Question #1: The speed of conducting business has accelerated incredibly in the past years... How has this affected the dynamics of managing Multinational Corporations?
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#1. To an extent yes, the corporate decision making has shifted once again to the corporate headquarters because of electronic communication. E-mailing has become faster and is more effective in communication. Consider this example, one software shows the difference between simple e-mail merging and inserting dynamic content into e-mails, based on customer preferences, demographics, and buying patterns. In short there can be wide and quick dispersion of information around the globe.
However, there are companies that like to maintain local independence in decision making so that the local managers are able to make decisions that are better understood in the local context. In other words this becomes more of centralization against decentralization issue. For example, the company might look into issues from the perspective of the local needs, local competition, local culture, local geography, tastes and even climate. The role of electronic communication is enabling, however, it cannot completely replace the role of local decision-making.
In practice this means that even if the decisions are made locally, the central offices of organization may require the local managers to consult with the central decision making authority at the head office. There may be more consultation, more deliberations, in short better decision making but not replacement.
#2 Gurcharan Das, was a local CEO of P&G and its brands were available in global markets well before the company formally launched them they flooded in through the gray markets and never had any local manager with 'passion' the reason why P&G brands flowed in through the gray markets was because they had a strong brand image as well as strong products. In short P&G always followed the principle of making a better 'mouse trap'.
That said, in today's world product is one of the elements of the marketing mix ...