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

Future of Globalization: Truly Differentiated Products

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.

Globalization, as we know it, is over. The consensus on the benefits of free trade, which has lasted for more than half a century, is eroding with the rise of populist and unapologetically protectionist political parties. Immigration flows are under increasingly intense scrutiny as concerns over employment and security shape the political discourse across Western nations and override any longer-term priorities, such as preserving the democratic and liberal features of the international order.
This does not mean a return to the 1930s or outright chaos. There is, in fact, an alternative: a world that remains connected but becomes more fragmented, as leaders are less inclined to lower barriers to trade and population flows. In that world, there will be a premium on more authentic and exotic products. Truly differentiated products will be more likely to pass the barrier to entry on the international market.
The end of globalization may be a rather uncomfortable truth for a wide range of actors who benefit economically from globalization. But this does not mean that these actors will have no opportunity to strive. Take European entrepreneurs: in a connected yet fragmented world, it will be up to them to truly leverage the “made in Europe” label by considering what makes their know-how and their products truly unique on the world stage. That is what it will take for Europeans to compete.
The people HEC Paris trains must aim for global influence and reach, but cannot ignore their local roots—which consumers are likely to value. Allowing these local roots to shape creativity and innovation will mean that their products and services will be unmatched worldwide. Moving beyond the universal and traditional lessons of management and helping tomorrow’s entrepreneurs clarify and adapt the meaning of the European way of doing business will be crucial.

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