Business is everywhere these days. All kinds of organisations, even welfare services and charities, are expected to run on commercial lines. And most of us are increasingly affected by what is happening elsewhere in the world. Whether we like it or not, we’re all global managers now.
At the same time, business is not left to itself anymore. Business leaders are expected to provide leadership and explain how their work is applicable to everyone else. Never mind that many of those same exe-cutives are themselves frantically searching for guidance, lapping up “how-to” books and buying yards of consultancy advice.
Despite this, media coverage of business issues is still strangely divorced from general journalism. It is usually consigned to a special page, with the focus on personal finance or company minutiae. The links between business and the rest of life are unexplored. This occasional column will try to fill the gap.
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a new metaphor has appeared, the “emerging tiger,” which conflates two popular terms. Both are used to describe countries that are not as sleek as the G7 member states but which do not fit the stereotype of the “developing” country, the term in vogue ten years ago. Such semantic worries raise the question: how do you define economic development these days? When have countries gone through “transition” and “emerged” into normality? The debate is heavily weighted by politics, since every country wants to shift up into the next league and lose all qualifying labels.
To supplement the normal economic indicators I suggest another scale of assessment based on those commonsense things you notice whenever doing business in a country. My index would rate things such as how efficiently a government department responds to a request or fulfills a duty; how much the average employee can depart from the narrow tracks and use common sense; how well the telephones work; how quickly people pay their bills; how likely it is you will need to pay a bribe; how willing people are to venture useful information, unasked. The US falls down on the first two; France on the last two; Italy on telephones and bribes.
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in a study by Manfred Kets de Vries and Katharina Balacz of Insead, published in the latest issue of my own magazine World Link, it is explained that bosses suffer from downsizing too. When they are obliged to fire thousands…