World Is Flat: An Assessment of Globalization Research Paper

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World Is Flat: An Assessment of Globalization

Thomas L. Friedman's best-selling book, the World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century completely redefines the concept of globalization and its implications on companies, organizations and societies globally. Thomas Friedman's approach to observing, analyzing and consolidating his views of globalization illustrate how quickly assimilation from western cultures is influencing and affecting other nations' norms, values and customs. The examples of how call center professionals in India attend courses in the evening to change their native dialect to sound more westernized, even taking on different first and last names is one of the more striking examples Mr. Friedman uses to make his point. The books' fifteen chapters are anchored by ten critical points that Mr. Friedman defines as pivotal to the development of globalization. What is so critically important about this book relative to the many others on globalization is the immediacy, urgency and highly personalized accounts of how globalization is impacting everyday lives in other nations. Mr. Friedman has an opportunistic, fascinated voice throughout much of the book which seems paradoxical given the major changes that globalization is forcing onto the people he is interviewing and observing.

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Research Paper on World Is Flat: An Assessment of Globalization Assignment

Paradoxical as the authors' approach is to globalization, this book is the first to bring globalization into full view for the reading public. The macroeconomic aspects of globalization seem to me celebrated in this book, yet there needs to be a balance to the microeconomic, socioeconomic and political aspects of globalization as well. While there are literally dozens of books authored by academicians on globalization, this one was the first to attempt to be encyclopedic and encompass all factors that are perceived as the factors behind globalization. This is also a noteworthy book because the author attempts to show through many examples how investments in infrastructure, education and the development of knowledge as a differentiator for a nation, and investment in new ventures through venture capital are the catalysts of economic growth. These three factors, investment in infrastructure, education, and new venture creation, are the catalysts that have led to the development of India's growth in professional services. Mr. Friedman could be much more concise on this point, yet he meanders through fifteen chapters of this book to show how even in nations that have these three factors loosely coupled together lead to significant economic growth. Mr. Friedman was clearly trying to write a best-seller, hence the lack of tight intellectual organization of these triad of concepts that are crucial for the development of successful globalization strategies on the part of nations. Nonetheless, this book is significant and important due to the coverage of these interrelationships. He could have also been more focused on how important the concept of tariffs and government regulations were in fostering and nurturing the Indian outsourcing industry, yet that would not fit with the narrative style in which the book was written. In addition, Mr. Friedman tends to err on the side of using anecdotal data instead of citing empirical studies to back up the concepts he uses to substantiating the ten Forces that anchor much of the book from a cause-and-effect standpoint. Despite these limitations, this book is significant and matters due to the fact it attempt so capture the essence of globalization, albeit biased, through a series of vignettes and stories that illustrate how the dynamics of every industry are being transformed.

Aspects Worthy of Introspection

Despite the fact that Mr. Friedman takes too loose of a discussion of how globalization impacts a person's life and instead equates all good coming from economic gain, the book is worthy of introspection due to the following points. First, the book is a testament to the power of global branding, and the influence of brands on everything from how people live to how nations are beginning to define themselves. While Mr. Friedman is thorough in his analysis of how global brands impact India and China, it would have been an even more interesting book to evaluate how branding is impacting the perception of Muslim-based nations relative to westernized nations including the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. This would have been fascinating to also see how global brands are marketing themselves to Muslim nations; a tricky proposition to be sure based on the vast differences in cultural and religious beliefs. Mr. Friedman steers clear of the intricacies of globalization on culture, religion and policy. The book would have been much richer as a result of taking these risks as a writer, yet the anecdotal points are at times lengthy, making the book tend to drag through points. His writing errs on the side of thoroughness, which is a strength of the book. Yet if he had worked to be more efficient in his writing style he may have been able to cover some of the more painful and complex paradoxes of globalization. His chapter on the Quiet Crisis is the one that most closely comes to being able to dissect the paradoxes of globalization and how the United States specifically was blinded by such a sense of ethnocentrism in basketball. The Quiet Crisis was one of the best chapters in the book because it showed how globalization is occurring continually and gaining momentum, yet entire nations are not paying attention to it. The portrait of how myopic a given country can become is a case in point. What was most beneficial about the Quiet Crisis chapter is that it reads like a cautionary tale of ignoring globalization at a country's own peril. Implicit in this chapter also is the assumption of how globalization is leveling entire industries, not just on costs but on process efficiency. In fact this aspect of how outsourcing and globalization can significantly increase the performance of entire industries, and is clearly one of the key messages of the entire book. The concept of Business Process Management (BPM) and Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) are crucial concepts for the continual improvements necessary for entire industries to change and adapt. Mr. Friedman interweaves the concepts of BPM and BPR well into the ten forces mentioned in his book. The closest associations he makes are with open sourcing, outsourcing, offshoring, supply chaining and in-forming. The integration of BPM and BPR throughout the book is exceptional and is one of the strongest aspects of this work. On the force of supply chaining specifically he uses excellent examples of how Wal-Mart has relied on BPM and BPR techniques to further increase the development and execution of their supply chain practices and techniques. It is well-known that Wal-Mart suffers from a myopic, at times difficult culture to change especially when it comes to global expansion, as is evidenced by failures in Korea and Germany, yet Friedman is quick to forgive these gaffes and paints their supply chain as a global juggernaut. The discussion of their limitations in terms of globalization when it comes to trying to scale their supply chain across cultures dissimilar than North America would have been useful. Nonetheless, the discussion of the ten Forces from a business process standpoint is one of the strongest aspects of this book.

Critical Analysis of Shortcomings

The in-depth analysis of BPM and BPR which are one of the key reasons this book is so popular with business professionals globally. Yet there is a dearth of coverage of which processes do not scale with equality and alacrity across global cultures. This, I felt, was a significant shortcoming because the essence or catalyst of successful globalization strategies is the ability to scale processes for supporting a business across a diversity of cultures. This lack of appreciation of how business processes scale across dissimilar cultures is a major omission of the book and could have made a major platform for analyzing… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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