The Changing Multinational

MOST MULTINATIONALS ARE STILL structured and run pretty much the way the American and German inventors of the species designed them, all of 125 years ago. But this design is becoming obsolete.

In the typical multinational there is a parent company with “daughters” in foreign countries. Major decisions—what products (or services) to sell worldwide, capital appropriations, key personnel—are centralized in the parent. Research and development are done exclusively in and by the parent and in its home country. But in manufacturing, marketing, finance, and people management, the daughters have wide autonomy. They ...

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