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

Future of Globalization: The Leadership Deficit

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.

At the beginning of the 1990s, globalization was touted to be an “unstoppable train” which would lead to greater integration of the global. The expectation was that the global forces which globalization induces would undermine and eventually lead to the death of the nation-states as global integration of markets and trade deepen. But as critics of globalization have highlighted, the nation-states are alive and kicking today, and one does not have to look far to verify this. Despite the formation of the large supra-national bodies like the European Union, economic nationalism and nationalistic sentiments are on the upsurge as may be evident in the challenges around immigration controls and identity politics. The future of globalization depends much on how the stronger nationalistic sentiments expressing themselves in various forms including Brexit, the Muslim Ban and the weakening role of global institutions such as the United Nations will be managed.

The big challenge about the future of globalization revolves around global leadership, more precisely the leadership deficit at the global level. The earlier conception of globalization as a process driven by an unguided processes of market integration through free trade, without any political leadership has manifested serious weaknesses.

For a truly “global village” to emerge, global leadership is inevitable; there is no village without a leader(s). The trans- or multinational corporations are not going to provide the leadership needed to drive and sustain the process of integration that can deliver desirable outcomes for “citizens”/residents of this planet. The multinational corporations, who are the active players in the globalization theatre, are not concerned with the question about what kind of world do we want to create; they are concerned primarily with expanding their business scope and influence, regardless of what happens to the globe in which they do business. Some of the leaders of these corporations are now thinking of abandoning planet earth in-search of other opportunities “out there.”

The future of globalization depends on how we answer the question, what kind of world do we want to create? This is primarily the question of global leadership, and unfortunately, there is currently a big gap in this area. If there is one area where the global leadership deficit is more apparent, it is around the politics of global climate change. However, this has great potential to galvanize a momentum toward creating an effective global leadership that can close the gap.