“Most conflicts are based on black and white thinking, the fear of devaluation, and the threat to one’s own (cultural) identity. There is one level, though, the global mindset, on which black is also white.”
I often hear that mindset is everything. This common knowledge is used in various contexts and as a ‘tool’ to reach different goals. “If you just put your mind on it, you can get it” became a standard approach in the personal development business. While it’s a good thing to have that knowledge and skill in one’s individual toolbox, I’m also interested in how humanity can achieve a mindset that brings the whole species forward as a whole. From an Awareness Intelligence perspective, my area of research and practice as a psychologist, it is about how to learn to set our minds for increased (if not maximum) true diversity and inclusiveness; something I consider to be crucial if we want to address a more peaceful world. I have written a lot (also in this collaborative) about Awareness intelligence. In terms of the topic of mindset, the concept of ‘global mindset’ possibly comes closest to what I mean.
Mindset: Where’s your attention?
At its heart, mindset is an attention-based approach to performance and for describing a global mindset, therefore, ‘international attention’ – attention to global strategic issues, attention to international beliefs and issues, can be used. How does international attention occur? In accordance with research, for example, traveling to foreign locations or discussing international issues fosters cosmopolitan thinking and behavior. I’ve experienced that during my international work and life as an expatriate in Japan. At the same time, my work as a psychologist and artist involves a high degree of a growth mindset, which might be positively influencing the development of a global mindset. For example, by expanding my horizon, I could fill in some of the blind spots of a fixed psychological map that all too often results in automatic judgment based on cultural understanding. Having a cultural identity makes people’s life easier; many do rely on cultural notions of categories of people to predict others, rather than considering people as individuals, and they favor people they consider to be members of their group. That provides for the human basic need for stability, respectively a sense of safety. in contrast, some people can overcome fear and enjoy more risky, complex, and elaborate thinking, and who are more willing to reexamine initial notions in light of new information. These are the ones who often are attracted to art, theoretical disciplines, and philosophy. But it can take them a long time to decide. Sometimes too long. Or never!
The development of intercultural sensitivity
Intercultural sensitivity is a helpful model for developing a global mindset. Intercultural sensitivity is high when one can adapt to add new behaviors to be more effective in moving in between cultures. In this model from Milton Bennet (1993), the experience of (cultural) difference is moving from more ethnocentric to more ethnorelative stages as follows:
Denial: “I don’t think there’s any other way.”
Defense: “My way is the best.”
Minimization: “What we have in common is more important.”
Adaptation: “I’m adding new behaviors to be more effective in a cross-cultural environment.”
Integration: “I can move in between cultures.”
Personal development towards a global mindset is a hard process because discrepancies between global and situational meaning cause distress. In fact, most conflict is based on the fear of invalidation, the threat of one’s (cultural) identity. A high degree of self-reflection, fearless self-questioning, and openness to commit to giving up privileges and support unity in diversity is required. In short, tremendous effort is required to reduce the distressful discrepancy between situational and global meanings.
Instructions for global information processing
Views that are limited to narrow social boundaries are inhibiting the development of social networks. Such symptoms and communicative isolation in their most extreme forms are characteristics of autism, a distinctly defined illness since the 1940s. The good news is: People lacking more global information processing can be instructed to improve. Humanity is not ill, but it definitively requires instructions on how to develop higher levels of awareness to connect sincerely with others. Interestingly, the availability of more and more global information (i.e., the Internet) did not increase the state of humanity’s global mindset. Instead of teaching how to justify current political structures, which are always local, we should educate on how to become global citizens who care for all.
A shift from cultural competence to Awareness Intelligence
Global citizenship is not a travel lifestyle, it should rather be an attitude of compassion. Multi-relational ability in the sense of Awareness Intelligence is a precondition for cross-cultural competence but goes beyond as it is culture-neutral. Any travel starts within! Cultural competence can be developed by putting one’s feet in another’s shoes. Awareness Intelligence (see also related articles on www.mathias-sager.com), however, is putting one’s consciousness in another’s soul. This will not only enable us to experience some different walks of life but to learn to qualify all of life’s souls. Real and lasting change comes from the level of mental models that enable awareness. Only if the deep-rooted individual mindsets shift towards forming a regenerated collective of deculturized societal structures, human behavioral patterns will start to change accordingly as well. That’s the utopian world of my dreams, the passion in my teachings, the goal of my art, and my deepest belief that it’s still possible; for the benefit of the individual and the common good alike.
Think about personal development as a
threefold set of understanding, that includes the psychology of learning,
leadership, respectively self-leadership psychology, as well as developing a
growth and global mindset. Growth always starts with you. This short program
provides you with the knowledge, which, if you internalize and apply it, can
radically change your behavior, and consequently, the results you produce, in
your personal and professional life.
This recording contains progressive views and in-depth background information in a summarized way. Therefore, especially if you did not attend any prior program of mine, I recommend that you repeatedly listen to the following 99 ways to grow the learner and leader in you.
Human beings have an innate curiosity. The bigger the world, the bigger the field for exciting discoveries. The broader one’s awareness, the broader the grid available to navigate the human mind and cartograph the explorations. There are three entry points to universal humantime:
The mind-travel to before birth,
the travel into parallel time, and
the one to after death.
They all represent different approaches respectively different combinations of dimensions of human relations and time. Like a room may have a door, a window, and a balcony, all three openings contribute to its well-lightening. All three Awareness Intelligence pointers together ultimately lead to the most profound possible enlightenment.
Is what we teach our children mutually beneficial for other children too?
Is our teaching inclusive and useful to all humanity?
Is it timeless?
If so, these are awareness-intelligent lessons worth to be spread. Such shared insights would come from and support full human potential. Unfortunately, the propagation of obscured views is in vogue. It seems like blind people are leading blind people and nobody realizes the lack of sight. Possible, because “in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is a king,” as the proverb goes. In any case, many do feel that there is something wrong. All the unnecessary conflicts and aggression are the awareness-blind persons’ desperate canes searching for a way out of disorientation and anticipating hurting clashes.
It’s the awareness-blind persons’ own helplessness and frustration that leads them to hatred, self-harming, and violent behavior.
Without prescribing a specific cure, it’s always possible to provide everybody in minimum a reference system to aid their orientation to find their cure themselves. If we teach humantime by means of explaining and internalizing the socio-temporal matrix, Awareness Intelligence, and therefore peace will ensue. If you want to re-produce your humanness beyond survival mode, create and enthusiastically inspire others by teaching how to consciously apply systematic thinking to activate the inner eye of awareness that is including the full scope of the socio-temporal system of human life.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), both obesity and hunger are increasing globally. According to foodaidorganization.org, one out of seven people is not able to live a healthy active life due to famine, while one-third of food globally is wasted. More than three million children under the age of five die every year because of poor nutrition.
How unaware must we be to allow worldwide military budgets whose weekly amount is as high as the costs of eradicating world hunger for a whole year?
