MBA Research

Trend #3: The Global Economy

Business Trend

In our ongoing conversations with the business community*, we asked them to identify business trends impacting the workplace. Third on their list of most frequently identified trends is the global economy.

Workplace Implications

No product, brand, idea, or company is truly "local" anymore as events, opinions, and experiences can be shared around the world in an instant. Domestically-located companies export more products and services each year, supply chains have extended to include international companies and many emerging economies, and foreign companies locate operations in the United States. The global economy creates additional needs including language translation (written and spoken), cultural sensitivity, and adaptability. Businesses also have to deal with more complicated business operations, including logistics. Organizations face more complicated regulatory environments as the need to comply with other countries’ mandates builds.

This flatter world is more cost competitive, has an expanded workforce with increasing specialization, and involves changing demographics. For the first time in history, a global middle class is emerging that is two billion strong. That number is expected to double by 2030 as the global population surpasses the eight billion mark. With the growth of the middle class comes increasing buying power for goods and services and increasing influence in all arenas.

In response, many global companies operate in a local fashion through increased customization and service. This requires a deeper understanding of the region’s culture, history, and customs. Additionally, businesses increasingly form joint ventures in emerging markets, requiring a deeper understanding of international law, foreign business practices, and international accounting standards. 

Classroom Implications

Students need to understand how to operate successfully in a global economy. They need to realize that the global economy has implications for every business and not just large multi-national corporations. They need to understand how all the key functions of business (e.g., operations, human resources, marketing) are impacted by the world economy. This could include such topics as:

  • Operational impact
  • World geography and culture                   
  • Impact on marketing                       
  • Impact on websites/social media communications       
  • International law and regulations              
  • Cultural impact
  • Impact on conflict management
  • Awareness of ethnocentrism
  • Business etiquette
  • Global supply chains


*Finance Executive Advisory Panel, Columbus, OH, May 21, 2013
*Marketing Executive Advisory Panel, Dublin, OH, May 22, 2013
*Management and Administration Executive Panel, Dublin, OH, May 23, 2013