Conceptions and Challenges of
Globalization: Implications for
business practice
Christopher Bond &
Dr Darren O’Byrne
• Conceptual paper building on O’Byrne and
Hensby’s (2011) book Theorizing Global
• Reviews 8 models of global change and
assesses their potential impact on business
practice and strategic choices.
• Argues for the application of a multidimensional approach which highlights
various forces at play in global
• As a concept and in terms of effect
more complex than extant business
and management literature reflects.
• Claims that current emphasis on unidisciplinary perspectives fails to
appreciate true complexity of the
multidisciplinary nature of business
and the multifaceted challenges of
Our premise:
“When commentators refer to
‘globalization’ they often do so
without any clear, through
interrogation into the actual dynamics
of the process in question.
‘Globalization’ thus becomes a thing,
the actual meaning of which is left
Globalization as:
• processes of economic integration: (Dixit and Norman, 1980;
Ohmae, 1995a, 1995b; Wolf, 2004; Dicken, 2007;).
• convergence of markets: (Roostal 1963; Levitt 1983; Jain
1989; Peebles 1989; Yip 1995; Solberg 2002; Johansson 2003).
• applications of cross-cultural management practices:
(Bartlett and Ghoshal 1987, 1998; Adler, 2001; Schneider and
Barsoux, 2003; Steers, Nardon and Sanchez-Runde, 2010).
• roles, relationships and effects of technology: (Cairncross,
1997 Castells, 1996, 2001; Friedman, 2000; Webster, 2005).
• processes that impact on strategic choice: (Hout, Porter and
Rudden, 1982; Hamel and Prahalad, 1985; Porter, 1986;
Ghoshal, 1987; Yip, 1989, 1995).
or globalization as:
• Process(es) of global transformation
which in the literal sense mean
becoming global, rather than
international or regional.
• Views globalization as a complex mesh
of overlapping processes, although
presented as conceptual forms, reality
of global change exists at the
intersection of them all.
Eight models of global change (O’Byrne
& Hensby, 2011:202)
Image of world society
Orientation to ‘one world’
Erosion of barriers between nation-states
World divided into rich and poor
American empire sustained through hard and soft power
Standardization of practices across the world
Ongoing local transformations through regional flows
Emergence of level of governance above the nation-state
Division of world into distinct and conflicting cultural blocs
Globalization is
“the contemporary global condition can
best be described as a complex social
formation driven by forces which are
at the same time globalizing,
liberalizing, polarizing, Americanizing,
McDonaldizing, creolizing,
transnationalizing and balkanizing.”
(O’Byrne, Hensby & Bond, 2011)
• Convergence of economic markets.
• Greater regulation at global level e.g.
environment and human rights.
• Increased global consumer base thus
global marketing and global brands.
• Convergence of HR, financial, legal and
other business practices
• Increased standardisation of products, services and
knowledge across the globe.
• Increased standardisation of business processes and
practices e.g. ISO’s
• Less consumer choice as local products and brands
become squeezed out.
• Increased issues relating to patents, copyright and
intellectual property.
• Emphasis on technology and biotechnology to
increase and improve standardisation.
• Commodification and marketization of all aspects of
society as a business opportunity.
• Trade barriers and economic markets
become more regionalised and glocal.
• Increased resistance to global brands
and commodification.
• Increase in products and services to
meet local and regional needs e.g.
Sharīʿah banking.
• Increased cultural relativism in
marketing and business practices.
Strategic choices for working with
models of global changes
Strategic option
Competitive advantage through increased brand recognition and
brand extension.
Competitive advantage through size and economies of scale.
Competitive advantage through exploitation of resources in
developing economies.
Competitive advantage through embracing and practising
American ideologies and business practices and building these
into brand image and identity.
Competitive advantage through effective application of
technology and standardisation.
Competitive advantage through innovation and creativity.
Competitive advantage through effective supply chain
Competitive advantage through specialisation and
• Overall paper seeks to contribute to
debate in ‘critical globalization studies’.
• Conceptual alignment of strategic choices
with models of global change that could
be tested empirically.
• Advocates greater emphasis on
interdisciplinary research into the
concept and challenges of ‘globalization’.

Conceptions and Challenges of Globalization: Implications for