If we help an affluent person getting richer, we get lavishly rewarded; to help a starving child, we have to do unpaid volunteering. This is the value system as reflected by the economic, capitalist system. No human being would agree with that if she or he was aware of what’s going on.We know the facts, but there is no thought reference system in place that prevents fallbacks into forgetting due to agreeing to narrow scopes and competitive win-lose thinking. All education aiming at providing individuals, companies, and nations competitive advantages obviously teach no better than to fragment our awareness on a specific level against others and become trapped in self-protecting unwholesome thought and behavior.
Children are asked to study the substantial features of the planet earth in school, but why don’t they systematically learn how to navigate the mental landscape too? Later on, given the money, people travel and report from the beautiful places and cultural objects around the world they have learned about in school as this would be a personal achievement in itself. Have they explored the people’s souls as well? Do they come back with lasting connections and solidarity with the people they have met on their journey? Why don’t we with the same passion and effort also mentally travel the collective human soul wherever we are and bring back its perpetuating sense of higher inclusiveness that would make the world a better place? Rather than mere geography, people should also be taught something like ‘mentography,’ respectively Awareness Intelligence as the science of how to get the chance to become a healthy and health-giving human being from early on. It’s possible to understand love in any context in any part of the cosmos.
Mental travel can bring us to all humanity, to all life at all times, even just within ourselves.
Instead of teaching how to justify current political structures, which are always local, we should educate for how to become global citizens who care for all. It’s not age, but rather learned self-efficacy and imagination that would create true wisdom. Children don’t have a history. Burdening our history on them is unfair. Let’s help them to build their own future.
Teaching attitude (which is the ‘how to do’), rather than knowledge about content (that is the ‘what to do’) would empower people to evolve from consumers to creators, from passive endurers to active shapers of their life. It has been proven over and over that people cannot count on current global economic practices in preventing them from being seduced into unhealthy, addictive, and otherwise harmful transactions. An awareness-intelligent person would not support the broad and public selling of toxic substances like nicotine by exploiting people’s longing for support in leading a happy life. Again, a branch of a tree would never try to harm branches of the same tree.
Is it really possible to change education and increase people’s awareness-related intelligence? Is it like a sorcerer’s seeming folly to insist in the impossibility to make bones for a jellyfish, as Carlos Castaneda in his book “A separate reality” pictures? Yes, and no. It’s not necessary to miraculously create some physical spine. However, everyone can insist on the possibility to teach humanity the use of Awareness Intelligence as a mental spine, which will reliably stabilize immoral forms of economies and societies in its own even more effective way. Cultivate an upright posture to reflect your awareness-intelligent mental attitude. Teaching the visualization of the socio-temporal matrix could well become the source of change towards a more stable world of flourishing human beings. The more Awareness Intelligence is practiced, and the more insight gained, the more interest awakens. As a result, a virtuous circle would establish ever more seeking of inspiration, which then leads to the continual sustainment and increase of intelligent awareness.
Awareness Intelligence, by appreciating individual differences, helps everybody in individually clarifying the most fundamental values of the humanity of which they are an equal part. When speaking about values in organizations, for example, corporate values, I think the term is misleading, and values should rather be named as what they are: interests.
What other values than human values can human beings have?
It’s absurd to put price tags on life, although wages, life insurances, and VIP statuses are doing precisely that. Based on the awareness-intelligent value of humantime, listening and servicing capacities in place of marketing and sales will meet the true human needs and find new solutions for unlocking people’s suppressed desires to be kindly and cooperatively of true, not only financial, value.
The new leaders of the 21st century will inspire the next generations through their display of Awareness Intelligence.
Progress, hard work, ambition, and desires will still play a role, but these will not be spent to aggravate excesses and addictions to harmful behavior. Mating will involve more show-casing of one’s true human qualities so that every Jack will find his Jill. The world of awareness won’t be built on scarcity anymore as the mental attitude is based on the constant knowing of the existing abundance and the possibility of its sharing to meet all the needs anybody in possession of the capacity of awareness can ever have. Exchange of genuineness and authenticity will evolve in which everyone will find whom and what she or he really wants and needs. Humanity will progress in its own favor by not focusing on the preservation of current privileges, but by empowering the next generation who will ask whether you have been an awareness-intelligent hero as well.
Empathic concern •Empathic concern goes beyond simply understanding others and sharing their feelings; it actually moves us to take action, to help however we can (https://www.inc.com)
Positive Empathy (and the avoidance of antipathy) can be taught! •The main roadblock to be removed is the distraction from paying attention. Motivate yourself to be more empathetic by knowing how important empathy is to personal (private and career) and collective well-being!
Emotional hypersensitivity •Emotional hypersensitivity does even sense covered negative emotions (Rozell, E., & Scroggins, W., 2010); Overdoses of negative feelings and pain of others may be a burden for anybody exposed to it (Young, E., 2016)
Misuse of empathy •Empathy can be for the good or the bad, e.g., not only for help, but for manipulation, bullying, and exert cruelty where it harms others most (Fairbairn, 2017)
Emotional contagion •Empathy for the physical and psychological suffering of others, can spread across a team. This is a relevant phenomenon for work places to address as it can cause depression and sickness. Some organizations, therefore, introduce stress-free zones (Young, E., 2016).
Social amplification of risk •Media plays a crucial role in reminding people of threats, coalition challenges, and feelings of uncertainty, which results in increases of the proclivity for prejudices against out-group members.
Empathic imagination •Imaginative empathy is one of the great gifts that humans have and it means that we can live more than one life. We can picture what it would be like from another perspective. – Dan Chaon
Strategic thinking involves SYSTEM THINKING, reframing (e.g., positive thinking), and reflection (e.g., evaluating one’s reasoning). Strategic thinking is best enabled in unforceful leadership communities and has positive effects on information seeking behavior (Pisapia, J., 2006)
A system thinker (as compared to a linear thinker) is able to improve the performance of a whole by not only improving its parts but by enhancing the RELATIONSHIPS AMONG THE KEY PARTS systemwide.
Often, solution approaches are rather reactive and focus on addressing symptoms rather than the underlying problems. CHANGES COMES AT THE LEVEL OF CULTURE, mindset, by regenerating MENTAL MODELS based on (self-) awareness.
Be aware of the heuristics (“rules of thumbs”) in DECISION-MAKING STRATEGIES. For important decision, mental shortcuts may rely too heavily on limited (personally available) and representative (personal image) information.
Although GLOBAL MOBILITY SURVEYS (BGRS, 2016) report the strategic importance of global mobility function for the competitive advantages of large organization, only 10% of the respondents answered that their company’s global mobility strategy is aligned with the broader talent agenda.
Immersion into international assignments/expatriation may foster more deep LEARNING ABOUT THE ‘HOW’ AND ‘WHY’ of how foreign cultures on the otherwise invisible level work. This can be beneficial for individual career capital and talent retention.
Different career trajectories (e.g., dual careers) require a more strategic ALIGNMENT OF LIFETIME STAGES AND CAREER STAGES that are integrated into the organization’s strategic direction.
