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Globalization Is Yet to Come to America

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Wed Aug 05 2015

Globalization Is Yet to Come to America
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The United States is only just beginning to experience globalization, despite the economic power shift toward Asia, the current economic development in emerging markets, the overall digitalization of life, and the growing mobility of people and products. For example, the Zukunftsinstitut reports that almost 99 percent of American companies still only do domestic business, merely 2 percent of students worldwide study outside their home countries, and foreign investments only account for about 9 percent of all investments. 

Currently, the United States has one of the least globalized major economies. According to strategy consultant Roland Berger, exports account for only 14 percent of America's gross national product, compared with 52 percent for Germany and 27 percent for China. Arguably, the relatively low American export activity has in the past helped shelter the economy from the effects of economic developments in other regions of the world. However, strategy consultant Roland Berger expects export activity to triple worldwide, leaving the United States even less globalized economically.

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During the last decade, mobile technology has truly been the main force behind the development of a global culture. The emergence of new technologies has created innovative paradigms of participation and sharing. Communication and the media are no longer about one message being sent to all, but about conversations between many, promoting a wider range of messages overall. Products sold internationally have to be “as global as possible and as local as necessary,” as the saying goes. In fact, this kind of customizing, or intercultural marketing, is becoming necessary even in the domestic market, because the customer segments at home are becoming more and more diverse too.

So how should the United States go about globalizing its economy? According to an article from the Boston Consulting Group, if current economic growth is to be maintained, the country will need 26 million additional well-qualified employees by 2030. Who will fill this talent gap? If the available domestic resources are insufficient, companies can either hire talent from other countries, or turn to the growing group of workers aged 50 and older, the so-called silver tsunami.

In order to thrive in the globalized world of the future, and not just suffer from its potential disadvantages, American businesses, and in particular their HR departments, will have improve their ability to:

  • Foster and support cross-cultural business ventures (even in a domestic market).

  • Develop leaders who are passionate about communicating and managing across cultures, and interested in unleashing the creativity and innovation potential of a culturally diverse workforce.

  • Integrate and develop a diverse workforce, particularly in terms of culture and age differences.

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