In this groundbreaking book by the bestselling author of The Change Masters and When Giants Learn to Dance, Rosabeth Moss Kanter shows how businesses and communities can harness global market forces and make them work to their advantage right here at home. In the economy of the 21st century, she writes, success will come only to those companies -- large and small -- whose goods and services meet world class standards and can compete in the global marketplace. Thus, even small companies must tap into international networks and global alliances. Managers must widen their perspective and broaden their contacts and fields of expertise. And communities must open their boundaries to multinational companies and welcome foreign investment and trade.
At a time when the nation's fears about job displacement and foreign competition are sparking protectionist sympathies and backlash against world trade agreements, Kanter presents a persuasive and richly detailed argument for directing the American economy outward, not inward. World Class shows us how to turn globalization into an unprecedented opportunity on the local level -- to rejuvenate old businesses and grow new ones, to create new jobs, to revitalize communities, and to develop the cosmopolitan cities of the future.
After looking at the attitudes and prejudices that can undermine these vital new trends, Kanter examines in depth three cosmopolitan communities that have already evolved in our country, each of which has a special talent that enables it to play successfully on the world stage. The Boston area, with its abundance of universities, innovators, and entrepreneurs, excels as a "thinker." Spartanburg-Greenville, South Carolina, an international manufacturing center with a high rate of foreign investment and a skilled work force, excels as a "maker." The Miami area's success as a "trader" grows from skills in forging deals and alliances to move goods and services in international markets. Reporting on her extensive interviews with business and community leaders in these areas, Kanter believes that all three can serve as solid, successful working models for communities across America seeking to benefit from globalization.
It is a two-way street, Kanter writes. Businesses must become more actively involved in their communities. And communities must actively develop those amenities and resources that will encourage global business to feel at home -- and stay there. And finally, Kanter presents a detailed action agenda for both business and community leaders that will enable them to achieve their mutually beneficial goals.
A sweeping look at a changing America, World Class is both a warning and a call to action. Its perceptive message is directed to international corporate giants as well as small local businesses, to Washington's political leaders as well as the elected officials of cities, states, and smaller communities -- to all, in fact, who have a stake in the success of global market forces at the local level.