Cultural tightness (independent of nationality, culture, and legislation for gender equality), in some organizations in some countries, hinders ADVOCATING WOMEN LEADERSHIP (Toh, Leonardelli, 2013)
REVERSE/BACKWARD MENTORING can help to bring together the younger generations’ digital talent and the older colleagues rich experience, while providing both a possibility to engage and develop (Claire, 2011).
More PROFESSIONAL FREEDOM, MEANINGFUL WORK, and WORK-LIFE BALANCE tend to constitute job characteristics increasingly crucial as a high-level tendency across different cultures. The question remains how far these can be achieved in environments of fierce competition and profit requirements.
All courses are based on latest research and consistently assume a cross-cultural and cooperative perspective. The courses aim to equip the participants with practical tools for personal and career success and can be tailored to your needs, on-site and through eLearning.
All the lessons are available as focused lectures or interactive workshop and are complemented with accompanying material, further readings, exercises, group works, and quizzes/tests.
I’m standing with my name for it.
Multi-Disciplinary: Combining knowledge from psychology, art, technology, and business for holistic approaches.
Cross-Cultural: Using cross-cultural competencies and agility to bridge cultural gaps for the benefit of our diverse participants.
Inter-Generational: Empowering to learn, strategize, and develop with tailored solutions according to lifespan development.
To understand the psychological and behavioural processes on which lasting learning results from experience.
In this course, participants will get input about major learning theories and get to understand of how humans do learn, process and remember information. Course participants will also consider and get examples on how practitioners can use these theories to explain behavior in cross-cultural contexts.
To provide participants an understanding of leadership from a psychological perspective, and to examine the impact of culture on leadership success.
In this course, participants will study leadership challenges from a several different psychological perspectives, gaining an understanding of more or less effective leadership styles across different cultures and contexts, and the ethical use of power and influence.
To develop an understanding of the psychological aspects around human capital development, cultural agility, and the impact and effectiveness of different global talent management strategies.
This course explores the interaction between personality, leadership types, and individual learning styles. Course participants will evaluate the psychological concept of talent and study the criteria for attracting, retaining and developing talent globally. Participants will also consider the effectiveness and fairness of global talent management strategies and their impact at individual and organizational levels.
The course ‘Developing Leadership Skills’ is a compelling summary of latest research and good practices that may well become your passport to explore new ways of effective leadership styles, increased levels of motivation, and untapped creativity.
Whether you are an HR practitioner, an aspiring or current leader, an executive coach, or a student, this logically structured course will help you in becoming personally and professionally more effective and efficient. You are offered practical tools for insight and understanding of your possible
roles in team situations,
conflict management style,
successful negotiation strategies,
better decision-making, as well as
unlocking of your innovation capacity.
The goal of this course is to make sure you will find answers to the questions that are relevant for personal growth and a thriving career. Compact, straightforward, and with numerous references to further information, the interdisciplinary, innovative, and cross-cultural knowledge and perspectives presented in the twelve short lectures will benefit your well-being and success as a dynamic leader and the common good alike.
Mathias’ transferable skills and experience are in education, business administration, advisory, risk management, and psychology and learning & development to facilitate change from a cross-cultural perspective. He has led quality and complex programs successfully working with diverse teams and collaborating interdisciplinary with stakeholders to achieve innovative solutions. Mathias has worked as a teacher, a leadership trainer, as well as a senior manager responsible for client relationships, counseling, and virtual teams around the world. Also, he’s a social entrepreneur and serving as a strategy and leadership advisor for various clients.
Cross-cultural developmental psychology
Psychology of Learning
Global Talent Management (GTM)
Leadership and Business Administration
Strategic Thinking, ICT, and Risk and Program Management
Visiting Researcher at University of Tokyo (Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies)
Founder of the Platform Cooperativism Japan (PCJ) Consortium
Research collaboration related to the PCJ
Strategy Advisory and Project Management Services for International Technology Companies in Japan and India
Strategy and concept
Branding, Marketing, and P&R
Occasional Instructor Leadership & Organizational Development at J-Globalgroup
Conceptualization of a Learning & Development model
Event facilitator and Instructor
Senior Manager | Financial Services (Advisory) at Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC
Global lead and coordination of IT advisory, risk, assurance, and compliance projects for Japanese and International clients in the Financial Services sector
Team leader and counselor in the International IT Risk and Assurance practice
Cross-service line and multidisciplinary team and business development
Senior Manager, Advisory Services | EMEIA Financial Services, Ernst & Young AG
Advisory Services IT Risk and Assurance Insurance Services Team Leader Switzerland
Learning champion for the national IT Advisory practice, including design and deployment of learning maps, including the coordination and delivery of training and recruitment
Design, implementation and lead of project management office services
Trainer/Lecturer at the Akademie der Treuhandkammer (academy of the Institute of Certified Accountants and Tax Consultants)
Conception and realization (train the trainer and lecturer) of the Modules “Audit” and “Professional Judgment: Process oriented audit”
Trainer for Leadership Communication at the Centre for Information and Communication of the Swiss Army (ZIKA)
Leadership communication and conﬂict management trainer for public services personnel
Communications manager of the Center for Information and Communications of the Swiss Army
High School Teacher, Rupperswil
Class tutor, all courses
Cross-cultural developmental psychology
Psychology of Learning
Global Talent Management (GTM)
Leadership, Business Administration, and Project Management
-Diploma in Psychology (MSc program University of Liverpool), 2016 – 2018
-Executive MBA in ICT Management, University of Fribourg, 2010 – 2014
-Bachelor in Information Management, IFA, 2005 – 2007
-Postgraduate Certificate in Crisis Communication, 2006 – 2006
-Bachelor in Education Science, University of Neuchâtel, Higher Pedagogical Institute, Zofingen, 1995 – 1998
Summary. In the light of uncertain future threatening outcomes, present ambiguous information often is interpreted more negatively than it would be the case in a safe context. Black-and-white thinking is hindering positive deciphering of ambiguous information. People educated in open-mindedness and who have learned to tolerate ambiguity can better persevere in their tolerance even in situations of danger. Individuals’ dependencies on hierarchical power can cause closed mental systems that are increasingly unable to tolerate differences, ambiguities, and uncertainties. The promotion of hope might be a useful approach to reduce uncertainty intolerance that leaves more room for thoughtful and empathic decisions. It will be crucial how we instill hope and support our children to live constructively with uncertainties while retaining a high tolerance for ambiguity and open-mindedness as required to find the solutions sought for the benefit of all. What are your learnings from uncertain/ambiguous situations and how did you learn to develop a tolerance for it?
The difference between ‘uncertainty’ and ‘ambiguity’
Intolerance of Uncertainty and Intolerance of Ambiguity often have been confused. Although IU and IA are overlapping concepts, they can be differentiated as follows: Intolerance of uncertainty refers future negative events that cause worries, and intolerance for ambiguity refers to adverse stimuli in the present . Also, intolerance of uncertainty is built on the fact that information on outcomes of a situation is missing while intolerance for ambiguity is characterized by ambivalent or conflicting information available on the situation .
