The Economist In Praise from the Statel
In reward of the stateless multinational
Not really without their flaws, but infinitely much better the state-bound version Sep 18th 08 | in the print model
Example by James Fryer
SHOULD YOU hanker after the idealistic heart of intercontinental co-operation, speak with the boss of an emerging-market multinational. Not the employer of Gazprom, perhaps, that has behaved like an arm from the Russian express. But try Chairman Yang Yuanqing of Lenovo, that has moved his family to North Carolina to deepen his appreciation of yankee culture, to be able to help him integrate his Chinese and American employees. Or Lakshmi Mittal, the London-based Indian boss of Arcelor Mittal, who says his multinational team of management get on so well that this individual forgets you will find different nationalities in the room, and who feels his company has no nationality, instead getting " really global”. Lenovo and Arcelor Mittal have reached the leading advantage of a new phase in the evolution from the multinational organization, as each of our special report this week argues. At first firms set up overseas sales office buildings, to watch in the export of goods made at home. Then they built small foreign replicas of the mom ship, to cater to local demand. Today the target is to generate what Sam Palmisano, the boss of IBM, calls the " globally built-in enterprise”—a single firm in which work can be sourced exactly where it is most effective. For business commanders, building a company that is seamlessly integrated across time zones and cultures gives daunting obstructions. Rather than huddling together within a headquarters building in Armonk or Millbank, senior managers will significantly be pass on around the world, which will require those to learn new tricks. How can you get virtual teams of workers to bond, for instance? The answer seems to be a lot of time put in talking—as well as the odd junket. MySQL, an online database company, holds digital Christmas get-togethers, at which teams around the world play childish games and exchange virtual gifts....