Designing the Global Corporation

Designing the Global Corporation

Designing the Global Corporation

Designing the Global Corporation


For years now, the ubiquitous business watchword has been "keep it simple." But as more and more businesses go global, keeping things simple for customers becomes increasingly complex. Managers must find new ways to deliver solutions_not just stand-alone products_to customers who expect seamless integration no matter where in the world they may be. This book gives readers the skills they need to master this new global complexity and retain their competitive advantage. Written by an internationally recognized leader in organizational design, Designing the Global Corporation helps companies identify the specific "level of internationalization" they are engaged in, from simply exporting product to managing multiple units that develop and sell product worldwide. It details the methods leading companies at various levels of globalization are using to build their business worldwide. These methods address the myriad issues that confront the modern multinational_issues defined by emerging geopolitical realities, the transformation and convergence of industries, and the strategic selection of new localities. Taken together, these methods form a framework that corporate executives, global strategists, and regional managers can use to create organizational designs that will work best for them given their company's own unique position. Based on twenty five-years of research with companies around the world, Designing the Global Corporation is the most comprehensive guide to creating organizations that can successfully compete in the global arena. It is the only book that presents solutions for both single businesses and multibusiness corporations, for both transnational and international divisions, and for beginning and experienced global managers alike.


This book was conceived after I completed my chapters for Tomor-row's Organization (Mohrman, Galbraith, and Lawler, 1998), the Center for Effective Organization's latest book. I was considering several alternatives for my next project and sought advice from my colleague, Ed Lawler. I said, “I could do a book on global organization or …” Before I could mention any alternatives, Ed said, “Do the global book.” Ed has always been a good reader of the book market and he knows me quite well, so I moved the global book to the top of my list.

I have always wanted to do a book on organizing international business; I have addressed the topic several times in my previous work, but it was never the primary focus. I wanted to do a book that would pull this work together. In Designing Complex Organizations (1973), I included a summary of the groundbreaking work of Stopford and Wells (1972); I have followed their approach to strategy and structure ever since. Summaries of the research have been reported in Galbraith and Nathanson (1978) and Galbraith and Kazanjian (1986).

A previous approach to analyzing multinationals was taken by Anders Edstrom and myself in the mid-1970s. We were both expatriates at the time; I was at the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management in Brussels; Anders was at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, on leave from the University of Gothenberg. With support from Shell and British Petroleum, we studied how rotational assignments across borders built personal networks and shaped managers' values (Galbraith and Edstrom, 1976; Edstrom and Galbraith, 1977). I have always wanted to return to this work; the emphasis today on networks and shared values provides an excellent opportunity to do so.

In the early 1990s, Ed Schein and Dick Beckhard asked me to revise my original 1973 book in their Organization Development

In the early 1990s, Ed Schein and Dick Beckhard asked me to revise my original 1973 book in their Organization Development . . .

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