Managing in a Global World: How Easy is This, Anyway?

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at markmullaly.com.

Theoretically, we live in a global world--one that is becoming “more global” (if such a thing were actually possible) every day. The implication seems to be that collaboration and work crosses borders and time zones readily, and we must all endeavor to embrace a work environment that is far broader and more inclusive than what we have been used to in the past.
There is an element of truth in this, as there are in all statements. But how global are we, really, and how global are we likely to become? How much is media hype? Is this a phenomenon limited to those who work for multinationals or does this in some way affect all of us? If we’re not seeing the evidence of increased globalization, does that mean that it doesn’t exist or that once more, we’re being passed by and made redundant? And what does all of this mean for project managers who are still working hard to get their projects done (thank you very much)?
Certainly, there has been huge mobility in jobs worldwide over the previous years. Entire industries have migrated to other regions of the world. There are some obvious stereotypes: China has become a world leader in manufacturing; India has become a hotbed of software development and call center outsourcing; global finance has moved wherever it can find a ready home, which arguably right now is London more than anywhere else (although by …

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