Are “Transnationals” The New Global Executives ?

English: transnational global interconnectedness

English: transnational global interconnectedness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just read this interesting article about the impact of globalization on education and job market and the rise of the ‘transnationals”. 

With globalization, doing business across multiple countries simultaneously is the new normal for global executives who must have international experience gained through performing work with global responsibilities and cross-cultural exposure. Companies need managers and leaders who understand various markets and cultures and able to develop local talent by sharing corporate values and best practices across all levels of the organization. Living in one or more different countries is now  considered mandatory for executives working for transnational corporations.

In the past, emerging economies like China or India had massive exodus to Western countries but in the current economic climate, many of these expatriates are returning home.

The “transnational ” executives face different career and personal challenges than the traditional expatriates or those who remain in their home countries. The  new “global careerists” need new tools to manage their international careers and life abroad

Some definitions:

Expatriates lived in one or more country but they identify with their native nation. The word “expat” is often used to caricature people who have a certain social and economic status sent abroad by big global companies. They typically stays 3 to 5 years in the same country and have much more benefits and salaries than “locals”. I wrote in another article that this type of expats have a tendency to disappear for  the “new expat executive”, a kind of hybrid combining the low-cost local manager with advanced knowledge of cross-cultural issues and global leadership including technical expertise usually brought by a traditional expatriate executive.

The “Third Culture Adult” or TCA: David Pollock and Ruth Van Reken describe in their book “Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds”, children who grow up in a land that’s not their parents’ homeland. They become a part of a third culture that sets them apart from others without this experience. A global executive should be able to build a third culture among multiple cultures including corporate and local ones and develop competencies that bridge different social groups in terms of management style, cultural sensitivities and social networks.

Transnationals lived in two or more countries but  don’t consider being part of one nation in particular, borders don’t exist in their minds. Those cross-border migrants consider more than one place ‘home’. Transnational corporations operate in more than one country or nation at a time, so does a “transnational” executive. Transnationalism refers also to cross-border social networks, diaspora, political or religious groups and organisations. Transnationals may be able to plan their career abroad without the help of a company based “home”. Transnationals typically speak at least two or more different languages and are aware of cultural differences from various social groups.

The term “transnationals” is very seldom used compared to the term “expatriates” but I think the definition is becoming closer to the “new global executive” that multinational companies need today.

What do you think ?

About Anne Egros

Zest and Zen is a blog about Expat Life Challenges, Global Leadership, Intercultural Communication, Health and Wellness, Nutrition, Change Psychology, Life Transitions
This entry was posted in Career, Cross cultural, Executive Coaching, Global Economy, Global Executives, HR Management, TCKs and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Are “Transnationals” The New Global Executives ?

  1. Pingback: Is Expatriation an Addiction? | Anne Egros, Intercultural Executive Coach

  2. Natasha Bergenvik says:

    Hi Anne, I find your Transnational category very apt and definitely something we are moving more towards.

    There are no boundaries, only that in our minds, to be successful in business as well as life we have to understand people, whatever culture or traditions and not approach things so bullishly. However this is experience you can only get from living in many different countries and operating your own business.
    I will definitely refer to myself as a Transnational from now on, thank you!

  3. cedricj says:

    As someone who has been the citizen in three countries and now living in a 4th (Mexico) I don’t quite know where I would fit in your categories. I guess “flexible transnational” or “world citizen” would probably fit. But then since I vote and pay taxes in the USA that muddies the water even more. What do you think Anne?

  4. Pingback: Expat definition maze | expatsincebirth

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