The effect of intolerance for uncertainty on tolerance for ambiguity
As per the discussion around the article https://www.mathias-sager.com/2018/06/12/tolerance-for-ambiguity-as-a-gateway-to-leadership-opportunity/ it became clear to me that tolerance for ambiguity respectively Intolerance for Ambiguity might be dependent a lot on context too. Thanks to all the involved for triggering that further research. While having assumed general business situations in times of relative peace in democratic countries in the last article, individual’s behavior in highly stressful (e.g., military) conditions in threatening environments needs to be looked at specifically, including both the concepts of uncertainty and ambiguity. I hope this article can contribute to that discussion.
Tolerance for ambiguity of an individual can be reduced in the context of threat through uncertainty, and especially when there is increased intolerance of uncertainty. In other words, in the light of uncertain future threatening outcomes, present ambiguous information is interpreted more negatively than it would be the case in a safe context . Besides, not only the threat itself but the possibly stronger propagation of stereotyping (e.g., of enemies) might promote black-and-white thinking that is hindering an open mindset as required to positively decipher ambiguous information. People educated in open-mindedness and who have learned to tolerate ambiguity can better persevere in their tolerance even in situations of danger .
We generally have a choice between concern and cruelty. But as the example above showed, sometimes not-so-obvious factors influence our predispositions for one of the options because intolerance for an ambiguous situation, induced by threats of uncertainty, may trigger reactions of self-defense based on uncontrolled prejudices. Interviewing perpetrators in the Rwanda genocide revealed that individuals’ dependencies on hierarchical power caused closed mental systems unable to tolerate differences, ambiguities, and uncertainties .
Hope and resilience to endure uncertainty
In our times of continued pervasiveness of populations living in environments of war and disasters, resilience is a further important concept. Hope as related to resilience is enabling individuals to imagine a better future and to endure the present despite the uncertainty for such an achievement . That way, the promotion of hope might be a useful approach to reduce uncertainty intolerance and consequently to increase the tolerance for ambiguity for a more open mindedness that leaves room for thoughtful and empathic decisions.
Growth versus safety orientation
Maslow (1968) made the point that we are oriented toward either growth or safety in our everyday lives and that a growth orientation is more favorable for psychological health and well-being . When self-protection (needs) get reduced, self-awareness can arise and facilitate the appreciation of multiple possibilities in situations, which might be the stage of personal development where tolerance for ambiguity as the capacity to accept paradoxes starts to become feasible . Systems of mass conformity, authoritarianism, and nationalism/racism are offered as a means for safety, unfortunately at the cost of growth possibilities through autonomy, creativity, and the use of reason though. After World War II this became evident and powerful movements toward an open mind of tolerance of ambiguity emerged that could cater to both safety and growth needs . It is a function of societies to prepare the next generation for life, and it will be crucial how we instill hope and support our children to live constructively with uncertainties while retaining a high tolerance for ambiguity and open-mindedness as required to find the solutions sought for the benefit of all .
What are your learnings from uncertain/ambiguous situations and how did you learn to develop a tolerance for it?
 Maslow, A. H. (1968). Toward a Psychology of Being. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
 Hartman, D., & Zimberoff, D. (2008). Higher Stages of Human Development. Journal Of Heart-Centered Therapies, 11(2), 3-95.
 Grenier, S., Barrette, A. M., & Ladouceur, R. (2005). Intolerance of Uncertainty and Intolerance of Ambiguity: Similarities and differences. PERSONALITY AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, (3). 593.
 Neta, M., Cantelon, J., Haga, Z., Mahoney, C. R., Taylor, H. A., & Davis, F. C. (2017). The impact of uncertain threat on affective bias: Individual differences in response to ambiguity. Emotion, 17(8), 1137-1143. doi:10.1037/emo0000349
 Kirschner, H., Hilbert, K., Hoyer, J., Lueken, U., & Beesdo-Baum, K. (2016). Psychophsyiological reactivity during uncertainty and ambiguity processing in high and low worriers. Journal Of Behavior Therapy And Experimental Psychiatry, 5097-105. doi:10.1016/j.jbtep.2015.06.001
 Einwanger, J. (2014). Wie riskant ist Sicherheit? (German). Pädiatrie & Pädologie, 49(4), 33. doi:10.1007/s00608-014-0152-4
 Bright, L. K., & Mahdi, G. S. (2012). U.S./Arab Reflections on Our Tolerance for Ambiguity. Adult Learning, 23(2), 86-89.
 Rohde, J. (2015). Review of The open mind: Cold War politics and the sciences of human nature. Journal Of The History Of The Behavioral Sciences, 51(3), 343-345. doi:10.1002/jhbs.21739
 Wilson, M. J., & Arvanitakis, J. (2013). The Resilience Complex. M/C Journal, 16(5), 17.
 Böhm, T. (2006). Psychoanalytic aspects on perpetrators in genocide: Experiences from Rwanda. Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 29(1), 22-32. doi:10.1080/01062301.2006.10592776
Today’s professionals need to succeed in technology-rich environments . Information age organizations are characterized by rapid change and uncertainty . Progressing globalization poses challenges through ambiguities that are caused by ever novel, complex, and changing socio-economical, environmental, technological, and workforce factors . The ability to tolerate ambiguity, therefore, is increasingly vital for successful leaders and employees alike .
“The tolerance for ambiguity (or intolerance for ambiguity) construct relates to a person’s disposition or tendency in addressing uncertain situations” [4, p.1]. The concept is also described in organizational behavior as “a coping mechanism for dealing with organizational change” .
Tolerance for ambiguity as a performance driver
Tolerance for ambiguity was found to support organizational performance drivers, such as :
Receptive for cross-cultural work and collaboration
Flexibility and adaptability
Tolerance for failure
Creativity and innovation
Entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial performance, and
A firm’s financial and market performance
Importance for (global) leadership
“Dealing with ambiguity is seldom taught, but higher-performing leaders tend to understand that uncertainty can be the gateway to opportunity” (6, p. 30).
Indeed, tolerance (or intolerance) for ambiguity influences one’s behavior and consequently leadership and decision-making style . Studies have found that expatriates high on tolerance for ambiguity adjust and perform better in global work workplaces and cross-cultural environments .
Practicing tolerance for ambiguity
Leadership learning and development should adapt to the rapidly evolving business world, for example, by providing innovative learning strategies such as simulations . Potential for improvement and learning progress related to tolerance for ambiguity can be measured with according psychometric assessments and accordingly monitored as a key leadership ability .
 Arlitsch, K. (2016). Tolerating Ambiguity: Leadership Lessons from Off-Road Motorcycling. Journal Of Library Administration, 56(1), 74-82. doi:10.1080/01930826.2015.1113063
 Brendel, W. )., Hankerson, S. )., Byun, S. )., & Cunningham, B. ). (2016). Cultivating leadership Dharma: Measuring the impact of regular mindfulness practice on creativity, resilience, tolerance for ambiguity, anxiety and stress. Journal Of Management Development, 35(8), 1056-1078. doi:10.1108/JMD-09-2015-0127
 Herman, J. L., Stevens, M. J., Bird, A., Mendenhall, M., & Oddou, G. (2010). The tolerance for ambiguity scale: Towards a more refined measure for international management research. International Journal Of Intercultural Relations, 34(1), 58-65. doi:10.1016/j.ijintrel.2009.09.004
 Kajs, L. T., & McCollum, D. L. (2009). Examining tolerance for ambiguity in the domain of educational leadership. Academy Of Educational Leadership Journal, 13(2), 1-16.
