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Journal of Management Inquiry


Broadening the Debate: The Pros and Cons of Globalization
Joyce S. Osland

Journal of Management Inquiry 2003; 12; 137

DOI: 10.1177/1056492603012002005

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/ June 2003



Broadening the Debate

The Pros and Cons of Globalization

San Jose State University

Globalization has become an increasingly controversial topic, and the growing number of protests around the world has focused more attention on the basic assumptions of global­ ization and its effects. The purpose of this literature review is to broaden the boundaries of the debate on globalization and increase our understanding of its influence beyond the economic sphere. The winners and losers resulting from globalization are identified along with empirical evidence of its impact on key areas: equality, labor, government, culture and community, and the environment. The literature indicates that globalization is an uneven process that has had both positive and negative effects. The article presents some of the arguments of various stakeholders in the globalization controversy. Keywords: globalization; environmental sustainability; equality; labor conditions; governmental sovereignty; monoculture


he roots of globalization began to take hold
in the 15th century with voyages by intrepid
explorers who were funded by European
monarchs seeking new trade routes. It continued
throughout the years of the imperial expansion of
Europe and the colonization of other lands primarily
for the purpose of trade. In the mercantilist era, trading companies (such as the Hudson Bay Company and the East India Tea Company) served as surrogate
colonial governments, merging trade and government. Later, trading companies were privatized, and intercontinental railways and transoceanic steam-

ships made it possible to open previously protected
markets. The global markets present in the early 20th
century were disrupted by both world wars. After
World War II, the World Bank and the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) were founded to aid development in war-ravaged countries and lesser developed countries (LDCs). The English term globalization first
made its appearance around 1960 (Waters, 1995). In
1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) was cre­
ated as a successor to the General Agreement on Tar­
iffs and Trade (GATT) “to help trade flow smoothly,
freely, fairly and predictably” (World, 2003, p. 3). In

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article is largely an excerpt from part of a longer chapter coauthored with Kathy Dhanda and Kristi Yuthas, “Globalization and Environmental Sustainability: An Analysis of the Impact of Globalization Using the Natural Step Framework,” in Sanjay Sharma & Mark Starik (Eds.), Research in Corporate Sustainability: The Evolving Theory and Practice of Orga­ nizations in the Natural Environment (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2002, pp. 31-60). JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT INQUIRY, Vol. 12 No. 2, June 2003 137-154 DOI: 10.1177/1056492603252535

© 2003 Sage Publications

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