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BW Businessworld

Book Review: The Home Grown Brew

The book, very effectively, covers internationalisation and globalisation strategies from two very diverse markets — the developed and the emerging

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India is no longer just a land of economies of scale and low-cost manufacturing. Today, India is a powerhouse of old and new and emerging businesses that are competing headon with global players. Indian companies today are building global brands with clear, well-articulated and differentiated strategies. Whether it is niche strategy, mergers and acquisitions, focus into expanding into similar emerging markets, or simple gradual progression and growth — India’s emerging multinationals are straddling either a single or a combination of approaches to capture the global markets.

On one hand, we see the powerful transformations of traditional family-run businesses into new-age multinationals. On the other, we see bootstraps turning into behemoths, going global, churning technology and solutions, replicas or copycat innovations that are changing the way we live. Emerging Indian Multinationals: Strategic Players in a Multipolar World is a book that takes you through time, describing how emerging market multinationals have found their own rhythm and beat for competing in a global arena.

The authors have also taken a historic view of the Indian multinational. It begins with the pre-reform period of 1991 which focused on internal domestic growth and a bare policy framework enough to support developmental cooperation with other de
veloping nations. Moving on to the liberalised regime that begins in 1991 with access to foreign capital and reduced entry barriers for foreign companies, and finally sets at the current policy framework that is focused on increased economic growth, tighter integration with the global economy and an era that sets the stage of rapid globalisation for Indian multinationals.

Within all of this, comes the crucial aspect of international business frameworks and management. The authors study the gradual and obvious movement away from the traditional and obvious western school of thought to a multipolar world. The authors have studied large global Indian multinational enterprises and the challenges that come with internationalisation, localising the workforce, decision-making, developing a global mindset, and most importantly — decentralised decision making.

With that, one theme that resonates throughout the book through the various chapters is the importance of preparation, market studies and firm ground work that companies must do to fully understand a market before they enter it.

In my experience, the most difficult aspect of management for an Indian manager, even in this day and age, is decentralised decision making. The very basic Indian business gene is entrepreneurial in nature. And every entrepreneur is a control freak — no matter how new-age is the approach to business, the very essence of its success lies in control. The lesser the human intervention, the better is the control.

The changing business landscape and the globalisation process, with competitive pressures increasing across every business, have made the professionalisation of management a compulsion. One group that comes to my mind when I think of this aspect of business is The Aditya Birla Group. The organisation stands as an important testimony to the manner in which a traditional Marwari business empire has transformed into a modern-day business group, embracing top-notch professionals across the world while, at the same time, remaining deeply in touch with its traditional values.

The group has, over the years, transformed many old management styles to suit the changing business landscape and embracing modern business values. This obviously has been done creatively while keep ing intact the traditional roots.

The result is that today it is a strong multi-ethnic, multi-dimensional group spanning multiple nationalities and several continents. As an ever expanding group globally, they remain contemporary and move with the times.

The book, very effectively, covers internationalisation and globalisation strategies from two very diverse markets — the developed and the emerging.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Karthik Raman

Raman is CMO, Head- Products & Strategy, IDBI Federal Life Insurance

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