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2014 Vol.2
Global Group Management and Globally Competitive Professionals


The objective of the recent overseas expansion by Japanese companies reveals a shift from their objective in the past: They now seek a new primary market for their business which can substitute for the shrinking Japanese market, whereas before they aimed at secondary market entry or cost reduction through overseas production while keeping their main focus on business in Japan. For this reason, Japanese companies expanding overseas have the need for a system with appropriate risk management, that allows them to conduct overseas expansions without concern, and their heightened interest in hiring and training globally competitive professionals seems to reflect such circumstances. However, only a few companies have a concrete idea of the kinds of responsibilities assigned to globally competitive professionals, and for many companies their words lack specificity. As for overseas subsidiaries, much of their attention is paid to issues involving management-related tasks such as those associated with personnel, accounting, and legal matters, and supposedly the challenge is a lack of human resources for management of overseas subsidiaries. Against this background, this paper provides an overview of the kind of management needed for companies’global-level activities, as well as of relevant issues. This paper clarifies the following. (1) At the initial stage of overseas expansion, the headquarters and outside experts provide substantial support, which often turns out to be effective. Therefore, there is not much need for globally competitive managers at overseas subsidiaries. (2) As the business expands to multiple countries, there tends to be less support from the headquarters. Also, since the system developed with help from outside experts at the time of establishing overseas subsidiaries becomes outdated, it is desirable to assign appropriate managers to these subsidiaries. (3) At a stage where global-level operational optimization is explored as the proportion of overseas sales increases, it is desirable that globally competitive professionals be assigned to the headquarters, where they can consider the situations of multiple overseas subsidiaries and align them with group strategies.