 Judge, T.A., Thoresen, C.J., Pucik, V. and Welbourne, T.M. (1999), “Managerial coping with organizational change: a dispositional perspective”, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 84 No. 1, pp. 107-122, doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.84.1.107.
 Shullman, S. L., & White, R. P. (2012). Build Leadership’s Tolerance for Ambiguity. Chief Learning Officer, 11(10), 30-33.
Advancing globalization requires new workplace competencies . Among Global Talent Managers, there is the sobering realization that people working in an increasingly global environment find themselves challenged in acquiring the necessary cultural agility  In today’s world Global talent management, mobility, and cultural agility belong together . “Bridging the global skills gap” through international assignments was rated as a priority for more than 1,200 globally surveyed CEO’s (. p. 19).
The term “cultural agility” was already used before as, for example, by Freedman (2003) who saw cultural agility to be needed in teams working around the world . In Caligiuri’s (2012) book, the same is more specifically defined as a mega “Mega-competency that enables professionals to perform successfully in cross-cultural situations . . . [it is] a combination of natural abilities, motivation to succeed, guided training, coaching, and development over time” ( pp. 4–5). In Caligiuri’s work, one can find a later leaner version that goes as follows: “Cultural agility is the ability to quickly, comfortably and effectively work in different cultures and with people from different cultures” . Other researchers accepted cultural agility to play a role in cross-cultural professional contexts .
As per the analysis of Gibbs and Boyraz (2015), cultural intelligence (CQ), global mindset, and cultural agility are sometimes used interchangeably, and most scholars might agree that these concepts are in minimum inter-related . In the form the cultural agility mega-competency is broken down into four categories that are behavioral, psychological, cross-cultural interactions and decisions, and comprising of a dozen more specific components, cultural agility seems to contain all that is needed to perform successfully in cross-cultural settings . The so-called “jangle fallacy” (Kelley, 1927, as cited in Brenneman, Klafehn, Burrus, Roberts, & Kochert, 2016) exists when a construct is conceptualized differently and, therefore, also named otherwise . This is roughly what was found when analyzing four frameworks related to the field of cross-cultural competency (C3) . A generally agreed-upon definition of C3 is that it is the “knowledge, skills, and affect/motivation that enable individuals to adapt effectively in cross-cultural environments” .
Multinational enterprises (MNEs) today often use the term “cultural agility” to describe their expectations regarding employees’ “flexibility.” The ability to adapt culturally intelligent to local situations, from such a usage perspective, addresses the need to be responsive in a global marketplace . Cognitive complexity refers to the ability to switch between distinct cultural demands  and strikingly illustrates how agility suggests “movement” as an organizing principle . “Cultural adaptiveness” in that sense is only one out of three possible “responding moves” that define cultural agility. The second is “cultural minimization” that is required from an employee when putting a supervisor’s command above a cultural norm, and third, there is “cultural integration” that is the consideration of concurrent cultures as, for example, in a multi-cultural team .
Some authors also distinguish cultural learning and cultural agility as two aspects of 3C (; ), matching the discrimination between “understanding about” and “knowing to use knowledge” as pointed to in Hounsell (2016) . It is the notion of cultural agility that is meant to be required to integrate cultural inclusion respectively to use the knowledge of inclusion to manifest it in a behavior that is producing inclusive organizational results . Therefore, for the further course of this systematic review, the following short definition is used: Cultural agility is “related to the ability … to use your cross-cultural learning effectively” . Training and development are significant for International Human Resources Management (IHRM) . The question to be investigated by this research aims to shed light on how much focus exists in the literature on the “usage” aspect of cultural knowledge. A systematic review shall provide for the answer by analyzing the relative emphasis put on training (i.e., specific knowledge/skills acquisition) as compared to development (i.e., a longer-term gathering of experiences and lessons learned as applicable fur improved cultural agility). Furthermore, developmental approaches shall be studied and reported to potentially support GTM practices in their challenge to extend their repertoire of available approaches and measures.
For Methodology and Results details, see Appendix A.
Similar to this systematic review’s finding that only 20% of the analyzed articles did specify cultural agility in connection with training and development, others found that only one out of four companies do assess cultural intelligence or agility in their international assignment candidates . Although in Lundby and Caligiuri’s (2013) survey cultural agility was rated as the third most important senior leader quality, the results of this review tendentially lean to support existing gaps in delivering brand success in GTM and a related need for not only training technical skills but developing cultural agility competencies , . Foreign culture on-site programs like the Cultural Agility Leadership Lab (CALL)  may be effective solutions to narrow the gap. Interactional experiences with peers from other cultures seem to be an effective path to develop cultural agility .
Implications and future research
The findings and discussion in this article imply that experiential development opportunities should be sought by GTM practices to supplement a learning system towards increased effectiveness in developing cultural agility . A stronger link between organizations GTM function and their international assignee selection should be established. Psychological measures like the Cultural Agility Climate Index (CACI) could be used to support candidate and assignment effectiveness assessments . Measuring the current state would provide for the basis justifying the sustainable investment into cultural agility competencies . Watson (2014) found that diversity and inclusiveness training is standard practice, while the long-term building of cultural agility was found to be a less usual investment .
A facet of cultural agility this study came across too is the motivational component of the construct. While “willingness” had been included already in earlier conceptualizations of cultural agility , the term “agility” does not naturally imply such a component. Interestingly, Caligiuri, Baytalskaya, and Lazarova (2016) came later up with a construct of “cultural humility” and found evidence for its effectiveness in enhancing leadership skills, performance, and engagement . It would be interesting to see how the concepts of cultural agility and cultural humility could be integrated as some scholars still see cultural agility and the will for cultural adaptation as complementary rather than inclusive concepts .
More research should have been done to evaluate the precision of the use of the terms “training” and “development” in the analysis of this systematic review. It can be that the inclusion of synonyms or the more in-depth study and interpretation of the literature analyzed would have led to different results. Also, relying on Google scholar search and only processing around 30% of the results does not represent an as complete study as possible. Also, the result interpretation may be biased as it was not benchmarked against any further industry standards than mentioned in the article.
This study identifies components and evaluates the focus on training and development in the cultural agility literature. This paper found introductory that cultural agility potentially surpasses the scope of cross-cultural competency (C3) as it entails a behaviorally consequential nature that makes it especially practical for GTM considerations . On the other side, possible motivational aspects of cultural agility need to be further clarified.
In any case, for various sectors in a continuously globalizing world, the development of cultural agility through experiential means such as mobility programs  could gain even more popularity as a promising success factor for MNEs’ search and development of talents.
