International -- Readers Report
European CEOs Should Be Careful What They Wish For (int'l edition)
Europe's managers should consider two crucial issues that follow from their desire for higher pay and stock options ("Eager Europeans press their noses to the glass," Special Report, Apr. 19). If U.S. managers make more than Europeans, it's because Americans work more. Will European managers be willing to give up evenings, weekends, and vacations the way U.S. managers regularly do? Or will the Europeans want to have their cake and eat it, too?
As for options, Europeans should be careful what they wish for. Options are not going to do them any good unless the Europeans have the tools and flexibility (such as rationalizing fixed costs) to unlock the value of the options.
New YorkReturn to top
Don't Judge Management by Stock Performance (int'l edition)
Huge executive paychecks based on stock performance reminds me of the fable about the crowing rooster who believed he made the sun come up ("Executive pay," Special Report, Apr. 19). A better view is that collapsing commodity prices and Alan Greenspan's reduced interest rates spurred price-earnings ratios to record highs. This created 5,000 unearned points on the Dow.
Should not management be graded on increases in productivity, sales, revenues, earnings, and efficient employment of assets? If bonuses were tied to dividend increases, we would have more of them, regardless of earnings. Stock prices are a fallible gauge of management worth.
San Luis Potosi, MexicoReturn to top
Japanese Working Women Owe Nothing to the U.S. (int'l edition)
"Make way for women with welding guns" (Asian Business, Apr. 19) says that Japanese women finally could get into men's work as a consequence of American influence. Consider the statement by essayist Seisho Nagon: "Ladies in respectable families should go out to work in a government office instead of dreaming of the fake happiness of married life...." Seisho Nagon lived in the early 11th century, when most European women were illiterate and just sweeping floors.
The invisible social activities of Japanese women are not a consequence of social structure but rather that of women's choice. Examples are seen in the much higher chance of Japanese women (than men) of being elected to central as well as local government.
Kyoto, JapanReturn to top
Would-Be World Traders Need to Be World Travelers (int'l edition)
So Ford Motor Co. is having trouble selling cars in Japan? And the French are dipping into nationalist sentiment over the prospects of Ford winning the bid to supply cars to civil servants ("A car wreck of a car strategy," American News, Apr. 19)? While amusing, such examples heighten the importance of "doing your homework" culturally.
Twice a year, I take students and adults on foreign trips. We have been to Europe, the South Pacific, and Russia. A major objective is to introduce students to different cultures, albeit briefly. The experiences are reinforced in the classroom. An understanding of a culture will enable these future leaders in business and in politics to mesh cultural realities within a true global economy.
I often think, when reading or hearing such anecdotes as Ford's travails in Japan, that we need to take engineers and executives on such tours--not just a sojourn through superior class hotels and air-conditioned limos that bypass local lifestyles. If rabid nationalism is to be conquered, it must be experienced and embraced so that we can fully understand how to sell a product or an idea with the aim toward a true global community. Having been in business at management level before deciding to teach, I am convinced that cultural exchanges for our youth are a major step toward achieving that goal.
Winston-Salem, N.C.Return to top