Business Beat; Globalization Challenges

Article excerpt

Byline: Melito Salazar Jr.

Attending the 2007 Kuala Lumpur Rotary Institute with more than 100 Filipino Rotarians and approximately 400 other Rotary leaders from Canada, Australia, Sri Lanka, Japan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand, I was struck by the presentation of His Highness Tunku Naquiyuddin ibni Tuanku Ja'afar who spoke on how globalization was affecting communities in developing countries and the need for the right humanitarian response to the situation.

His Highness shared his efforts in trying to restore the support of a business firm to a small tribe in his state. Since the parent company had merged with another larger firm to become one of the biggest companies in the region if not in the global industry, thrusts and directions had to conform to those of the bigger company. A very small project needing modest funding did not fit within the bureaucratic concerns of a global player. His Highness believed that the project had just fallen into the tiny gaps that mergers have a tendency to create and hoped that by personally raising the issue, the new company will continue to undertake its corporate social responsibility at the community level in addition to its worldwide social commitments.

It reminded me how the challenges of globalization had forced businesses to restructure, relocate or in some cases totally close down. The effects on the workers, the company's small and medium suppliers and the surrounding community have been devastating. Workers lost their jobs; the local business lost a major if not their only customer and the local government lost significant revenues affecting its ability to meet the social welfare needs of the people. Workers had to look for alternative jobs in far-flung areas leaving their families behind. The absence of the father or mother certainly had negative effects on the upbringing of the children.

Some multinational companies were able to prepare well for the changes brought about by globalization. It was not merely the separation pay given to their employees. The company undertook training programs to provide new skills to the workers to make them employable or to hire them in other types of business within the conglomerate. …