This study assumed a descriptive, quantitative analysis-based approach of a systematic literature review. Systematic reviews help the creation of a scientifically derived summary of available evidence . It is not known to the author of this review that another study did systematically review the research question related to training and development focus on promoting cultural agility.
The systematic review as designed in this article first selected from the University of Liverpool (UOL) discovery database books, e-journals, and theses with the search term “cultural agility.” Second, the Google Scholar search widget on the same (UOL) portal with the same search term was used to retrieve more documents. The UOL discovery database search found 13 documents published in 2012 or later, whose checking resulted in the exclusion of 2 irrelevant and one non-accessible (commercially protected) file, leaving 11 documents for analysis. The Google Scholar search found 424 results, of which 130 were books, e-articles, or theses. Out of the 130, 63 sources were accessible for download. The check for the inclusion criteria of equal or higher than the year 2012 further reduced the population to 47 documents that have been downloaded then and analyzed. The publication date 2012 as an inclusion criterion seemed appropriate considering this is the year of the publication of Paula Caligiuri’s book “Cultural Agility: Building a Pipeline of Successful Global Professionals.”
Data extraction and analysis
The analysis of the available documents included an in-document search for “agility” and “agile” to get to the section where a potential definition or description of cultural agility could be found; the according passages have been examined and studied for finding answers to the research question. In this process, additional 8 documents have been excluded due to irrelevance. The total number of included texts, therefore, was 50 and represents a significant amount of relevant and recent data sources across a broad range of scientific journals and other scholarly resources. The analysis report table documents copied text snippets from pertinent passages of the analyzed files. Due to space limitations, these were kept rather short without providing much further context.
Among the 50 documents derived from the databases and Google Scholar, nine were found to contain a mentioning or elaboration related to “training,” and six instances were found that include developmental aspects. Consequently, only 32% of the analyzed document did prominently refer to training and development in their section about cultural agility. A simultaneous presence of “training” and “development” appeared in five papers. In table 1, the 11 reportable results are outlined. The results indicate that more research articles do mention “training” as compared to “development” with regards to the concept of cultural agility. A couple of interesting operationalizations of cultural agility development were found as will be shown in the discussion section.
Table 1. Training and development in cultural agility related articles
Mukerjee (2014). As universities become increasingly global in their reach and operations, cultural agility is likely to be a competency that will be sought after and reflected in the recruitment, training and development processes 
Dinwoodie, Quinn, and McGuire (2014) Strategic Drivers for Leadership for expansion into international markets: Cultural agility—promote the predisposition to appreciate diversity and develop cultural intelligence to operate successfully in unfamiliar territories. 
Gibbs and Boyraz (2015) These concepts – cultural intelligence, global mindset and cultural agility – have each been extensively studied in terms of leadership, but they have yet to be applied to team level processes. For instance, Caligiuri (2012) regards cultural agility as a necessary skill of global business professionals. These professionals are usually CEOs and top managers responsible for more strategic organizational functions, who generally get more customized training, coaching, and development, rather than lower level virtual team members. / Attracting global team leaders and team members with the important skills needed to manage cultural diversity – cultural agility, global mindset, and CQ – is an issue with significant implications for IHRM, not only for training and development but also for selection of team members. 
Hounsell (2016). The development in students of a global outlook or global mindset generally focuses on the internationalisation of curriculum content within and across disciplines or subject areas. The knowledge gained takes two main forms. The first is a fuller understanding about other nations and cultures, or the use of knowledge and perspectives derived in or from other nations and cultures, leading to what has sometimes been called ‘cultural versatility’ or ‘cultural agility’. In HKU’s overarching goals for four-year degrees, this is referred to as intercultural understanding. 
Vega (2012). The creation of an informative guide that addressed cultural agility in emergency medicine would benefit both the EMS and Vietnamese-American communities. 
 Honnor (2013). Explains how the learning and development function at Infosys supports its global activities by developing competences that offer the organization global and cultural agility.
Synoground (2013). Cross-Cultural Competency (C3) has surfaced as the term to describe cultural ability and adaptability in personnel. Cultural Agility, a term coined by Dr. Paula Caligiuri, is used here to describe a degree of talent that surpasses C3. Using these concepts as a framework, the analysis herein will make suggestions designed to improve cross-cultural talent recognition and recruiting practices and introduce a potential training paradigm to fit the traditional GPF and SOF/IW framework of the services. 
McKinley (2016). Internationalizing the curriculum: explicitly pugng in assessments or program requirements that relate to cultural agility 
Jameson and Goshit (2017). program participants (domestic and international) to develop the intercultural skills, knowledge, and mindsets to communicate effectively across cultural boundaries. For the IPDF this typically includes cultural agility, open mindedness, respect, patience, empathy, leadership, an understanding of intercultural communication styles, willingness to step out of one’s comfort zone, as well as a basic understand- ing of the impact of power and privilege. 
Martin and Zhang (2017). The main goal of the course is to further students’ understanding and knowledge of education and business leaders’ best practices and how they can apply these best practices to their current career, as well as their future career within the education arena. The course objectives are consistent for both the domestic and international trips and are as follows: – Researching emerging global paradigms, best practices, and structures in education and business. – Analyzing international assessment measures -implement, understand drivers, improvement. – Building learning partnerships with global school and business leaders. – Increasing students’ global awareness, perspectives, and cultural agility. – Understanding the transferability of global educational and business systems. – Understanding the external environmental impact on education and business. 
Pace, A. (2012). After detailing each of these competencies, Caligiuri shares how readers can attract, recruit, assess, select, train, and develop culturally agile employees. / As far as workplace learning and development, Caligiuri notes: “A learning system to develop cultural agility needs to include two parts, cross-cultural training and experiential development opportunities.” 
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Equitable treatment to maintain willingness to cooperate
Cooperative behavior arises where it is cherished
Women are often considered to have a greater tendency to use their cooperativeness for successful international assignments, especially where indirect communication is the culturally appropriate style as is tendentially the case in high-context cultures like Asia . Cooperative and communicative qualities (versus more competitive ones) have been attributed to woman stereotypically. Research shows that cooperativeness depends a lot on the environment respectively the organization wherein it is more or less cherished.
Cooperative conflict management
Cooperative approaches to conflict exert positive effects on the relationship between employee and foreign manager, as a study also confirmed for the Chinese context . As Western methods can create confrontations in transition economies, conflicting values and practices need to be resolved between different partners .
Means to promote cooperation
Different cultures should be recognized as different. A local-foreign social categorization can underline who needs help and who can provide the same . There are other influenceable means to promote cooperation too. For example, cooperative goals for leaders aid cross-cultural leadership . Focusing on long-term relationships and cooperation contributes to beneficial expatriate experiences . Soft-skills-centric relationships (i.e., guanxi relationships in the East) result in an environment conducive to cooperative and positive interdependencies between coworkers .
Equitable treatment to maintain willingness to cooperate
If expatriates get advantaged, domestic employees might perceive inequitable treatment, which might impair their motivation, willingness to cooperate, and work performance; something HR and Global Talent Management (GTM) functions of multinational enterprises (MNEs) need to be aware of too .
