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Redefining Global Strategy

Crossing Borders in a World Where Differences Still Matter

Why do so many global strategies fail-despite companies' powerful brands and other border-crossing advantages? Seduced by market size, the illusion of a borderless, "flat" world, and the allure of similarities, firms launch one-size-fits-all strategies.

But cross-border differences are larger than we often assume, explains Pankaj Ghemawat in Redefining Global Strategy. Most economic activity - including direct investment, tourism, and communication - happens locally, not internationally.

In this "semiglobalized" world, one-size-fits-all strategies don't stand a chance. Companies must instead reckon with cross-border differences. Ghemawat shows you how - by providing tools for:

  • Assessing the cultural, administrative, geographic, and economic differences between countries at the industry level and deciding which ones merit attention.
  • Tracking the implications of particular border-crossing moves for your company's ability to create value.
  • Creating superior performance with strategies optimized for adaptation (adjusting to differences), aggregation (overcoming differences), and arbitrage (exploiting differences), and for compound objectives.

In-depth examples reveal how companies such as Cemex, Toyota, Procter & Gamble, Tata Consultancy Services, IBM, and GE Healthcare have adroitly managed cross-border differences - as well as how other well-known companies have failed at this challenge.

Crucial for any business competing across borders, this book will transform the way you approach global strategy.


  • "Most of us do not need much persuading that the world is still round, but Pankaj Ghemawat redefines its circularity. He shows how companies can benefit from what he calls semiglobalization, while not falling into the traps unwittingly set by those who talk glibly about our 'globalised world."

Sir Howard Davies, Director, London School of Economics and Political Science, former Chairman, Financial Services Authority, United Kingdom

  •  "Pankaj Ghemawat's differentiated industry- and company-specific views on globalization offer essential insights and thought-provoking impulses for today's decision makers. For anyone who aims to realize the full potential of globalization, it clearly confirms: the world isn't flat!"

    Prof. Dr. Ulrich Lehner, Chairman of the Management Board, Henkel KGaA, Germany

  •  "An impeccably researched reassessment of the global business world--not as an ideal but as it really is."

    Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP Group

  • "International firms have to reflect more deeply on how to coordinate their commitments around the world. Pankaj Ghemawat's pioneering book offers an innovative approach for how to deal with this critical challenge."

    José Ignacio Gorigolzarri, President and COO, BBVA

  • "Pankaj Ghemawat´s Redefining Global Strategy has very appropriately identified the world we live in as only 'semiglobalized'. He builds on this definition to present some very valuable and innovative frameworks for developing strategies for internationalization and global value creation. the book offers a comprehensive treatment of one of the most important issues engaging the business community."

Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Group.

  • "Now things are clear. Nations and cultures will continue challenging the babel-like perspectives of those who see an irresistibly globalizing world. Pankaj Ghemawat"s refreshing and thought-provoking book brings us to the real world."

    Michel Camdessus, former Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

  • "Pankaj Ghemawat is one of those rare individuals who combines world class scholarship with a deep knowledge of business practice. Redefining Global Strategy tackles the crucial balance between local and global that will often define success in an increasingly globalized world economy."

    Michael E. Porter, Bishop William Lawrence University Professor, Harvard Business School

  • "Pankaj Ghemawat has created an important strategic guidebook for leaders of the 21st century globally integrated enterprise. His analytic framework is both visionary and pragmatic - aware of the broader historic trajectories of globalization, but grounded in the real kinds of decisions business leaders have to make in the here and now. And his caveats about "semiglobalization" provide a salutary reminder that massive change of this kind doesn't happen overnight. By basing his analysis on real-world case studies and a mastery of economic data, Pankaj Ghemawat will help CEOs and leaders of institutions make smarter decisions on one of the most important challenges we all face."

    Samuel J. Palmisano, Former Chairman and CEO, IBM

  • "Ghemawat is the great cartographer of the competitive landscape and its irregularities. "Managing Differences" sums up and extends a thesis that he has developed through years of research and several HBR articles, including 2005's McKinsey Award winner, "Regional Strategies for Global Leadership." In the world according to Ghemawat, most companies' global strategies are flawed and incomplete. Flawed because they assume that cross-border integration is or should be the same thing as standardization. (A company can be integrated across borders without presenting a uniform offering or business model; it's the ability to manage differences well - which includes both acquiescing to and overcoming them - that matters.) Incomplete because, in the pursuit of simplicity, they tend to omit a whole class of approaches that exploit differences in the cost of labor, for instance."

    Thomas A. Stewart, Managing Editor, Harvard Business Review

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