Introduction to the Global Business Strategy Blog
The Global Business Strategy (GBS) Blog was a limited-edition weekly updated commentary which combined extracts from Outside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Global Market with analysis of contemporary global strategic management issues and more general international business affairs.
The first GBS Blog post was entered on 1st March 2019. New entries were posted every Friday at noon and the final entry in this series was posted on 3rd May 2019. A curated collection of posted articles and Outside Fortress Europe extracts is presented in The Global Business Strategy Album tab on the Main Menu.
The broad range of topics covered in The GBS Blog and the finalised Global Business Strategy Album reflects the experience and expertise of its author, Colin Edward Egan, and they fall within the following categories (indicated per individual post):
- Global Strategic Management
- International Business
There were also periodic posts relating to contemporary issues in organizational development, executive learning and business education more generally. Consequently, two additional categories relating to The GBS Blog were:
- Business Education
- Organizational Development
This knowledge-base has been accumulated by Colin over three decades of working in leading university business schools and as a consultant to companies which mostly operate in global markets. The corporate experience has included involvement in the design and delivery of organizational transformation initiatives and executive education courses, including programmes developed for Philips, Reed Elsevier, IBM, Castrol, YKK and BP. Please click/tap the Colin Edward Egan tab on the Main Menu for details; a LinkedIn Profile CV is also available to download from this page.
The principal goal of The GBS Blog was to cover a broader range of management subject areas than would typically be found in a single book or blog, the intention being to provide a cross-functional, multi-disciplinary perspective on the challenges of organizational life and strategy development in a highly competitive and complex global business environment.
The GBS Blog strove to be evidence-based and politically neutral: objective when possible, subjective where necessary. It is a blog with an attitude which acknowledges scholarly debate but which expresses its own opinion, particularly regarding what is possible for companies to achieve despite the naysayers who might claim otherwise. It is aimed at smart managers who want to create and run Intelligent Companies. It reflects a desire for positive organizational and personal change and it emphasises that there is no need to draw a distinction between academic theory and business practice: one begets the other and positive transformation is indeed achievable through effective leadership, management development, operational excellence and employee engagement. And strategic clarity…
Author’s recommended textbooks and business biographies
Because of the diverse range of social science disciplines covered in The Global Business Strategy Album, carefully-screened textbooks on specific subject areas are recommended throughout its posts. These selections are based upon cumulative feedback from working with University masters’ students and executives attending management development programmes. They have been recommended because they:
- Are up to date;
- Are pitched at the right intellectual level for MSc/ MBA/DBA /PhD core courses and electives and/or for the inquisitive reader;
- Are fully referenced and indexed to guide readers towards original sources (e.g., peer-reviewed academic journals) for areas of specific interest to them;
- Have many illustrative examples and thought-provoking case studies to enhance readers’ learning experience;
- Are complementary to all the other activities (lectures, cases, simulations etc.) that are typically undertaken during taught-course management and executive development sessions;
- Are in most cases supported by a comprehensive web resource. New editions of these books are common (another indicator of a textbook’s quality) so please check for the latest version at, for example, Amazon.com, where you will also find ISBN details and ‘verified reader’ reviews.
Business biographies contribute greatly to our understanding of management practice and often provide unique insights into topics such as leadership, company chronicles, economics and political economy. Throughout Outside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Global Market and The GBS Blog we make reference to an eclectic selection of ‘biographies’, ranging from leadership autobiographies through corporate histories to political memoirs.
Alternative facts and fake news: the referencing antidote
In ‘opinion/comment’ columns and many blogs there lurks the danger that the author is unwittingly misleading the reader about the intentions and meanings within the sources they have drawn upon or, much worse, are guilty of plagiarism. ‘Fake news’ is nothing new but in the digital media world it is unprecedentedly pervasive. Where there is any doubt in the reader’s mind there is no substitute for seeking out original sources, articles or books and examining these for themselves. For this reason, and in a departure from the norm for web-based commentary, in The GBS Blog we provide references where relevant and/or helpful. A more positive reason for referencing is to allow the reader to take any specific topic of interest and follow it through to its broader domain, essential for an eclectic blog such as this which has the inquisitive reader as its target audience. In this sense, The Global Business Strategy Album can be seen as a digest of key global business strategy topics with signposts toward further investigation for those readers who desire deeper insights.
As a final observation regarding the smart use of references by readers, well-written articles and books have very thoughtfully constructed titles and will convey meaning and insight as to the main thrust of their content. For the reader with the time to do so, it is worth looking at these GBS Blog Album post reference titles as they arise to garner further insight on the scope of the work being cited.
A case for optimism…
Much is made of the impact of social media being excessively negative and there does seem to be an air of doom and gloom if one is foolish enough to get sucked into its sticky entrails or become hooked on 24/7 rolling news channels and excessively buzzy newsfeeds: they have to say something and bad news sells. Much of the print media are desperate and with good reason. Even ‘quality’ newspapers are being seduced by the seductive powers of ‘clickbait’ in their online presence.
Despite the vitriol to be found in the comments section of otherwise reasonably-well balanced journalism and the rampant trolling found in social media more generally, there is a case to be made for optimism. In 2018 the highly respected linguist, author and philosopher Steven Pinker provided welcome respite from the aforementioned ‘doom and gloom’ with a reassessment of humanist progress and a renaissance of the enlightenment philosophy, and he did so with reference to strong ideas and hard statistics: we are, for the most part, leading much better lives from many dimensions of measurable and/or intangible perspectives (Pinker, 2018).
The philosophy of The GBS Blog is based on objective analysis, robust critique and positive insights for the effective design and implementation of competitive global business strategies.
In the current climate of looming trade wars and the ongoing EU/Brexit drama the business mood is dark. But for many reasons and on many fronts, opportunities abound for positive personal and organizational development. This is the conclusion drawn in the Epilogue of Outside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Global Market which opens with a quotation from the Victorian philosopher and philanthropist John Ruskin (1819-1900):
Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
Our glass is half-full…
Pinker, S. (2018). Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress. London: Viking.
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All content © Colin Edward Egan, 2020