The Quest For Global Dominance

Transforming Global Presence Into Global Competitive Advantage, 2nd Edition

Anil K. Gupta, Vijay Govindarajan, & Haiyan Wang Jossey-Bass, March 2008
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The Quest for Global Dominance is the world's most respected guide to how a company can design, implement, and reassess its global strategy. With each passing day, every industry is becoming a global industry and every business a knowledge business.

For most medium to large companies, globalization is no longer a discretionary option, but a strategic imperative. Based on our 20+ years of research into and/or consulting work for over 200 corporations (including Caterpillar, IBM, Infosys, Marriott, Microsoft, Nokia, Procter & Gamble, and Wal-Mart), we address some of the most critical questions pertaining to global strategy:

  • Should we go global? Why or why not?
  • How can we identify the strategic markets for our company? How should we design an entry strategy for them, especially if we face high entry barriers?
  • Why has Wal-Mart succeeded brilliantly in Mexico and China but failed miserably in Germany and South Korea? What lessons could we derive from their experience?
  • How do we transform global presence into global competitive advantage?
  • How can we cultivate a global mindset - as individuals and as an organization?
  • What pathologies prevent companies from excelling at knowledge sharing across their subunits? What can we do to reduce or eliminate the risk of these pathologies in our company?
  • How should we design, structure, and manage effective cross-border business teams?
  • What are the promises and pitfalls that a young venture faces in going global early?
  • What does the rise of China and India mean for the global economic landscape and for the strategy of my company?
Cutting-edge research. Fresh examples. Highly practical. We hope that you will enjoy reading the book and benefit from it.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: Rising Up to the Global Challenge
  • Chapter 2: Building Global Presence
  • Chapter 3: Lessons from the Globalization of Wal-Mart
  • Chapter 4: Exploiting Global Presence
  • Chapter 5: Cultivating a Global Mindset
  • Chapter 6: Building a Global Knowledge Machine
  • Chapter 7: Dynamics of Global Business Teams
  • Chapter 8: Globalizing the Young Venture
  • Chapter 9: Leveraging China and India for Global Dominance


