Syllabus | Managing Global Integration

ourse Meeting Times

Seminars: 1 session / week for 6 weeks, 1.5 hours / session


Global integration (GI) is the process by which an organization with units around the world becomes united. The point of managing GI is the creation of an effective and valuable global entity, which is neither a collection of cloned local units nor a head-office surrounded by drones. The rise of globalization turned GI into an imperative for many multinational companies, large and small, old and new. GI is novel and challenging, easy to say and hard to do. Still today, many companies deemed "global" have units that are unwilling to cooperate or unable to collaborate across national borders.

GI has an immense wealth creation potential still to be unleashed in practically all businesses, be it by companies globally integrating production and delivery, or by globally integrating innovation, or by globally integrating strategy and the creation of competitive advantage. This is why managing global integration should be an exciting endeavor for you.

There is already a substantial body of specific knowledge on managing GI that has accumulated over the last twenty-five years or so. Studying this subject will focus our attention on integrating corporate and business organizations across countries. However, the models, methods, and tools that you will learn during this subject can extend well into managing other kinds of organizational integration, such as the integration across businesses in a diversified corporation or the integration across partners in a strategic alliance.

The concepts and methods that you will learn reveal how GI can be instrumental to reinvent incumbents and to shape startups. With GI we enter the extraordinary world of general management in the fullest of meaning—for we will show that integration is the essence of general management. After taking this subject, you will be able to lead others by having a vivid and lucid vision of what a globally integrated organization is and of how to make it real. You will also learn how to use the world as the "garage" in which you can make your entrepreneurial dream come true.


The seminar is offered only to those enrolled in the MIT Sloan Fellows Program and challenges the participants to draw upon their past managerial experiences, especially those affiliated with multinational companies.


The requirements for this course include class attendance, four case postings of choice, and two short reflection papers or one longer reflection paper.

All required case studies are classic cases that will be useful over many years to come, be it to make sense of situations you will encounter (or have encountered already) or to use as persuasive examples in your arguments. Don't be surprised if some of the cases describe situations from quite some time ago. The significant learning point is that several challenges that multinational companies encountered then are still common now and remain a challenge for the most part. The case studies will be complemented during the sessions with other examples, including emergent market multinationals and "global startups" from around the world.

Class attendance is expected and class participation will be highly encouraged. Students should enjoy voicing their position, their critical judgment, their doubts or their emotions on the matters that will be covered in the sessions. The point in the classroom is the pleasure of learning through active dialogue, not that of winning a dispute.


Reflection papers 50%
Case postings 25%
Participation and discussion 25%

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