Corporate structure: the next step for multinationals

In a new book, From Global to MetaNational, Strategy experts and Insead Professors, Yvez Doz, José Santos and Peter Williamson argue that the future form of successful global enterprise has now changed from the multinational to the metanational.


Multinationals are characterised by packaging home-country know-how to new markets - locations abroad are seen primarily as sources of potential cost advantage.

"Metanationals" are characterised by harvesting distributed knowledge from all over the world and leveraging it into innovative products whose delivery shape may vary in their different markets and geographies.

The authors argue for three key capabilities in becoming an effective metanational:

  1. Sensing – to be able to detect new opportunities through "sensing networks"

  2. Mobilizing – to be able to turn these opportunities into effective actions through “magnets”

  3. Operationalizing – to be able to scale up and deliver globally

They suggest that whilst most multinationals are strong in operationalizing they are very weak in sensing and mobilizing - interestingly these two capabilities require a collaborative networked approach rather than the old forms of hierarchy and matrix management.

In a chapter entitled, The Tyranny of Distance, the authors contend that ICT in itself, even if backed up by a large investment budget, cannot fully address the problems of mobilizing dispersed knowledge.

For a free first chapter of the book click here.

For an interview with the authors on

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Mobile phone users: are we now cyborgs

Mobile phone users: are we now cyborgs

The term cyborg is used to designate an organism which is a mixture of organic and synthetic parts so designed to enhance its abilities via technology. William Mitchell a professor at MIT Media Lab believes that through our mobile devices we are all becoming mobile cyborgs and its for the better. In his book Me++: The Cyborg Self and the Networked City which he discusses in an interview with James Harkin Mitchell describes how the new communications technologies have overlaid our city spaces with central nervous systems connecting us into the wireless ether via our mobile devices which act as umbilical cords to anchor us into the information society's digital infrastructure.

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