Official Review: The Importance of Soft Skills For Global...

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Wyland
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Official Review: The Importance of Soft Skills For Global...

Post by Wyland » 10 Aug 2019, 04:33

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Importance of Soft Skills For Global Managers" by Samanthani Singh.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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In a nutshell, in her book, The Importance of Soft Skills For Global Managers, Samanthani Singh discusses on the importance of a society’s culture to a multinational company (MNC). She gives the example of a few MNCs’ experiences in India, which offers “an attractive proposition for American and European businesses of all varieties,” to better explain this fact. This is mainly because India has a huge population and has English as its official language. Consequently, the failure of several multinational companies there, however, means that new strategies of entering foreign markets need to be devised. And chief among these strategies is the upskilling of global managers.

In Part 1, Cultural Knowledge, Singh goes on to give examples of companies that failed in India over the recent past. She cites the major problem to these failures as the “global managers’ inability to combine the corporate mentality” and the culture of the new territory.

Part 2, Ethics, on the other hand, illustrates how people skills (soft skills) and emotional intelligence help a manager adapt to his socio-cultural environment. In more detail, the socio-cultural environment is a broad term that encompasses the “legal, ethical, contextual, social, and communication” aspects that guide an individual’s or organization’s activities and decisions. To close this section, Singh gives the case study of Enron, whose ethical failures included abuse of power and irresponsible behavior toward its investors and employees.

Lastly, in Part 3, Training, Singh affirms that successful companies have an effective soft skills training for their global managers. From her discussion, it’s important for managers to relate and adapt to the societal culture (including the language barrier) while in foreign locations. Some relevant coaching that is recommended by Singh includes training on trust and integrity.

For a book that conveys an academic thought, I found it to be well written and characterized by evidence-based arguments delivered through an impersonal tone. I, however, felt that she could have improved on the logical flow of her discourse by refining her delivery on the constitution of soft skills. In Chapter 1, for example, while talking about the training needs of two Caribbean based companies, she cited them as training in “soft skills, leadership, and interpersonal skills”: soft skills training is distinct from the other two. Yet, later in the same chapter, soft skills training is said to include instruction in “critical thinking, problem-solving, and life skills.” Two of these in the list (critical thinking and problem solving) may be considered as a subset of leadership training.

In Chapter 6, on the other hand, soft skills are identified as “people skills supported by emotional intelligence”; in short, all these statements seem to ascribe an ambiguous meaning to what “soft skills training” entail. As a matter of fact, Chapter 9 contains a comprehensive list of soft skills which similarly show inconsistency in the make-up of this thematic term.

Besides, a blanket argument such as “If soft skills are lacking in managers, they will also be lacking in employees,” cannot be accurate, considering that she cites elsewhere in Chapter 10 that “…training alone (from the employer) will not solve the problem.” Instead, “It is the ability of the manager (read employee) to develop their learning.” So, this means some employees and managers will have a better skill set than others as a result of self-advancement.

On a positive note, I particularly found the case study of Enron, the American energy giant, enlightening. Its dizzying fall was attributed to the lack of trust and integrity on the part of its executives which resulted in ethical failures. Elaborating on one cause of this failure, Singh says that Enron’s corporate structure was deliberately kept decentralized. Therefore, this atomistic corporate culture and structure bred a weak moral infrastructure at Enron.

Contrarily, the book’s editing is wanting as I came across a few nouns in the wrong form and some typos. These errors are enough to reduce the rating by one star. Further, the failure in the logical flow in her argument is also a serious flaw in the central purpose of her writing. Therefore, I rate it 2 out of 4 stars. This book will be suitable for human resource practitioners, who would be interested in improving the skills set of their employees. Additionally, the case studies in the book will be suitable for students taking courses in strategic management and international business administration.

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Michelle Fred
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Post by Michelle Fred » 14 Aug 2019, 08:00

The author does have some interesting arguments, but the book is not for me. Thanks.

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Post by Kibetious » 14 Aug 2019, 11:32

This is a very important book indeed. I am glad that the author has written the book with sufficient proof for the need for soft skills in the business world. Too bad that the errors and the lack of a logical flow had to reduce the rating.
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Post by gen_g » 14 Aug 2019, 11:56

This would be a highly useful book had it not been for the editing and logic errors. It is such a pity. Still, thanks for the review.
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Post by OuKoyoo » 14 Aug 2019, 12:03

The book touches on critical topics but it is unfortunate that the author's message is poorly delivered. However, the issues can be addressed in future publications. Thank you for the review.

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 14 Aug 2019, 16:20

Interesting topic - it sounds as if the author doesn't quite define "soft skills" satisfactorily. I'd love to see international companies behave more ethically - I hope these considerations could motivate them to do so. I enjoyed reading your review.

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Post by Nivi Gideon » 15 Aug 2019, 02:58

Thank you for being clear about what to expect in the book. Wonderful review

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Post by Ekta Swarnkar » 15 Aug 2019, 06:21

This is a very important topic that needs to be covered, but I really wish if editing could be better. Wonderful review!

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Post by Prisallen » 15 Aug 2019, 08:05

This sounds like a much-needed book. It is too bad the errors and failure of the logistical flow of the argument kept it from being better. Thanks for a wonderful review!

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Post by esp1975 » 15 Aug 2019, 17:28

I have to admit that I am completely amused by the fact that you hit on the "soft skills" confusion from reading the book. As a manager, I can tell you that soft skills really are everything that is not a technical skill required to do a job. Leadership skills are soft skills. Interpersonal skills are soft skills. What this really means is that most skills needed to run a business are soft skills, since not everyone needs the technical skills, but everyone needs the soft skills (even analysts or engineers who are "individual contributors"). It means these skills are highly important. It also means that they need to adapt in multi-national companies based on the nation the manager is in.
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Post by nooregano » 15 Aug 2019, 23:34

I agree with what Butterscotch Cherries said: it seems as though the author didn't give a clear and concise definition of what soft skills are in the first place. Other than that, the points and arguments seem well-organised, if not substantiated clearly and logically. Thanks for this review, Wyland!
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Post by Tomah » 18 Aug 2019, 15:29

I'm interested in the case study of Enron since it's a subject I find fascinating, but overall, it seems like a far more specialized and technical book than what I'm comfortable with. The inconsistent usage of soft skills also doesn't inspire much trust. Thanks for the review!

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Post by Aniza Butt » 19 Aug 2019, 02:08

Am not a business person so would pass this one. Hope the business community find it interesting. Thanks a lot for the review :tiphat:
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Post by Miriam Molina » 19 Aug 2019, 18:34

The author may have erred in defining the term "soft skills." I believe the term includes all interpersonal considerations in business and other organizations. People skills would be a good synonym for me.

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Post by bespectacledpetal » 19 Aug 2019, 21:43

This is a fantastic review. I understood completely what the book entails. Thank you
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