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The rapid growth of emerging markets is providing fresh impetus for companies to become ever more global in scope. Deep experience in other international markets means that many companies know globalization's potential benefits-which include accessing new markets and talent pools and capturing economies of scale-as well as a number of risks: creeping complexity, culture clashes, and vigorous responses from local competitors, to name just a few.
Less obvious is a challenge identified by our latest research: global reach seems to threaten the underlying health of far-flung organizations, even highly successful ones. In particular, we have found that high-performing global companies consistently score lower than more locally focused ones on several critical dimensions of organizational health-direction setting, coordination and control, innovation, and external orientation-that we have been studying at hundreds of companies over the past decade. Understanding this threat, and its causes, is a first step toward diminishing its impact.
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