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Globalization: a one way street?


Have you noticed that the concept of globalization sometimes generates negative rapport in your Latin American counterparts? Do you wonder why? Globalization has not brought the same trend of changes to all players in the world. It has meant improvement to some and has worsened business and living conditions to others. This might be an ¨implementation¨ problem and not a concept flaw. Here are some ideas to show your Latin American partners what Globalization can do for them and get them on board.


In order to understand the reluctance to embrace globalization we have to understand its effects in Latin America.

So far, this new international order has taken a toll:

  • Many activities previously performed in the multinational subsidiaries now take place in the headquarters;

  • Salaries are reduced to accommodate to the international lowest possible cost;

  • Industries are moved to the cheapest possible country leaving hundreds of thousands of people without jobs. This also impacts Europe and the US but because their economies are much stronger, the consequence is not at as catastrophical;

  • Many environmentally questionable activities are moved to peripheral countries where environmental laws are inexistent or easy to circumvent.

Globalization is here to stay, what we can change is the perception our employees have of it. If all Latin Americans see is how their already hard working conditions are worsened no wonder they will not embrace it.

Here are different approaches to help your Latin American counterparts feel more comfortable with globalization while you increase profit in the subsidiaries:

  1. Initiate an idea-generating project ¨What can Globalization do for us in Latin America?¨ Do it for the continent or for each country separately where each subsidiary only collects ideas for itself. Make it a contest an offer a prize to stimulate participation. Latin America needs to create its own vision. With a pool of diverse talents and cultural wealth it is a losing proposition to merely imitate what has already been achieved in other parts of the world. Moreover, imitation sets Latin America off in a race that began years ago and has in fact already be decided. Let them list their unique talents and encourage them to sell these throughout the corporation;

  2. You may be thinking your assignment to work with Latin America has been some kind of divine or worldly punishment. Think harder, this experience - if approached positively - can enrich your business perspective and you should be able to capitalize on that. For example: you may have found out that brainstorming sessions are a lot more productive within your teams in Latin America. If that is the case take the brain storming activities there. Profit from the creativity and out of the box thinking (that so many times have maddened you) and make your local employees feel as important to you as they actually are;

  3. When choosing a supplier check for talents, services and products in the countries where you have partners or subsidiaries. Involve your Latin American partners in the process. You might get better service for a lower price even for services you usually contract out close to the headquarters;

  4. Have an open mind to different viewpoints. Profit from the fact that most likely your employee or partner will have a different opinion. Use their input constructively, particularly when you are out of ideas. This highly motivates people and can also solve many work issues;

  5. Be ¨global¨ by acknowledging the differences between you and your local employees and try to understand their view of the world and globalization. All the newsletters at help with this and specially the February 2002 issue.

In doing this you will be showing that the world has really become one a big pool of resources and no region holds a monopoly forever. Every service, talent and product is subject to the market laws that reign globally.

Giving globalization a tarnish of fairness may not be all that easy but by acting as outlined above you may achieve your goal of making all your partners help you do business.

Interested in feed back from all over the world! Good luck!