Shweta Honavar


Diploma in Strategy and Innovation


United Kingdom


Financial services



By Shweta Honavar

Round to Flat to What???

When we were young, we were taught that the earth is round… we all have grown up listening to this in schools. Then, during the early 2000s, we read Thomas L. Friedman’s views on how the World Is Flat. In his famous book, Thomas Friedman presented his view on the world as a level playing field in terms of commerce, wherein all competitors have an equal opportunity and alluded to the perceptual shift required for countries, companies, and individuals to remain competitive in a global market in which historical and geographic divisions are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

A few years back, Pankaj Ghemawat challenged this common wisdoms about globalisation, claiming that we have over blown our intuition on globalisation and it’s trendy to assert that the world is flat, distance is dead, borders don’t matter and the perception that we live in one world. Ghemawat diffuses the myth using cross border data such as FDI investments as a % of all the investments happening in the world, international voice calling minutes as a % of all call minutes, the fact that only 10-15% of peoples friends on Facebook are located in countries other than where they are based; despite it being theoretically possible to make friends across the world, and numerous such examples to prove this point and urge us to get an accurate handle on how limited globalisation is!!

There is great uncertainty about where globalisation is headed, and protectionism and nationalism has become a favourite political manifesto. Through a series of readings, discussions, debates on case studies, application of various frameworks and role plays facilitated by the faculty, Module 3 (Globalisation & Strategy) exposes you to pro and anti-globalisers point of views and sets you thinking if the world is really connected? Globalisation created huge benefits, but also costs and political backlash. What’s shaking the foundation of globalisation, leading to ‘Slowbalisation’ and what was it built upon in its first place? Do we overestimate globalisation and how does this perception impact organisations as their experienced executives define the global strategy? The notion of a border-less world is responsible for most of the mistakes we see in international business, as was evident through the numerous examples discussed during our sessions. Strategies need to address local needs, appreciate and leverage differences across countries as opposed to simply ignoring them and believing that everything can be sold exactly the same way around the world. And as organisations decide to expand beyond borders, it’s important for them to understand how globalised we are/aren’t, how to develop business strategies that can help them win a semi globalised world, how do we strike a successful balance between the global and the local and can technology eliminate political and cultural differences? Tools and frameworks such as Culture Map, CAGE etc, help understand some of the otherwise hidden nuances.

It was also very interesting to note how this module gradually builds on the concepts introduced during the previous two modules to bring together an integrated strategy by looking at non-market forces which are usually difficult to understand but play a critical role in the overall performance of companies. The module also throws light on emerging markets like China, its effects on global innovation and how non-market forces and institutional set up can throw global companies out of the water, in such markets. And last but not the least, it touches upon yet another important aspect of Strategy which helps organisations to gain huge competitive advantage; which is a well thought through corporate foreign policy that takes into consideration a dynamic assessment of geo-political risk; which is the most challenging risk to manage, and a corporate diplomacy strategy which could be very difficult to imitate for competitors.
Prof. Matthew Amengual, Prof. Marc Szepan and Prof. Mari Sako were absolutely splendid in their discourse of the material through their excellent storytelling skills. “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” ― Richard Branson. This is exactly how Prof. Mari Sako facilitated learning of different concepts through a role-playing game set up around Clinical Trials in India, which has become an increasingly popular destination for pharma companies. The Cohort was split into different groups, each representing a different part of market/ non-market forces. Different scenarios helped bring to life concepts around analysing different influencers, handling reputation crisis, playing offence v/s defence, designing an integrated influence campaign etc.

Enthralling sessions across four days with lots of partying (goes without saying!), dinner at St. Edmund Hall and enjoying lovely summers in Oxford… Collage below… just for fun & memories😊

Shweta Honavar

Clockwise starting from LHS: Prof. Matthew Amengual; Prof. Marc Szepan, Prof. Mari Sako; at St. Edmunds College; excitement post module 2 exam in sub fusc 🙂

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