  • "A must read for executives."
  • - ALEXANDER M. CUTLER, Chairman & CEO, Eaton Corporation  
  • "Provides strategic imperatives to succeed in a global business."
  • - JOHN MENZER, Vice-Chairman, Wal-Mart Stores  
  • "Incisive but also inspires real-world solutions."
  • - N.R. NARAYANA MURTHY, Chairman, Infosys Technologies  
  • "An invaluable intellectual companion that will force many to rethink their business strategies."
  • - C.K.Prahalad, the late Distinguished University Professor, University of Michigan  
  • "Leading edge thinking that is highly practical."
  • - JOHN A. QUELCH, Sr Assoc Dean, Harvard Business School  
  • "Outstanding guide to building global presence."
  • - PETER F. VOLANAKIS, President & COO, Corning Inc.
  • "The reality of thinking and being global in mindset should be a no-brainer for all of us. But, for those who believe that such is not the case, this book puts to rest any romantic or unrealistic views that we can sit back and bask in our prosperity. So, it’s back to work on figuring out how to win globally, not locally or nationally, that will get you in the Hall of Fame for Business Leaders worldwide. You will find yourself referring often to The Quest for Global Dominance as you chart your course forward."
  • - William F. Achtmeyer, Chairman and Managing Partner The Parthenon Group  
  • "The Quest for Global Dominance is the best source of insight available for executives who want their companies to win in the face of global competition. It provides sound framework, practical advice, and dozens of helpful examples from companies around the world. For any company, from startup ventures to world leaders, this book tells managers what they must do in order to gain and keep a competitive advantage when rivals can come from anywhere and competition in an industry transcends borders."
  • - Philip Anderson, INSEAD Alumni Fund Chaired Professor of Entrepreneurship INSEAD  
  • "A must read for executives who expect to harness the accelerating trend of globalization. The authors make a compelling case for an accelerating rate of change based upon broad based support for free trade, the increased economic power of developing nations, and the pervasive impact of enabling technology."
  • - Alexander M. Cutler,Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Eaton Corporation  
  • "This book is not only visionary, but also very practical in thinking about globalization. It makes a compelling case for why globalization has to be at the very forefront of your plan to able to build a foundation for a lasting business."
  • - Desh Deshpande, Chairman, Sycamore Networks  
  • "A terrific book that effectively melds theories with successful practices of global companies and global strategy with the importance of organizational mindset and culture. Through an exceptional number of relevant, current and real examples, the authors address the full range of issues, challenges and opportunities that companies and practitioners face. This is a very readable, insightful and compelling tool for building global competitive advantage."
  • - Peter Dolan, Former CEO, Bristol-Myers Squibb  
  • "A terrific set of ideas on building a winning global firm with fresh insights into particularly crucial topics like global teams and launching born-global businesses. This is important and must reading for savvy executives and students around the world."
  • - Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, S. W. Ascherman Professor of Strategy
Co-Director, Stanford Technology Ventures Program Stanford University  
  • "Rich with up-to-date examples, but also built on rigorous research, this book is a must for executives who are intent on going global."
  • - Donald C. Hambrick, Smeal Chaired Professor of Management Smeal College of Business Penn State University  
  • "This book provides fundamental inputs for managers who are leading modern global corporations within the new age. Above all, I am impressed with the focus on building a global knowledge ecology within these modern corporations. Globality truly becomes relevant and meaningful when seen in the light of knowledge development, taking us from learning within smaller individual “silos” or “kingdoms” to learning and knowledge accumulation in a global context. Overall, this is a great book and a must for the modern leader of the global firm."
  • - Peter Lorange, President, IMD International Lausanne, Switzerland  
  • "In today’s “flat” world, no company can remain immune to the forces of globalization. The Quest for Global Dominance explains how companies can not only face up to these forces but proactively exploit them. It emphasizes the importance of cultivating a global mindset, describes how to design an optimal global architecture, explains how to build a global knowledge machine while avoiding many of the pathologies and pitfalls, and shows how to transplant the corporate DNA across countries. The authors present their ideas clearly and support them with contemporary case studies. The Quest for Global Dominance is a superb and timely book, full of fresh ideas, that deserves to be widely read and that must be on the shelf of every practicing manager."
  • - Costas Markides,Robert P Bauman Professor of Strategic Leadership and Chairman, Strategic and International Management Dept London Business School  
  • "The velocity of change in the global arena has significantly accelerated. The Quest for Global Dominance provides the strategic imperatives to succeed in a global business."
  • - John Menzer, Vice-Chairman and Chief Administrative Officer Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.  
  • "Globalization is undoubtedly a key imperative for business leaders the world over. The authors bring rich experience, a keen eye for detail, and strong conceptual abilities to their investigation of this phenomenon. The Quest for Global Dominance not only presents incisive and in-depth analysis but also inspires real-world, implementable solutions to the challenges faced by practitioners of management in today's global village."
  • - N.R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman and Chief Mentor Infosys Technologies Limited  
  • "The Quest for Global Dominance presents the impact which globalization is having on countries, companies and leaders in a fresh and superbly documented way. Above all, it raises the strategic implication of this in a fashion that should allow leaders to consider how to leverage their global presence and capability into a more successful leadership enterprise."
  • - John E. Pepper, Chairman of the Board, The Walt Disney Company  
  • "The authors of this book "get it". Based on the last 10 years, the next 20 will see continuing change and convergence of markets (globalization) and rapid evolution of business models (both globalization and virtualization). Managers must deal with these trends to survive and master them to flourish. The authors’ advice is sound and timely, and we would all do well to heed it."
  • - Donald K. Peterson, Former Chairman and CEO, Avaya Inc.  
  • "In a world of new opportunities and major challenges, The Quest for Global Dominance comes at the right time for those who not only want to stay in the game but also have the will to become an important actor in the massive transformation to occur. Global dominance is a must for industries and services and this book explains why and what you should do to become a global leader in a specific segment. It’s a fascinating book, easy to read, and very useful to those willing to be global."
  • - Didier Pineau-Valencienne, Former President, Schneider S.A.  
  • "Few topics continue to engage the attention of business leaders over centuries as the subject of how to of “global domination”. From the ancient silk routes to the glory days of conflict between the Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese and British fleets to control the trade routes, the preoccupation has been one of finding and holding on to the “choke points” of the global system. The context of competition for a disproportionate global influence has changed over the centuries but the basic managerial motive has not. Managers in multinational firms today face a new variant of this age-old battle for global domination. This book addresses the contemporary context within which this struggle is waged and the arsenal of tools that one has to master to win.

    The authors provide a very interesting blend of existing knowledge and new research to provide a new gestalt on globalization. By providing in one, very readable book the intellectual trail of where we are from, where we are, and where are headed, the authors have captured for the busy executive an invaluable intellectual companion. It will force many to rethink their business strategies, personal managerial styles and most importantly their capacity to leverage the most elusive of all resources- knowledge and emotional commitment of people around the world."

  • - C.K. Prahalad, Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor The University of Michigan Business School  
  • "The authors of this book are among the masters on the subject of global strategy. In this book, they have succeeded in putting forth tight logic and leading edge thinking in a manner that is highly practical. If you were to read only one book this year on how to assess and develop a global strategy for your business, this would be it."
  • - John A. Quelch, Senior Associate Dean and Lincon Filene Professor Harvard Business School  
  • “I found The Quest for Global Dominance to be an outstanding guide to building global presence and effectiveness based on the real, often painful, experiences of some best practice companies and a few theoretical underpinnings. It helped put words and a framework around some of the experiences and learnings in my own international career. I often found myself nodding in agreement and saying how I would’ve loved to have read this before my first expat assignment. It goes well beyond merely stating the imperative — it explains how to make the transition from international/multinational models to true globalization. The book is particularly helpful in giving practical advice on managing the complex human dimensions of global businesses and global teams.”
  • - Peter F. Volanakis, President and Chief Operating Officer Corning Inc.