Globality is the end-state of globalization – a hypothetical condition in which the process of globalization is complete or nearly so, barriers have fallen, and "a new global reality" is emerging.
The term was used in 1998 by author and economist Daniel Yergin in a Newsweek article that described the end-state of the globalization process, and in his book, Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy. Though Yergin was credited with having coined it, the word is in fact much older. William Safire traces the etymology of “globality” in his book No Uncertain Terms and identifies a range of citations as far back as 1942, when it was used as a synonym for “global.” Current use of “globality” as it applies to business – as a description of the current competitive state of world commerce – was not adopted until recently.
The term has been described by William J. Holstein in the New York Times as "a new buzzword [that] doesn’t work — it merely describes trends that have been under way for at least two decades under a very similar name."
According to all these authors, globality is what comes next after globalization: a new state of worldwide hyper-competition. Sirkin et al. (2008) further detail globality’s three main features as they apply to commerce and business:
- A significant structural shift in the flow of commerce: companies from every part of the world are now competing with each other for “everything” – customers, suppliers, partners, capital, intellectual property, raw materials, distribution systems, manufacturing capabilities, and most important, talent. In this competitive free-for-all, products and services flow from many locations to many destinations.
- A breakdown in the established hierarchy of commercial power and influence: power is shifting away from traditional centers of influence in developed markets in the United States, Europe, and Japan, as companies from rapidly developing economies (RDEs) are quickly assuming leadership positions in global markets, forcing established leaders to compete on new terms.
- The emergence of new business and governance practices better suited to a truly global and decentralized business environment. To compete successfully in a world of globality, established industry leaders from developed markets are being forced to learn from competitors in developing markets. The practices include shifting autonomy and decision making outward to satellite operations; redeploying assets to build commerce within emerging regions; and expanding quickly into new markets to match the speed and scale with which challengers are rising.
Yergin’s chief distinction between globality and globalization is conceptual – he says that former is a “condition” while the latter is a “process.” He describes globality as the end-state of the process of globalization:
The borders that constrained commerce―but also protected companies from the full brunt of competition―are eroding. Governments are retreating from control of the commanding heights of their economies: they are privatizing and deregulating. Barriers to trade and investment are coming down rapidly. Ever-cheaper communications and ever-faster computers, along with the Internet, are facilitating the flow of goods and services, as well as knowledge and information. Increasingly, companies are integrating their global strategies with global capital markets.[this quote needs a citation]
In their book, Sirkin et al. (2008) focus on the business conditions that emerge – and the challenges for management – once the state of globality is established. They distinguish globality from globalization based on the emergence of a new set of competitive dynamics between established leaders from developed economies and challenger companies from developing economies. With respect to global business, they argue that the three fundamental characteristics of globalization were these:
- Established industry leaders―known as “incumbents”―from the developed economies of the United States, Europe, and Japan – relocated their manufacturing activities to developing countries in order to lower the cost of production and, accordingly, reduce the price of their goods offered in their home markets.
- The incumbents also began to sell their offerings―usually with few if any modifications for local consumers―into the low-cost markets and enjoyed incremental sales gains, as the consumer economies began to grow in these countries.
- Local companies in developing economies acted primarily as suppliers, jobbers, and local distribution partners, to these established industry leaders.[this quote needs a citation]
In this traditional model of globalization, the flow of commerce was predominantly from West to East and followed established Western business practices.
According to Sirkin et al., globality is a totally different kind of environment – one in which the competitive landscape has changed dramatically. In today’s new phase of worldwide trade and economic development, companies are “competing with everyone from everywhere for everything.” And while there is no ultimate model for success, no surefire strategy for innovation and growth, emerging-market challengers have evolved new management and governance structures that are ideally suited to this new competitive reality.
- Yergin, Daniel (1998-05-18). "The Age Of 'Globality'". Newsweek. Archived from the original on March 23, 2009. Retrieved 2008-07-18.
- Safire, William. (2004). No Uncertain Terms: More Writing from the Popular "On Language" Column in The New York Times Magazine, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-7432-5812-6, ISBN 978-0-7432-5812-8.
- Holstein, William J. (2008). "The American Multinational, Unbowed," The New York Times, June 29.
- Agtmael, Antoine van (2007). The Emerging Markets Century: How a New Breed of World-Class Companies Is Overtaking the World. New York: Free Press: ISBN 978-0-7432-9457-7
- Bishop, Matthew. "A Bigger World: A Special Report on Globalization". The Economist 20 Sept. 2008: 1–14.
- Schäfer, Wolf (2007). "Lean Globality Studies." Globality Studies Journal, no. 7. 28 May 2007.
- Sirkin, Harold L.; Hemerling, James W.; Bhattacharya, Arindam K; with John Butman (2008). GLOBALITY: Competing with Everyone from Everywhere for Everything. New York: Business Plus: ISBN 0-446-17829-2
- Safire, William (2003). No Uncertain Terms. New York: Simon & Schuster: ISBN 978-0-641-66827-2
- Yergin, Daniel; Stanislaw, Joseph (2002). The Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy. New York: Simon & Schuster: ISBN 978-0-684-83569-3
- Zakaria, Fareed (2008). The Post-American World. New York: W.W. Norton & Company: ISBN 978-0-393-06235-9
- Globality Studies Journal: Global History, Society, Civilization, an open access journal published by the Stony Brook Institute for Global Studies at Stony Brook University.
- Knowledge@Wharton. "Whether You Agree with Globality of Disagree, Don't Ignore It"." 20 Aug. 2008.
- Knowledge@Wharton. "'Globality': Why Companies Are Competing with Everyone from Everywhere for Everything"." 20 Nov. 2008.