IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Friedman's Follies: Insights on the Globalization/Regionalization Debate


  • Rugman Alan

    (Indiana University)

  • Oh Chang H.

    (Brock University)


In this paper we deconstruct the popular book by Thomas Friedman which argues that the world is integrated through the advent of a new form of globalization based on the Internet. We use the logic of international business strategy to demonstrate that Friedmans examples of worldwide integration are special cases which ignore the empirical realities of multinational enterprises (MNEs). We provide empirical evidence to demonstrate that the worlds largest MNEs do not operate globally, but sell and produce the vast majority of their output within their home region of the triad. We develop a new analytical framework to explain the limited nature of Friedmans thinking, and we contrast this with the more robust frameworks available in international business. The latter frameworks, which take into account country level and regional level barriers to integration, are better at explaining the activities of MNEs. We conclude that, from the viewpoint of international business strategy, the prescriptive thinking from Friedman is misleading if it is believed that a global strategy is feasible. Instead, MNEs need to develop strategies to accommodate the realities of intra-regional integration and to overcome the liabilities of inter-regional expansion across the triad.

Suggested Citation

  • Rugman Alan & Oh Chang H., 2008. "Friedman's Follies: Insights on the Globalization/Regionalization Debate," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-16, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:buspol:v:10:y:2008:i:2:n:4

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Miroslav N. Jovanovic, 2011. "Globalisation: An Anatomy," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Integration, Volume I, chapter 11 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Jin, Zhongqi & Lynch, Richard & Attia, Samaa & Chansarkar, Bal & Gülsoy, Tanses & Lapoule, Paul & Liu, Xueyuan & Newburry, William & Nooraini, Mohamad Sheriff & Parente, Ronaldo & Purani, Keyoor & Ung, 2015. "The relationship between consumer ethnocentrism, cosmopolitanism and product country image among younger generation consumers: The moderating role of country development status," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 380-393.
    3. Alain Verbeke & Christian Geisler Asmussen, 2016. "Global, Local, or Regional? The Locus of MNE Strategies," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(6), pages 1051-1075, September.
    4. Sebastian Florian Enea & Silvia Palaºcã, 2012. "Globalization Versus Segregation - Business Cycles Synchronization In Europe," CES Working Papers, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 4(4), pages 668-692, December.
    5. Narula, Rajneesh & Verbeke, Alain, 2015. "Making internalization theory good for practice: The essence of Alan Rugman's contributions to international business," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 612-622.
    6. repec:jes:wpaper:y:2012:v:4:p:668-692 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:buspol:v:10:y:2008:i:2:n:4. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.