The Need for a Corporate Global Mind-Set
Many international business leaders consider a global mind-set desirable, but few know how to embed it companywide. A corporate global mind-set differs from having a few managers think globally. That comes first. But global thinking must be incorporated into an organization’s processes so that everyone knows how to handle the tug-of-war between local responsiveness and corporate efficiency.
Two Northeastern University professors studied global companies and found that inculcating a corporate global mind-set lagged behind the will to do so. IBM made the most progress. Having originally overemphasized global consistency, it learned to embrace a more flexible approach, adopting global-policy-development teams, worldwide knowledge networks and appropriate performance measures.
Unfortunately, many American executives regard globalization as pursuing standardized products through centralized decision making. In favoring global consistency, they often fail to secure local cooperation. Through a global mind-set, corporate-decision-making processes become more permeable to influences from beyond the home country. The authors show how managers can determine when an issue calls for a locally adaptive response, when it calls for a globally consistent response and when both elements are needed. The corporate global mind-set is a requirement for motivating a diverse and sprawling work force and giving it a common purpose.