An Ideas-Based Online Magazine of the Global Network for Advanced Management

Future of Globalization: Bridging the Gaps

To coincide with the fifth anniversary of the Global Network for Advanced Management in April 2017, Global Network Perspectives asked faculty across the 29 schools in the network: "What do you think the future of globalization looks like? How will this affect the economy in your country or region? How is your school preparing students for this world?" Read all of the responses. Also, in a session at the anniversary symposium, a panel of experts—including former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry—led a discussion of the future of globalization and its implications for business and management education. Watch the video.

Whether in Düsseldorf or Dubai, Brasilia or Beijing, New York or New Delhi, we are part of a global network—not just in the office or meetings—but virtually, through e-mail, videoconferences, Skype, and phone. Success depends on the ability to navigate through the different cultural realities of how people think and get things done. Unless you know how to decode other cultures and bridge cultural gaps, you are vulnerable to inefficiency, with teams unable to work together and deals that fall apart.

As today’s business world becomes ever more global and virtual, executives and leaders are expected to work harmoniously together with counterparts from a broad array of cultures and backgrounds, often without leaving their desks. But when you throw people together who come from starkly different backgrounds and cultures, the result can be interesting, and sometimes even funny, but can also lead to misunderstanding and confusion.

Even those who are culturally informed, travel extensively, and have lived abroad often have few strategies for dealing with the cross-cultural complexity that impacts their day-to-day effectiveness. At INSEAD, we have developed a research-based system—the results of which I have written extensively about in my book The Culture Map—that helps our students to decode cultural differences impacting their daily interactions and bridge cultural gaps. Our goal is to help the future leaders of global organizations to bridge gaps, transform differences into assets, and ultimately improve their effectiveness.