Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Studies Journal

Identification of International Marketing Manager Competencies: A Tri-Country Study

Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Studies Journal

Identification of International Marketing Manager Competencies: A Tri-Country Study

Article excerpt


Two of the greatest challenges facing business schools are the identification of required international competencies and the development of appropriate curricula. As global business intensity increases, the wide variety of international business positions produces an expansive list of required skills, and the educator is often forced to provide only a cursory coverage of a seemingly endless list of course topics (Abboushi, Lackman, & Peach, 1999; Arthur & Bennett, 1995).

In order to provide a market-oriented international business curriculum the educator must focus his/her educational efforts not only on specific positions, but also on the outcomes or competencies that the business community seeks (Javalgi et al., 1997). This study identifies the skills required of a specific international marketing position based upon input from marketing executives from three global powers and illustrates how these skills can be incorporated into a competency-based business curriculum.


A great deal of U.S. international educational effort to date has been placed on the expatriate. Still, the mixed success of U.S. expatriates compels one to question either the proper identification of expatriate competencies or the ability of the educational community to address them. An estimated 60% of U.S. expatriates sent on foreign assignments return prematurely (Copeland & Griggs, 1985). With costs of overseas assignments ranging from $300,000 to over $1 million, one can understand why firms may be concerned with both the poor levels of performance of their expatriates and possibly the educational community's ability to train them (Yates, 1994).

Due in part to the limited success of U.S. expatriates, many firms are now employing domestically-based international marketing managers (D-BIMMs) as alternatives to, or supplements for, expatriates. In this way, firms eliminate relocation issues such as family-related problems, which account for the most commonly cited causes for expatriate failure (Tung, 1982). Thus, firms are better able to control costs and reduce risks while still maintaining an overseas presence. Unfortunately, the ability of U.S. educational institutions to establish performance components for D-BIMMs is hampered because most international management studies have been limited to overseas assignments (Arthur & Bennett, 1995).


Researchers have only recently begun to investigate the international business knowledge and skills deemed necessary by business practitioners (Bush & Bush, 1998). Attention to perspectives of practitioners located outside of the United States has been given even less consideration in spite of the glaring need to address both domestic and international requirements in the development of a global curriculum. A further focus on domestically-based international marketing managers has been nearly absent from the literature to date. Perhaps this explains why only 23.2% of marketing majors feel their schools have done a "good job" of preparing them for a potential career in international business (Turley & Shannon, 1999).

Unfortunately, the work that has been done in identifying the development of required competencies for international assignments has produced intriguing, yet inconsistent, results (Arthur & Bennett, 1995; Beamish & Calof, 1989; Buhro et al., 1989-1990; Hart, Tucker & Muehasam, 1993, 1994; Kobrin, 1984). More recent research such as Bush's and Bush's (1998) goes into some detail regarding the particular skills and characteristics deemed important by experienced international business practitioners. The authors identify 4 categories of skills including 34 specific skills thought to be of importance to if MBAs are to be successful in international business. Lundstrom and White (1997) compare and contrast the importance that marketing academicians and practitioners place on 62 skill and research areas traditionally associated with international marketing education. …

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