ABSTRACT Sharing core knowledge in international collaborations could be a disadvantage due to the possibility of information leak and duplication of products and services around the world. The idea of sharing core knowledge is a disadvantage in the global economy for both the employer and employees. Many products and services have been duplicated in China due to the fast transfer of information. Obstacles in cultural differences can be overcome through education and experience through trial and error.
Many nations fear the impact of globalization on their cultures, with the possibility of ‘Mc Donaldization,’ or American culture replacing other cultures around the world. Though not practical, globalization in its purest form would be one world culture, one world economy, one political power and one language. The United States at one time enjoyed one third of the world economy; however, that imbalance is rapidly in changing in today’s global economy.
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Entrepreneurs must check the company’s strengths and weaknesses at an international level before deciding to go global, because the wrong decision could cost the company at both domestic and international markets. Unions have come to understand that they are at a national disadvantage when confronting global employers. The current strategy of forming councils of unions around the world to bargain with their common employers has not been very successful. Unions will gain footing over time due to the advancement in communication and other technologies.
ANALYSIS There are many downfalls to sharing knowledge in international collaborations and global projects. According to Vittal S. Anantamula from the perspective of the company, the core knowledge is a prized property that creates a competitive advantage since competitors cannot easily replicate it; however, this will be lost in international collaborations (Anantatmula, 2010). From the employee’s standpoint, a person would not want to share his or her knowledge unless the rewards are greater than the perceived value of the knowledge.
So from both perspectives, the idea of sharing knowledge is a competitive disadvantage in the global economy. I think this absolutely true, especially in today fast paced environment, because information can be passed to people around the world in an instant. My friend who owns a refrigeration company in Dubai said that almost all of the name brand products in Dubai are duplicates. China is well known for its ability to copy intellectual knowledge and sell it for far less than the original price. Recently an Apple company store located in China was found to be a complete duplicate, illegally selling lookalike Ipads.
When dealing at an international level, the core competitive knowledge should distinguished from knowledge absolutely needed for normal business transactions. Individual employees prefer to keep their core knowledge, and virtual communication mixed with cultural differences only adds to this desire (Anantatmula, 2010). Cultural differences are obstacles to effective knowledge management in global projects. I think that these obstacles can be overcome through education, but most importantly through experience of trial and error.
As an international representative for a company in Ferndale, I have had several international customers try to resell products back to companies in United States after stating that the purchase was for international sale. The international price list is adjusted to stay competitive with local markets, `but deceitful people try to use this as a means to make profit by reselling in the U. S. , thereby interrupting business with our domestic distributors. This is all made possible by advancement in technology and access to the internet.
Social networks such as YouTube and Facebook are connecting different cultures by storm (Warloumont, 2010). Managers should be aware of the cultures perspective on globalization. An example of globalization is the term ‘Mc Donaldization,’ (see image below) where the spreading of McDonald’s restaurants around the world is seen as American culture imperialism to some countries (Stehr, 2009). Some cultures such as the ones in Middle East see this as a threat to their own culture. The mix of Western clothing, music, and individualism are also on the rise due to globalization (Anantatmula, 2010).
I would also add that many cultures have affected the cultures within the United States. The United States has a mix of cultures; however, the mix is usually run by the dominant culture. For example, many people who come to the United States may keep their religion, but the ‘group’ way of being is usually overtaken by individualism. ‘Mc Donaldization’ of the World (from Google images) If the trend towards a global economy creates one giant system, then will that cause many subcultures to be lost (Anantatmula, 2010)? This is why it’s hard to mix American culture with cultures overseas.
I had a teacher who virtually managed IT divisions of a phone company in India, and he told me that many of his employees would accept less pay while performing high quality work. This was not very appealing to the American counterparts since many of the job positions were transferred overseas, but nonetheless managers were forced to either virtually manage or lose their jobs. This is sometimes used as a last resort for companies to stay competitive. I think the balance will return after a few years of globalization shift, but not at the level it once was.
Actually in the past, the imbalance in global economies were huge, with the American economy taking over one third of the world. Globalization in its purest form would be one world culture, one world economy, one political power, and one language (Anantatmula, 2010). Practically speaking, it would be a blending of cultures and languages, but even then many nations prefer to retain their own cultures. Entrepreneurs who make the wrong decision of going global can burden both the domestic and international aspects of the company.
Before going global, the company should check its strengths and weaknesses at an international level (Stehr, 2009). The lower labor wages enjoyed by overseas divisions may be outweighed by poor customer service, negative government impact, and negative domestic perspectives. According to Christopher Stehr, “A decision respectively the overestimation of the company’s internal resources and qualifications in the course of globalization can lead to a bad investment” (Stehr, 2009). The global competitors may also be strengthened by a withdrawal from foreign markets, so it is important to think carefully before considering expansion overseas.
I am the only international customer service representative for the company I work for, and there have been wide ranges of ups and downs as far as sales in the international side of our business. Our company has a division in the United Kingdom that was highly regarded as a prominent hub to distribute product to other countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa; however, sales have plummeted during the past two years. Thankfully only a small percent is invested in international business, so we are able to stay afloat. With globalization, unions around the world are operating at an ever more complex changing environment.
In 2006, a conference attended by more than 560 union leaders and representatives around the world, took place on the premise that a global marketplace calls for a global union movement with global labor strategies (Unions, 2008). One of the reasons is that unions must learn how to respond to’ transnational companies,’ ones that have minimal loyalty to any single industry, because many transnational companies are currently investing in developing countries (Unions, 2008). I think this is a completely different perspective, because in the United States we usually think about the effects of globalization on union members within our borders.
A great example would be the Indian arm of the American firm Union Carbide that left tons of toxic waste in Bhopal in 1984. Thousands of people died and many of the leaders, who were responsible, fled the country. The collapse of communism had halted an era of labor internationalism; however, globalization has reintroduced it (Meyerson, 2010). This was propelled by the help of the world’s largest employers such as, Wal-Mart, Ford, General Electric, Toyota, and many others who had gone global.
Unions that had won bargaining and political power on a national level have to now face employers who are not forced to observe their nations laws on wages, hours, and worker safety when they hire aboard, therefore weakening labor influence at home (Meyerson, 2010). Unions have come to understand that they are at a national disadvantage when confronting global employers. See chart below of differences in compensation. The current strategy being tested is to form councils of unions from around the world to bargain with their common employers, but so far the playing field has not tilted much in favor of the unions (Meyerson, 2010).
I think that it is very difficult to bargain on common ground when dealing with unions around the world due to the vast differences in wants and needs. Over time the unions around the world will gain footing just as employers have gained footing due to the advancement in communication and other technologies. Everything is more transparent as more information is available with the click of a button to almost anyone around the world. REFERENCES Anantatmula, V. S. (2010). Impact of cultural differences on knowledge management in global projects. Emerald Group Publishing, Ltd.
Retrieved from Pro Quest. Meyerson, H. (2010). Can the workers of the world unite? The American Prospect. Retrieved form Pro Quest. Stehr, C. (2009). Small and medium sized enterprises and their globalization strategy. International Council for Small business. Retrieved from Pro Quest. Unions address the challenges of globalization. (2008). Dispute Resolution Journal. Retrieved from Pro Quest. Warlaumont, H. G. (2010). Social networks and globalization: Facebook, YouTube and the impact of online communities on france’s protectionist policies. Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved from Pro Quest.