Stevens' survey finds global companies lack strong leadership

February 12, 2008

HOBOKEN, N.J. - In a just-completed survey of Fortune 500 companies operating in accelerating economies - Brazil, Russia, India, and China (the so-called "BRIC" countries) - a team at Stevens Institute of Technology has found that continued, accelerated corporate growth may be hampered by insufficiently trained technical personnel failing to meet international standards.

"International companies in China and elsewhere must recognize that selection, retention, and development are interrelated," said Stevens Professor Richard Reilly. "Otherwise, accelerated growth experienced recently may be faced soon with a technical talent wall." Reilly, who headed the Stevens team, collaborated with Peter Dominick and Michael Ryan of Stevens' Howe School of Technology Management.

Respondents said that leadership programs in these countries were mostly informal, often mimicking those at headquarters. Technical leadership in emerging markets, they claim, is largely pursued passively, without global or local support.

The Stevens survey also discovered frequent conflict between local and headquarters management, with emerging executives often given insufficient latitude to operate independently in their own markets.

The study revealed that international companies are loosing new hires at an alarming rate in China and elsewhere. Employees are departing for many reasons; some claim that chief among them is that global companies often do not pay enough attention to the cultural needs of local staff, nor do they provide sufficient training or motivation to retain them.

The survey of about a dozen global companies operating in accelerated economies was conducted as part of the newly launched Stevens Institute for Technical Leadership. The Institute offers a certification program to employees worldwide as well as assessment, feedback, and coaching for technical staff.
Stevens offers management and technical degrees in Beijing in collaboration with two leading Chinese universities, Beijing Institute of Technology and Central University of Finance and Economics. These graduate programs were awarded the prestigious Sloan Foundation teaching and learning prize last fall. Stevens also provides Leadership development and consulting to multinational firms in China.

About Stevens Institute of Technology

Founded in 1870, Stevens Institute of Technology is one of the leading technological universities in the world dedicated to learning and research. Through its broad-based curricula, nurturing of creative inventiveness, and cross disciplinary research, the Institute is at the forefront of global challenges in engineering, science, and technology management. Partnerships and collaboration between, and among, business, industry, government and other universities contribute to the enriched environment of the Institute. A new model for technology commercialization in academe, known as Technogenesis®, involves external partners in launching business enterprises to create broad opportunities and shared value. Stevens offers baccalaureates, master's and doctoral degrees in engineering, science, computer science and management, in addition to a baccalaureate degree in the humanities and liberal arts, and in business and technology. The university has a total enrollment of 2,040 undergraduate and 3,085 graduate students, and a worldwide online enrollment of 2,250, with about 400 full-time faculty. Stevens' graduate programs have attracted international participation from China, India, Southeast Asia, Europe and Latin America. Additional information may be obtained from its web page at

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