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The advantage of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the interpretation of language
Overcoming barriers beyond the language barrier
Language barrier in health care
A lot of literature seems to focus the challenges of language barriers in the health sector, as, for example, studies that identify language barrier as a significant threat to care quality in hospitals . The adverse effects are related to the various health service processes, such as understanding, quality, and patient and provider satisfaction . In multinational corporations (MNC), non-native speakers were found to tend to communicative withdrawal that is negatively influencing content and relationships . Social isolation subsequently can lead to reinforcing the language and culture boundaries .
The advantage of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)
The advantages from bilingualism are manifold; being an asset for (academic) career is one of them . Mobility and employability are further evidenced examples that can be achieved, e.g., by content and language integrated learning (CLIL) to foster not only language, but also communication and interaction skills combined with intercultural awareness . Indeed, it seems that hands-on activities and collaborative communication role-playing , or patient-centeredness, to use a health example again , even if supported by the native foreign language, are effective in overcoming language barriers . Allowing silence to support communication processing should not be forgotten too . Importantly, all begins with the proper identification of the existence of a language barrier at all . An innovative medical dictionary and tracking application is facilitating the imperative language-related data collection of foreign clients .
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the interpretation of language
For the future it is predicted that so-called SATS (Synchronous Automated Translation Systems) or even reality augmenting wearables will take out the hassle of today’s still cumbersome translation applications such as Google . Regarding the use of information and communication technology (ICT) to facilitate translation, women displayed a lower rate of technology use compared to their male colleagues . For technology to be adopted by foreign-speaking users, aids and guides should be developed  and diverse learning backgrounds supported. Barriers can also arise due to cultural differences in learning and conceptualization styles. Also, especially in rural context, it should be evaluated whether ICT even contributes to increased awareness of separation with the rest of the world . The presence of organizational codes and trade zones are examples of sub-cultures that can additionally make the interpretation of communication difficult .
Overcoming barriers beyond the language barrier
The progress in removing language barriers is for sure a great vision. However, in communication-intensive fields like social sciences (as compared to, e.g., technical engineering) , success will require more innovation. From the money-making industries relying on translation and interpretation services, some hesitance in adopting new business models might be expected. Finally, the maintenance of national borders may also use language to protect delimitations .
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Prizing of social capital on individual, institutional, and societal levels
The ‘paradox of unsocial sociabilities’
Global citizenship, international careers, and the culture of global nomadism
Matching national and organizational culture
According to Nahapiet & Ghoshal (1998), social capital is “the sum of the actual and potential resources embedded within, available through, and derived from relationships” (as cited in ). However, it is not enough to design global leadership development programs with the goal to share knowledge according to national cultures in multinational enterprises (MNEs) without carefully making sure that the program also matches the organizational cultures involved (Espedal, Gooderham, & Stensaker, 2013).
Prizing of social capital on individual, institutional, and societal level
How the built social capital is prized depends on context. For example, Singaporean bureaucratic and political elite prizes social and cultural capital from the US, UK, and Western Europe highly as a result of Singapore’s unique history . In academia, it is known that the apt use of researchers’ social capital in the form of international research networks helps significantly in achieving excellence . On the other hand, global mobility experiences that come with a personal value such as new perspectives and knowledge about different cultures and systems can be not valuated as social or cultural capital by the home environment and therefore doesn’t get utilized by the respective institutions and organization . There can be even biases on individual, organizational, and societal level because of strong interpersonal and intergroup processes preventing non-discriminatory perceptions of the intercultural aspects they are confronted with .
The ‘paradox of unsocial sociabilities’
The ‘paradox of unsocial sociabilities’ describes the behavior of individuals who aspire to grow their professional global connectivity but remain emotionally relatively uninvolved locally . In the case of expatriates, they can be conflicted between resistance and acceptance of the new culture as part of incorporation its possibilities within themselves . For people from collectivist cultures, the loss of their societal embeddedness might not be felt as compensated  by the newly gained increase of social capital from a global perspective. Money can replace social capital in the sense that knowledge transactions can be bought anywhere (e.g., banking, legal, and medical services, etc.), independent of location .
Global citizenship, international careers, and the culture of global nomadism
Social capital networks reinforce themselves  and education, financial means, and access to information and communication technology determine to what level talent can be optimized  . To get access to global social capital, globalized forms of education to foster global citizenship is recommended by the UN . Often international assignments don’t necessarily lead to returns home and can result in onward mobility and international careers within a community, which shares a culture of global nomadism  that is of horizontal multi-cultural nature . The alignment of an individual’s lifetime stages and an organization’s strategic direction can be helped through a mentoring, mutual help in storying and career/goal alignment that is managed by a well-integrated Talent and HR Management practice .
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Summary. The increasing number of expatriates reflects the need for multinational enterprises (MNEs) to compete in a global knowledge economy. Despite high pressure, mobility program cost management practices are often weakly formalized. To take full advantage of international assignments, the assignees’ gained knowledge should be matched with required job competencies. The ratio of parent-country nationals (PCNs) at subsidiaries is influencing business performance. Also, besides defensive and retaliatory actions, relational measures can be used to maintain access to social capital in case of poaching in the host country. Finally, intercultural training based on clearly defined goals for business and leadership development purposes can increase the success rate of international assignment significantly.
Over 200 million extra-national employees worldwide
The number of employees assigned to foreign countries in 2013 was 214 million people, tendency increasing . This article focuses in places on a multinational enterprises (MNEs) setting of interdisciplinary digital businesses from a Japan perspective (with global reach) that is heavily relying on knowledge and relationship-based intangible data assets.
Room to evolve in aligning the role of mobility with talent management
The information technology industry continues to be a growing sector with fierce competition and cost pressures . While almost half of IT companies do not systematically measure international assignment costs, companies respond sensitively to cost factors. For example, as a reaction to surging residence costs for expatriates, Japanese companies in 2014 sent 10,000 employees less to China than still in 2012 when the number was at 57,000 . Also, an international assignee attrition rate that could be problematic for a company when too high seems to exist in the IT sector, with survey results reporting a 25% of assignee loss as compared to overall survey respondents’ average of 14%. Generally, assignee’s increase market value serves as an explanation for their moving on to better career opportunities outside of the firm. The Japanese tenure- rather than market-value-based employment system  could mitigate that risk though. On the other hand, some Japanese expats may not return due to concerns with too much discriminating, rigorous, and long working hours required in the Japanese working world, as a popular Japanese blog suggests . In any case, to mutually benefit from mobility programs, both the employee and the firm should be able to count on HR’s ability to match the expatriate’s knowledge with job’s required competencies . Furuya (2007) suggested the deliberate and proactive use of appropriate HR policies and practices (e.g., job analysis) that help realize the advantages of global assignments . Indeed, successful mobility has become a barrier for Japanese MNEs; yet formal programs are rarely in place .
