Definition of global manager

A global manager is characterised by the nature of the work he or she does, typically within an organisation with global operations. He or she has the capability to manage amid the complexity of business that is conducted across divergent cultures and time zones. A global manager can also be an expatriate, living and working abroad, but this is not always the case.

Global managers can more specifically be seen in terms of three prototypical roles in a global organisation. These are:

1) the global business or product-division managers who are tasked with global strategic positioning and asset co-ordination across the organisation

2) the country managers who bridge between the local market operations and global business objectives of the organization

3) the worldwide functional managers who help leverage knowledge and innovations across the key functional departments throughout the organization.

These three archetypes show that the knowledge and experience to carry out global work can be fostered and expressed through an integrated network of specialised global talent.

In this way, we see that global experience is not tethered exclusively to the event of expatriation but can be done by managers (whether at home or abroad) through their globally-focused activities and responsibilities.


Global managers possess a certain perspective among the workforce, which uniquely focuses them to operate in a globalised environment of diverse markets and cultures. They need to manage information and resources from all parts of the world at once, not only individual countries or regions, and integrate this for the development and diffusion of innovation on a global scale. Today's global managers may be developed within traditional corporate career paths. However, we are increasingly seeing employees starting out as global managers as well. This is often the case with firms that are ‘born global’, such as companies whose local markets are too small and so must operate immediately in a global context. [1]