With globalization increasingly under attack, Robinson College of Business Professor S. Tamer Cavusgil thinks that the future of the world’s economies will depend on individual and national character traits to rebuild whatever inter-connectivity is lost.
In an online video addressing global crises exacerbated by COVID-19, Dr. Cavusgil said that he considers the trauma testing the global economy “a good test for our resilience,” a test not limited just to national economies, but individuals and organizations including non-profits as well as companies.
In terms of this real-world exam, what’s being evaluated, he says, are the “capacity to recover quickly,” “problem solving skills,” “self-control,” “discipline,” “resolve to overcome adversities,” and the “hard work to rebuild nations and societies.”
He bases his optimism on the accomplishments of the past founded on cultural traditions as well as on the commitment of forward looking executives to the longer-term social and environmental consequences of their policies.
He told Global Atlanta that he is impressed by the commentary of Paul Polman, former CEO of the global firm Unilever, who opposes shareholders primacy and its legacy of over-leveraged balance sheets.
Mr. Polman also supports companies that invest in employees’ health care and sick pay and remain loyal to their suppliers. These will be the policies, he has said, which will gain favor in the public generally and be necessary for success during an eventual recovery.
Academics and their institutions will be tested no less, says Dr. Cavusgil, who has launched a series of online webinars as Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business adapts to the closing down of its campuses and classes.
Aside from being the Fuller E. Callaway Chair at Robinson, he is executive of its Center for International Business Education Research (CIBER) and has launched a series of webinars for a variety of audiences including students and professors affiliated with CIBER partnership institutions.
His webinar “The Great Lockdown Recession and International Business“may be viewed by clicking here and is to be posted on the CIBER website.
Business students may take notice of his view that global companies in the future will be increasingly concerned about mismanagement practices and that planning and crisis management skills will be increasingly in demand, especially with concentrations on workforce safety and cybersecurity.
Although he separates the companies in the economic sectors such as health care, pharmaceutical and medical devises as winners from the losers such as aircraft manufacturers, airlines, live sporting events, energy, travel and hospitality, he doesn’t consider the divide as permanent.
Taking a broad historical perspective, Dr. Cavusgil views globalization currently in retreat because of the COVID-19 induced recession due to the magnitude of trade, personal mobility and interdependence among the world’s economies, which were unprepared for such a calamity.
But he says that there will only be “a temporary pause” to globalization due to the persistence of trade, capital transactions, foreign direct investment, mobility of travelers, flow of data and natural resources and technologies bringing the world closer together.
“Globalization has become indispensable,” he says, adding that it will slow down, but “reemerge in a new phase and a new form.” And he cites the American financial analyst and commentator Gary Schilling’s quote, “Globalization is easy to hate, convenient to target, but impossible to stop.”
The webinar resulted from a request by Spyridon Batas, senior lecturer in international business, at the University of Greenwich in London, for Dr. Cavusgil to participate in a series including senior scholars from around the world about the impact of GOVID-19 on international business.
Dr. Cavusgil is the founding executive director of CIBER at Georgia State. He is a trustee of Sabanci University in Istanbul, Turkey. He also serves as a visiting professor at Leeds University Business School and the University of South Australia.
In addition, he is a recipient of an honorary doctorate from Universiteit Hasselt, Belgium, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Southern Denmark. In April 2018, he was honored by Atilim University in Ankara, Turkey, as their first Honorary Professor.
Previously, he was the inaugural holder of John W. Byington Endowed Chair in Global Marketing at Michigan State University. He also held the Gianni and Joan Montezemolo Visiting Chair at the University of Cambridge, the U.K., where he is also an Honorary Fellow of Sidney Sussex College.