One out of five Global Mobility Trends IT sector survey participants responded that they do not know their business need for internationally experienced talents . Not enough parent country nationals (PCNs) at subsidiaries is curbing business performance; too many PCNs, however, let performance decline due to increasing resistance against loss of local identity . The APAC region’s (IT) companies see Brazil and second, Taiwan as their favorite destinations for foreign assignments beyond 2015 . From a host country’s perspective, e.g., Taiwanese firms seek Japanese employees’ knowledge  and increasingly poach Japanese workers . For MNEs, relational actions such as alumni to keep access to human social capital might be an additional alternative to overly defensive or punitive measures .
Need for intercultural training
20% of international assignees reported difficulties in acclimating to the new culture. Also, people from strong cultures like China and Japan tend to stick with their compatriots . Therefore, intercultural training  and/or timely termination (in case of issues) of expatriate projects are crucial to avoid relational damage . Also, separate but integral goals and strategies for business and talent development should be defined in Japanese MNEs mobility programs . Sufficient language proficiency has to be fostered too to enable an efficient knowledge transfer .
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Strength-based approaches to fostering “female” leadership styles
Humanitarian principles and global egalitarian mindset
The case for gender equality
Although women represent half of the population in education and global workforce at career start and mid-level management, men outnumber women in all sectors’ leadership positions. The role of female talents in future leadership is a critical challenge  for the growth of economies . A study among a big sample across 26 countries found that work-life balance, commitment, and turnover thoughts are related to perceived job autonomy that is, for women, mediated by present gender egalitarianism .
Prestige economies and cultural tightness
Prestige governs economies, causing countries with high expenditure in research and development to have comparatively fewer female members (e.g., Japan with 11.6% female researchers, and only 9.7% professors), while low-expenditure nations (e.g., the Philippines and Thailand employ female researchers beyond 45%) . To stay with the example of Japan, nations with similar challenges related to vocational stereotypes, job availability constraints, traditional bias and a collective mindset, even when not having as much government promotion of female employment as Japan, tend to have fewer women in corporate executive positions. Roibu and Roibu (2017) ascribe this to the strictness of how social and work rules are enforced . Indeed, cultural tightness, i.e., the fierceness of norms, contributes to explaining why some organizations in some countries are less successful in advocating women leadership than others . However, the finding of male domination in higher leadership positions seems to be more generally a phenomenon somewhat independent of nationality, culture, and even legislation for gender equality .
Functional literacy and inclusiveness
Fast technological change can negatively pronounce skill deterioration during work interruption, such as caused by maternity leave . Also, education needs to be carefully analyzed regarding whether it is suited to improve social inclusion or whether, in contrast, aggravates competitive exclusivity . For example, functional literacy programs shouldn’t be designed as a reading and writing capability only, but as emancipatory enablers that integrate reading, writing, and socio-economic and political understanding for democratic participation and the self-efficient creation of social networks and wealth .
Strength-based approaches to fostering “female” leadership styles
Some woman may be more sold on power-promising, rewarding, and recognizing careers  and learn how to play the neo-liberal corporate game. Many, on the other hand, do also keep a philanthropic attitude that might not be come to success in an economy that rewards competition . Leadership styles are evolving though, and the value of emotional intelligence is bringing female leaders, albeit slowly, into pole positions . Strength-based approaches to talent development can help also preserving gender-specific genuineness throughout personal careers .
Humanitarian principles and global “female” mindset
The human species can change its mindset, and a female leadership style based on humanitarian principles might be precisely the fit for an increasingly globalized and cooperating world . Millennial women are expected to have a high interest to play a global role . Already existing transnational women’s movements  may additionally help to boost self-esteem to create more egalitarian local and global environments.
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Summary. Although multi-national enterprises (MNEs) in China are looking for talents who can balance domestic and international challenges, the evolving education and Global Talent Management (GTM) systems struggle with the timely identification, development, and retention of a workforce that is matching the required demand of new and future skills. Respect for the Chinese culture and access to so-called guanxi business networks shaped by collectivist cultural values are needed to access business opportunities. On the other hand, the opening up of secretive circles and empowering students and employees for more self-determined and problem-based learning could provide avenues to close the gap between theory and practice as well as more equality in talent development, hopefully resulting in increased entrepreneurship and innovation.
Summary. This article critically sheds light on current socio-economic challenges for Japan and the need for developing a global mindset for companies in a globalizing world. With little chance for getting a management position before the age of 40 and confronted with dominating domestic demand for a monolingual male workforce, Japan’s youth gets blamed for being ‘insular’ and individually responsible for the lack of global mindsets. To improve global success, Japanese HR practices’ global talent management programs have to address the need for highly skilled and globally minded talents in Japan and their expatriates. Japan-specific, step-by-step, and creative alternative solutions may be required to make it happen.
Japan’s current unclear development of its role in global economy comes from various challenges such as two decades lasting economic stagnation  and increased competition from China and India . Salary men sweat devotedly for the big companies and government agencies for the return of stable careers, while their wives take care of raising the next generation guaranteeing the continuation of the system that has become antithetical to fast-paced global changes . A global mindset is needed for many Japanese organization, and there are calls for a related shift in education (; ). However, most Japanese companies favor domestic monolingual male workforce , which informs higher education in the way that fewer and fewer students in Japan envision to study abroad . The collectivist Japanese culture might emphasize that trend as the unity of family raises expectations for children not to stay away from their family and take care of their parents .
Japanese see the development of a global mindset as an individual rather than an organizational burden. Due to seniority-based promotion systems, only 9% of Japanese managers are below the age of 40, compared to 62% in India and 76% in China . Ironically, the lack of talents with global mindsets has not been associated with strict hiring practices, bigoted immigration policies, or with conservative firm cultures but instead the ‘insular’ young people, the so-called ‘uchimuki,’ are blamed for keeping the island inwardly retreated .
Japanese HRM practices’ global talent management initiatives have been reported to not being suitable to attract sufficient talent with a global mindset for multinational enterprises . English in Japan is still treated as belonging to the US or UK rather than being a global language . HR brokers until today have mostly focused on low-skilled short-term immigration . Therefore, not surprisingly, Japan ranks last behind all major industrialized nations regarding the percentage of foreign academics and engineers employed .
A trend of an increasing number of Japanese self-initiated expatriate entrepreneurs to developing countries in Asia indicates the presence of not only entrepreneurial but also global mindsets as related to social and sustainability missions . Japanese multinationals, however, comparatively have difficulties to go international with their often highly successful local businesses in which the home-country expatriates obviously need to re-assess their globalization abilities . For example, Japanese business men are used to relationship-based marketing  and would need to adapt to a more need-based style when selling abroad . Maybe hybrid forms of globalization activities, developed through Japan-based HR training can advance the integration of cultural differences to promote global success . Anti-globalization sentiments after the nuclear plant accident in Fukushima in 2011 and perceptions of unfairly exploitative global businesses may require an alternative kind of globalization as happening in the arts that, e.g., builds on alternative smaller destinations . Step-by-step quick wins could increase confidence in more long-term investment into global mindsets to improve results from globalization .
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