Written by Dr. Sarah Easter, assistant professor of management at Abilene Christian University.
In 2005, Thomas L. Friedman, a New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, declared that the world was flat. The thesis of his wildly popular book The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century argued that globalization started nearly five centuries ago, when European traders crossed the Atlantic Ocean looking for the West Indies, and opened up North and South America to Western expansion. Since then, our world has progressively “flattened” as international economic access becomes easier and easier. What’s distinct about globalization in the 21st-century, however, is who’s doing it. Unlike earlier eras driven by countries and companies, in our contemporary era, individuals do the globalizing, pushed by networks that make us “all next-door neighbors.”
Every year since 2005, Friedman’s predictions prove more and more accurate. The rise of widespread access to the Internet and communication networks has rendered markets, competition, and cultural exchange more porous and open. Globalization remains the dominant trend of our economies—the world continues to flatten.
Living And Working In A Globalized World
As a result of this, we live and work in a hugely interconnected world. What happens politically, economically, or culturally in one part of the world ultimately has repercussions, positive and negative, for us all. A recent and very pertinent example of this notion is the pandemic, which significantly affected locally and internationally-based organizations alike as well as citizens located around the globe.
One of the pandemic’s most significant impacts on international business and everyday living for Americans was the sprawling, multi-year chaos in supply chains around the world. As modern consumers, Americans had grown used to the ease of accessing groceries, electronics, and countless goods because of the interwoven supply chains that have developed over the last century between countries and multinational corporations as our world flattened. But, due to an unprecedented array of factors—worker shortages, poorly anticipated buyer behavior, and increased safety measures—production and delivery of goods came to a halt, leading to historically long wait times and gaps in our supply chains. Globalization had delivered contemporary consumers access to goods and services that would overwhelm people even just a century ago, but the pandemic demonstrated that our global business networks are not invulnerable.
The pandemic exposed gaps in our economies. Frustration with various aspects of our supply chain and international economies continues to grow. So, even though globalization may seem inevitable—the future is hardly certain. Many open-ended questions remain:
- How does our increasingly globalized world affect businesses, locally and abroad?
- How can businesses work to be a force for good globally?
- What impacts do supply chains have on businesses and individual consumers?
- What are the benefits and challenges of working in remote, cross-cultural teams?
- How do political and legal landscapes influence organizations attempting to do business internationally?
These questions demonstrate that much progress is still needed in international business. Our markets need improvement. Strong, capable leaders are needed to shepherd the next generation of international companies and businesses through rocky, uncertain times.
Obtaining A Global Perspective
Do you want to be part of this next generation of strong, capable business leaders? If this excites you and you’re interested in learning how to navigate our flattening world, ACU’s MBA with a concentration in International Business could be a great fit for your professional goals—preparing you to live and work in today’s highly connected markets. This concentration explores our evolving business environment, including multinational management, logistics and business practices, to develop and enhance leadership skills for roles in the U.S. and abroad.
Because this globalization trend is unavoidable in the business world and impacts day-to-day work life. Even organizations that operate within one country context, such as US-based firms, are becoming increasingly complex, as a greater number of individuals identify with more than one national culture, referred to as biculturals, and hybrid and remote cross-cultural teams become commonplace. Obtaining a global perspective and learning how to navigate this new ‘flat’ business world is essential for your success.
To equip students for this reality, classes like International Business, teach how today’s businesses can craft organizations (and individuals) that effectively work within and across cultures. Our Global Supply Chain Management course educates you on the massive web of contemporary supply chain economics and impart skills for the design and implementation of lean supply chains through managing global sourcing and procurement systems. Also, the International Finance class focuses on the structure and opportunities for multinational firms in our evolving world, through understanding of the international monetary system, and balance of payments. All of these curricular offerings are designed to offer students cutting-edge education in global business so they are ready to thrive in a rapidly changing world.
Whether you are interested in advancing your current job, or beginning a new career, obtaining a strong foundation in international business will strengthen your understanding of the global dimensions of business and provide you with the knowledge and tools to be an effective and meaningful manager and citizen in today’s interconnected world.
Ready to take your next steps? Get more information here or call 855-219-7300.
About the Author
Dr. Sarah Easter is an assistant professor of management at Abilene Christian University and she teaches the International Business course in the ACU Online MBA Program. She received her PhD in international management, with an emphasis in sustainability and cross-cultural management, from the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. Dr. Easter lived and worked in Vietnam as a business development advisor for a social enterprise and she has been involved in leading student groups on study abroad trips with strong cross-cultural elements to Honduras, Costa Rica, England, and Germany. She is passionate about teaching international business and helping students to understand the significance of a global perspective of business.