An insider's astute observations on transnational enterprises and their role in a post-cold-war world where resurgent tribalism is a force to be reckoned with. As up-from-the-ranks chairman of SmithKline Beecham, an Anglo-American colossus he helped create by merger, Wendt has firsthand knowledge of his subject. Unlike many corporate executives and ivory-tower analysts, however, he's also able to convey a down-to-earth idea of what's actually at issue in doing business throughout the globe. To begin with, the author makes useful distinctions between true transnationals (IBM, Nestle, Shell, Sony, etc.) and their predecessors (e.g., multinationals that simply reproduce themselves in offshore venues). By Wendt's account, transnationals (whose origins owe much to the internationalization of capital markets and the emergence of regional blocs like the EC) pay little heed to borders: They locate factories, research centers, sales offices, or allied facilities wherever they can best serve an increasingly integrated world market. Although these corporations are obliged to think globally, they must act locally with due regard for the culture, economic needs, fiscal practices, and sociopolitical sensibilities of host countries. Wendt reviews the tricky trade-offs involved in meeting the frequently conflicting demands of stockholders and stakeholders while competing across a frontier-free board. Having argued the logic of transnational status for large companies that wish to remain or become world-class players, Wendt concedes that this is neither a sovereign remedy for outfits suffering from vision deficiencies nor a particularly attractive alternative for concerns with lucrative niches in low-tech and service industries. Blue-chip commentary and insights from a new breed of organization man.