WORLD CLASS by Rosabeth Moss Kanter


Thriving Locally in the Global Economy
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 An academic's generic advisories on what, with awesome self- assurance but no particularly fresh insights, she asserts it will take commercial enterprises and their host communities to prosper in the Global Village's increasingly interdependent economy. Noting that advances in communications, distribution, and transportation have effectively shrunk the world of business, Kanter (When Giants Learn to Dance, 1989, etc.) offers lucid if unsurprising commentary on the ways in which the global economy's imperatives now affect US industry at all levels. Withal, her digressive, anecdotal text represents as much an effort to encourage corporate and municipal America to embrace geopolitical change as an attempt to construe events in what she dubs ``the global shopping mall.'' In aid of this agenda, the author extols the potential rewards of cross-border alliances that afford access to distant markets while warning of the workplace and related risks incurred by cosmopolitan concerns that lose touch with their roots. With time out to deprecate economic nationalism, Kanter goes on to cite a number of multinationals great and small as exemplars of global competitiveness. Cases in point range from Colgate- Palmolive, Gillette, and Hewlett-Packard through Tech Ridge (a sometime machine shop that has made the most of its status as a Polaroid supplier). The author also sets great store by location, in particular urban areas that embody her touchstone ``three C'sthe key global assets of concepts, competence, and connections.'' As paradigmatic territory, she singles out Boston (a hub of knowledge-based industries), Greenville and Spartanburg, S.C. (hometowns of uncommonly skilled production workers), and Miami (a commercial/cultural crossroads). At the close, Kanter provides a series of recommendations that could give cities and resident corporations a so-called collaborative advantage in capitalizing on the global marketplace's many opportunities. Coherent if run-of-the-mill counsel from a don who could learn a thing or two from the sophisticated perspectives in Kenichi Ohmae's The End of the Nation State (p. 691). (First serial to Harvard Business Review; author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-684-81129-4
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1995