"It is impossible for ideas to
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Thomas Mann, 1896
The Business Forum
Globalization: The 21st Century Paradigm
By Henry H. Goldman, Ph.D
Shortly before the end of the Twentieth
Century, the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) issued an
interesting and provocative report for its members with the title,
Challenges and Opportunities in Global Training and Development. The authors correctly asserted that,
"globalization is changing the way [that] the world does [conducts]
business." They concluded that there [would be] numerous opportunities for
those in the training and development fields for expanded work in the new
global marketplace of the 21st century.
Joan E. Spero, former Under Secretary of
State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, addressing, "the
Challenges of Globalization," before the World Economic Development Congress
in September of 1996, emphatically proclaimed that participation in the
global economy [was] no longer a choice but a necessity."
We have been aware and involved in the
globalization of business since the early 1990s. We noted, with a great
deal of interest, that full globalization hinges, to a great degree, "on the
behavioral alignment of the human component." The underlying suggestion is that the human
psyche must, somehow, "align" itself to some predetermined human behavior
model. The truth, we believe, may be somewhat different.
One of the most basic concepts of
globalization is that people and cultures are different. That recognition
is precisely the reason why some organizations are extremely successful in
the global arena, while others fail dismally. Failure to understand the
"human component" has and will continue to cause companies to abandon their
international interests. A classic example of failure to recognize the
differences in humanity can be seen in one major consumer products company's
attempts at selling American style washing machines in Germany. In spite of
a growing market for American goods, the washing machines failed to excite
the German consumers. The reason was simple: most German households do not
have the necessary available space to accommodate American style washing
machines and automatic dryers. European manufactures of similar products
produce stacked machines, which, of course, occupies far less space. The
American company might have been more successful if a certain amount of
market research had been conducted before the company entered the global
One is reminded of the story about a British
shoe manufacturer that wanted to open a market in Africa. A company
representative was dispatched thereto to determine if there might be a
market for the company's products. The agent toured the continent, north to
south, and concluded that no market existed: people did not wear shoes.
A competitor also eyed the African market.
That company's representative viewed the market place quite differently. He
cabled back to headquarters that, since no one wore shoes, the market was
wide open. Using the analogy already stated, the representative of the
second shoe manufacturer read the "human component" in a way that was far
different from the first firm's agent. An understanding of that difference
made one firm successful in the global market and the other, a failure.
Globalization demands a new symbiosis of
government, business and civil society ... Globalization asks for
governance beginning with civil society, translating itself in the tendency
of transnational corporations to internalize societal values in their
mission statements, in codes of conduct and in their behavior."
The Twenty-first Century permits new
technologies to be implemented in the globalization of business. New
modalities have become the paradigm of the new century. We have already
seen the future. We know, just a little, about what to expect. We are
constantly searching for new ways of transmitting information, new ways to
The "challenges and opportunities" for
globalization transcend any particular discipline. They, themselves, are
global in outlook, global in their perspective. As more and more companies
expand their markets and increase their presence in the global arena, new
challenges as well as new opportunities will arise in all sectors of the
world's economy. As we know, the techniques of delivering quality higher
education to a global student body have changed drastically within the last
year, alone. We can only glimpse the future through lenses that always need
polishing. We have accepted the challenges and have sought out the
opportunities. The Twenty-first Century is now almost ten percent
complete. We are positioned within a global environment and are well within
the new technologies.
The windows of opportunity are open.
Globalization is the new paradigm.
RECENT BOOKS ON GLOBALIZATION
Friedman, Thomas L. The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding
Globalization. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1999.
Friedman, Thomas L. The World is Flat: A Brief History of the
Twenty-First Century. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2005.
Robert. The Challenge of Global Capitalism: The World Economy in the
21st Century. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000.
Robert. The West and the Rest: Globalization and the Terrorist Threat.
Wilmington, DE: Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2002.
Stiglitz, Joseph E. Globalization and Its Discontents. New York:
Henry H. Goldman
a Fellow of The Business Forum Institute and is the Managing Director of the Goldman Nelson Group. Henry got
his Masters Degree at the University of Iowa and did his Doctoral
Studies at the University of Southern California. He is a
Certified Professional Consultant to Management (CPCM); and has
published numerous articles in trade journals and was Associate
Editor of Taking Stock: A Survey on the Practice and Future of
Change Management (Berlin, Germany). He is a member of the
American Society for Training and Development (ASTD); Association of
Professional Consultants (APC) and the Institute of Management
Consultants (IMC). Henry has consulted and/or offered training in
South Africa, Tanzania, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau,
Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Barbados, Georgia, Kosovo,
Tajikistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and of
course North America. He has also taught at Baker University:
Lee’s Summit, MO, 2008, Adjunct Professor of International Business;
National Graduate School: Falmouth, MA, 2004-2008, Adjunct Professor
of Quality Management; California State University: Fullerton,
2005-2006, Lecturer on Taxation; University of California: Berkeley,
2002, Adjunct Professor of Management; University of Macau (China),
Adjunct Professor of Management, 2001-2003.
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