The annual survey of more than 900 C-suite executives in the United States, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Canada, Japan and China is designed to identify the business priorities and major concerns of executives at some of the largest companies around the world.
When asked to identify the greatest challenges to building global enterprises, the greatest number of respondents — 49 percent — selected the “ability to maintain a common corporate culture,” followed by “understand local customs and ways of doing business,” selected by 44 percent of respondents. Forty-one percent of respondents selected the ability to “service remote clients/customers effectively” as a major challenge, and more than one-third of respondents (36 percent) selected “the impact of the global economy.” Only 25 percent of respondents selected “the impact of different geopolitical issues” as a major challenge.
In addition, nearly one out of four respondents (22 percent) said that their organizations are poorly equipped to succeed as global enterprises, despite the fact that the majority of respondents said that their employees, suppliers and customers are more global now than they were five years ago. This issue is particularly noteworthy in two countries, as one-third of respondents in Japan and almost half (48 percent) of respondents in China said they believe that their organizations might face difficulties in adapting to the global market.
Only 55 percent of the executives surveyed said they believe that their organizations are able to develop leaders with the aptitude and skills to adapt to rapid change and new learning. There are significant geographic differences: two-thirds (67 percent) of respondents in Germany said they believe that their organizations are developing global leaders, compared with less than half (45 percent) of respondents in Japan.
“To succeed in today’s global environment, companies must create a strong and diverse leadership team with knowledge spanning disparate markets,” said Mark Foster, Accenture’s group chief executive—Business Consulting & Integrated Markets. “The critical challenge for management is to ensure that companies maintain their core values and corporate identity across many countries, especially as industry becomes more knowledge-based and increasingly, work is handled by virtual teams. They also must build organizations that abandon the traditional geography-based operating models, which often fail to recognize dramatic differences in market needs and the resulting management challenges,” said Foster.
About the study
As part of an annual study to identify senior executives’ top concerns, Accenture conducted a telephone survey of 919 senior executives at many of the largest and most influential organizations around the world. Respondents represented all major industries and the public sector and included executives at the highest levels of senior management (“C-suite” executives) as well as heads of key functional areas, such as human resources. For this year’s study, fieldwork was conducted between September and December 2006. For more information on the survey, visit www.accenture.com.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills, and technologies to help clients improve their performance. With approximately 146,000 people in 49 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$16.65 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2006. Its home page is www.accenture.com.