Global Preparedness and Human Resources

College and Corporate Perspectives

by Tora K. Bikson, Sally Ann Law

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Developed nations are moving rapidly toward a more global, interlinked economy, a trend that is expected to result in profound organizational and social changes. Using replicated case studies of 16 corporate and 16 academic institutions, this research explored the ways in which U.S. corporations and institutions of higher education understand globalism, their perceptions of its human resource implications, their responses to these implications, and ways in which they might respond more effectively. The findings of the study suggest that (1) corporations must do a better job developing and sustaining their human resources if they are to compete successfully; (2) colleges, facing stiff challenges, should make better use of the cultural diversity of their student bodies to cultivate cross-cultural competence, provide incentives (and, if possible, resources) to faculty to develop new courses or adapt existing ones to address globalism, and seek closer relationships with corporations; and (3) students who intend to enter fields affected by globalism should strive to develop not only their domain knowledge, but also their generic skills and cross-cultural competence.

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