Developing Responsible Global Leaders Through Corporate-sponsored International Volunteerism Programs

Organizational Dynamics
Dr. Paula Caligiuri & Christian Thoroughgood
Feb 08, 2015
Executive Summary

This article examines the unique characteristics and competencies of socially responsible global leaders and describes how International Corporate-Sponsored Volunteerism (ICV) programs are a particularly powerful way to develop such leaders. The best practices outlined this article provide a necessary foundation for building successful ICV programs and supporting programs and structures that will allow organizations to more effectively cultivate socially responsible global leaders. 

For ICV programs to foster both cultural agility and CSR values among the participants, they need to possess five critical features:  (1) opportunities to collaborate with peers from a different culture, (2) opportunities to “stretch” their functional skills in a novel cultural environment, (3) opportunities to work in situations where they can practice cultural humility, (4) opportunities to work on projects that foster their altruism, and (5) opportunities to work with others who reinforce and possess strong CSR values.   Details of each are discussed in the article along with the most effective talent management practices for ICV programs: participant selection, preparation, support during the volunteer assignment, communication strategies, and reintegration back into the organization after participants complete their ICV assignments.  It is important that companies recognize that fostering socially responsible global leadership requires engagement not only from ICV program participants but also various stakeholders within the organization.  

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    Paula M. Caligiuri
    D’Amore-McKim School of Business
    Northeastern University
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