Few managers operating in today's international business environment would dispute that this is an extremely exciting time to be engaged in almost any aspect of cross-border management. Fast-changing global developments have created big challenges that appear unusually complex, but at the same time they have opened up new opportunities that seem almost limitless.
Around the world, managers are asking questions like the following: How does the unraveling of the long anticipated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement affect our business? What can we do to manage the political disruption and economic dislocation following Brexit? How can we take advantage of the continued rise in Asian markets? How should we deal with the threat of new competitors emerging from developing countries? Can we exploit the impending boom in big data to track and exploit new global trends? How might we harness fast-growing social networks to leverage our cross-border management connections and organizational processes?
Before we launch into these and the other such rich and engaging discussions, perhaps we should step back for a moment to review the broad territory we will be exploring on our voyage of discovery. A good place to start might be with the title of this book. What exactly does Transnational Management mean?
Transnational: What Does That Imply?
The first word on the cover of this book may not be familiar to some. While the terms “multinational,” “international,” and “global” are in widespread general use, it may not be entirely clear to you why we chose to use the less familiar description “transnational” in the title of this book.
Good question. And we promise to respond to it by the end of Chapter 1. By the end of that opening chapter it should be clear to you that we use those four terms quite specifically. Furthermore, you will find that our distinction between “multinational,” “international,” “global,” and “transnational” will become a strong theme that runs through this book in our discussion of strategy, organization, and management.
But more of that later. For the purpose of this introduction, let's just recognize that the “transnational” qualifier indicates that our focus will be on the management challenges that face companies whose operations extend across national boundaries.