| MANAGEMENT CAPACITY AND ITS IMPACT ON FOREIGN
Three priority areas for the development of effective and successful strategies.
by Félix Peña
English translation: Isabel Romero Carranza
The transformations that can be observed in global
economic competition, if properly diagnosed, can mean favorable opportunities
for the international insertion of a country such as Argentin, to project
to the world goods and services that add to its many natural resources
a dose of intelligence, technology and creativity. In this way positive
effects can be generated on productive development, even together with
other partner countries, with their ensuing impacts on the social sphere.
Hence the relevance of the question: what are the challenges to be
faced by the future development of country strategies for productive insertion
in the world? Without prejudice to other relevant factors, in this opportunity
we will focus on management capacity. Past experience indicates that this
has been the aspect with the most shortcomings in the history of Argentine
foreign trade, especially in recent decades and in the perspective of
SMEs seeking to internationalize their activities.
Based on Argentina's own experiences and on that of other countries
with similar levels of development, we can identify three areas where
it would be useful to introduce organizational and management improvements.
These would help achieve greater efficiency in a future external commercial
insertion, aimed at multiple and differentiated regional and inter-regional
The three areas we are referring to relate to diagnostic capabilities,
insertion in transnational production chains, and monitoring of international
Some of the questions that arise may provide guidance for a necessary
debate on the future of strategies, that are effective and successful,
for the insertion of Argentina in world trade, both at the global level
and regionally. It is a debate that requires an interdisciplinary approach
and, in particular, can be developed with the active participation of
representatives of all the sectors involved.
Such a debate, both at the national and at the provincial and local level,
involving the participation of representatives and experts from the public
sphere, the business world, the academia and other sectors of society,
may prove quite opportune given the fact that this year the country will
be preparing for a new government term.
In the coming years the development of Argentine foreign trade will
have to adapt to the challenges and requirements of a complex and dynamic
world, with many opportunities but also with a growing number of actors.
(In this regard, refer to our analysis in previous Newsletters and especially
to the August
2014 issue, and the October
The transformations in global economic competition, if properly diagnosed,
can mean favorable opportunities for the international insertion of a
country such as Argentina, to help project to the world goods and services
that add to its many natural resources a good dose of intelligence, technology
and creativity. In this way, positive effects can be generated on productive
development, even together with other partner countries, with the consequent
impacts on the social sphere.
Hence the relevance of the question: what are the possible challenges
to be faced in the future development of country strategies for productive
insertion in the world? Without prejudice to other relevant factors, such
as the qualities that may be achieved in terms of economic policies, including
of course trade policies, and in terms of physical connectivity -both
within the country and in the connection to the rest of the world, through
the existing trade corridors or those that may be developed in the future
and that are, certainly, more diverse and numerous tan they were a few
years ago- this time we will focus on the aspect of management capacity.
Past experience shows that this has been the aspect with the most shortcomings
in the history of Argentine foreign trade, especially in recent decades
and in the perspective of SMEs seeking to internationalize their activities
steadily over time.
Based on Argentina's own experience and on the experience of other countries
with similar development levels, we can identify three areas where it
would be useful to try to introduce organizational and management improvements.
They should help achieve greater efficiency in an external commercial
insertion aimed, in the future, at multiple and differentiated regional
and inter-regional spaces simultaneously.
These are areas of particular importance for the internationalization
of SMEs including, of course, the need to train cadres who can assist
in the preparation and development of strategies to project to the world
their ability to produce goods and provide services, especially those
that are valued by a localized demand in very different economic, political
and cultural settings. (In this regard, see the August
2013 issue of this Newsletter , as well as the June
These aspects refer to diagnostic capacities, and to the capabilities
for the insertion in transnational productive chains and for monitoring
international trade negotiations
The diagnostic capability is a key area, given the fact that the productive
and social development of the country is now inserted, as was noted at
the beginning, in a global and regional context of strong dynamics and
profound structural changes. Detecting these, through the timely identification
of facts and trends that may affect the shifts in competitive advantages,
in favor or against the interests of the country, is a key factor for
achieving an effective international integration.
Some questions aimed at improving diagnostic capabilities include:
- How to follow the dynamics of opportunities in a rapidly changing
- How to generate competitive intelligence that is relevant and accessible
to all in order to enter and remain in the very different national and
- How to easily access the information accumulated by the commercial
diplomacy of the country?
- How to take advantage of the Argentine residents abroad, or those
who travel for extended periods of time, as sources of information on
cultural factors that influence the differentiation of values and preferences
of consumers in different regions of the world?
- How to process information that is relevant to companies trying to
project themselves to the world in a sustained manner, in order to translate
it into practical strategies and actions?
- How to share competitive intelligence efforts with institutions in
other countries, especially in the same region?
- How to join efforts in terms of diagnosis between the public, business,
social and academic sectors?
Regarding the ability to insert businesses in transnational production
chains, both of global and regional scope, it would be important to be
clear on what kind of public-business-academia synergies could be more
advisable to promote a sustained participation of companies from the country
and, in particular, of SMEs.
Some questions that would need to be answered in order to achieve an
efficient country strategy in this aspect are:
- How to build internal, regional and global production networks and
use them to add value to what is projected to world markets?
- How to create conditions to attract the location in the country of
global and regional value chains that generate a greater impact on productive
employment and technological innovation?
- How to identify effective channels to project to the world what Argentines
know or can produce and how to scale with higher added value within
each different channel?
- How to combine efforts between the public, business, social and academic
sectors for the insertion into transnational production chains?
And finally, regarding the ability to monitor international trade negotiations
that may have, once concluded, an impact on the layout and development
of strategies for projection into the world of the productive and technological
capabilities of domestic firms, the relevant questions to be answered
- How to get organized in order to monitor and understand the dynamics
of the map of cross-linked international trade negotiations (multilateral,
interregional and regional)?
- How to assess their impact on the country's external trade integration,
both in the case of those in which it participates and also of those
where it does not take part?
- How to achieve the articulation of business interests -both offensive
and defensive- with the monitoring of trade negotiations and in the
definition and execution of negotiating strategies?
- How to ensure transparency and participation of all social sectors,
including local, provincial and regional economies, SMEs, trade unions
and NGOs, in the monitoring of trade negotiations in which the country
- How to get prepared for taking full advantage of the results of trade
negotiations once they are concluded?
Some of the questions that have been raised in the preceding paragraphs
may provide guidance for a necessary debate on future strategies that
are effective and successful for the insertion of Argentina in world trade,
both at the global level and regionally.
It is a debate that requires an interdisciplinary approach and that needs
to include the active participation of representatives from all the sectors
involved. A debate at national, provincial and local level, involving
representatives and experts from the public sphere, the business and other
social sectors, and the academia, may be most opportune given the fact
that in 2015 the country will be preparing for a new government term.
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Félix Peña Director
of the Institute of International Trade at the ICBC Foundation. Director
of the Masters Degree in International Trade Relations at Tres de Febrero
National University (UNTREF). Member of the Executive Committee of the
Argentine Council for International Relations (CARI). Member of the Evian
Group Brains Trust. More