignments. Journal of World Business, 40(4), 399-408.
Harris, H., Brewster, C., & Sparrow, P. (2003). International human resource management. London: CIPD Publishing.
McCall, M. W., & Hollenbeck, G. P. (2002). Developing global executives: The lessons of international experience. Boston: Harvard Business Press.
Novicevic, M. M., & Harvey, M. G. (2004). The political role of corporate human resource management in strategic global leadership development. The Leadership Quarterly, 15(4), 569-588.
Stahl, G. K., Miller, E. L., & Tung, R. L. (2002). Toward the boundaryless career: a closer look at the expatriate career concept and the perceived implications of an international assignment. Journal of World Business, 37(3), 216-227.