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The Global Enterprise

Where to Now?

Heavy fog rolls by early in the morning near the Dubai Marina, November 21, 2007. Steve Cris / Reuters

The alternative to global integration is not appealing,” I wrote ten years ago, while serving as CEO of IBM. “Left unaddressed, discontent with globalization will only grow. People might ultimately choose to elect governments that impose strict regulations on trade or labor, perhaps of a highly protectionist sort. Worse, they might gravitate toward more extreme forms of nationalism, xenophobia, and antimodernism.”

In short, I concluded, “the shift from [multinational corporations] to globally integrated enterprises provides an opportunity to advance both business growth and societal progress. But it raises issues that are too big and too interconnected for business alone or government alone to solve.” At the time, a new business model—the Globally Integrated Enterprise—was just emerging. It was truly global (as opposed to multinational) in how it approached management and operations.

Today, the world stands at the crossroads described in that article.

Britain, a country long known for

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