IBM, founded in 1911, based in New York, transformed over a period of about one hundred years from an international, multi-national, to a global integrated enterprise. In 2008, IBM shifted its focus to define and develop leaders for a global economy. This effort included making the globally integrated enterprise relevant to all employees through IBM values, culture, and global citizenship. The aim was to ensure IBM could compete globally. IBM realized it was necessary to examine how it functioned, while gaining a better understanding of any gaps, dilemmas, and opportunities (Moss Kanter, 2008).
IBM realized it was imperative that they relate to the diverse global population, building meaningful relationships with its customers, discussing public policy, societal issues, and their commitment to sustainability. Through localization, IBM was able to prove its commitment to the success of these markets. IBM shifted its focus from New York, developing new best practices, with fewer power holders and more integrators. The GIE effort created global resources, value for customers, offering ideas and opportunities anywhere in the world, increasing innovation, while enriching and changing IBM (Moss Kanter, 2009).
Many, including the public and governments, misunderstood the concept of globalization, especially in emerging markets with state owned and controlled enterprises. IBM leaders in mature markets had concerns about the impact of globalization. IBM was experiencing a rapid expansion of both workforce and revenues outside the United States. Even though IBM staffed locals in its many worldwide IBM locations, outside the United States it was still a foreign enterprise (Moss Kanter, 2008).
IBM leaders often spent a great deal of time traveling around the world. As leaders in technology they still had somewhat antiquated beliefs about the value of face-time. Routine diagnostics and problem solving could occur remotely. However, larger issues required a physical presence. On ground, delivery of talent and technology to its customers was a significant challenge. IBM served all industries. Competitors were everywhere. Collaborative partnerships include some competition, blurring relationships. Complex relationships were vital. Project requirements and political issues varied. Lag time between technological innovation and customer orders was significant and integration even more concerning (Moss Kanter, 2008).
Alternate Courses of Action
Organizations moving toward a globally integrated enterprise face unique organizational and leadership challenges. They must work through fundamental structural and operating questions, set a clear direction, build alignment, and maintain innovative energy (Dewhurst, 2011). Globally integrated enterprises create valid leadership concerns about job loss and skill shortages, as more people gain equal access to production and the marketplace, increasing trade and...