Outside Fortress Europe…

… Strategies for the Global Market

 

introduction

On 20th February 2016 the British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that an in/out referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the European Union would be held on 23rd June in the same year. The die was cast for an extraordinary period of British, European and even global economic history which combined political chaos with a prolonged state of Brexit stasis in the UK and unprecedented uncertainty for businesses from around the world operating in the UK and the EU.

Within this emerging and dynamic context the Outside Fortress Europe initiative was launched by Colin Edward Egan, formerly Professor of Marketing and Strategic Management at leading university business schools, to build upon the research of the already established Strategic Management Think Tank, an organizational discussion forum exploring global business and marketing strategies in developed and emerging markets.

The resulting publications provide a collective ‘sequel’ to the Economist Intelligent Unit/Addison-Wesley commissioned 1993 book, Inside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Single Market, co-authored by Colin Edward Egan and Peter McKiernan. That text explored the contrasting strategies of Japanese, American and European companies as they prepared for the formation of the European Single Market which came into effect on 1st January 1993, the UK being one of twelve countries within the newly-created trading bloc, the European Union.

The old and the new publications – the ‘In’ and the ‘Out’ – are profiled below along with links to further information within this website relating to Outside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Global Market, a book written for an experienced, inquiring manager audience and/or an MBA/post-MBA/DBA/PhD readership.

The European Single Market & Global Business Strategy

In

Colin Edward Egan and Peter McKiernan (1993).
Inside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Single Market
London: EIU/Addison-Wesley.

In 1992 this book was commissioned by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)/Addison-Wesley as the then twelve European Community member states prepared for the European Single Market which came into effect on 1st January 1993.

The text examined the principles of global business strategy alongside a discussion of the political and economic processes involved in the creation of the European Union and the European Single Market. It also presented case studies demonstrating how American and Japanese companies were proactively preparing for the new market environments they were facing. With few exceptions, notably German companies (and especially smaller Mittelstand firms), European companies were cumbersome, excessively parochial and wasted way too much organizational energy on seeking market protection (hence the ‘fortress’ title) rather than competing aggressively.

From the back cover
The European business environment is undergoing rapid change, exposing strategic weaknesses and challenging management skills. Inside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Single Market examines how non-European firms have developed strategies to compete successfully in this volatile European market. It describes the opportunities of the new Europe and suggests ways of grasping these opportunities. This book is essential reading for anyone wishing to identify the most profitable business strategies for the European Single Market.

Out

Colin Edward Egan (2018)
Outside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Global Market
Rugby: Strategic Management Think Tank

Twenty-five years later it seemed appropriate to reflect on the UK’s momentous decision to leave the now enlarged twenty-eight Member State European Union.  The country had elected to embark on its new international trade adventure in the context of a markedly different global business environment which had evolved since the excitement of the infamous ‘1992 Process’ towards greater European economic integration which had begun in the late 1980s.

This ‘sequel’ to Inside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Single Market was published in December 2018 and updated and revised in October 2019 as Brexit events and EU processes bobbled along, apparently aimlessly. A second edition will be published in early 2021 (see below).

The principal focus of the book is to cover a broader range of subject areas than would normally be found in a single management or business studies textbook, the intention being to provide a cross-functional, multi-disciplinary perspective on the challenges of ‘organizational life’ and strategy development in a highly competitive and complex global business environment. Its discussion relates to companies from all countries, of all sectors and of all sizes and its chapters provide evidence-based principles, frameworks, processes and methodologies to guide the inquisitive manager in developing and leading the Intelligent Company.

Please click/tap the Outside Fortress Europe: The Book tab on the Main Menu for detailed information relating to each of the book’s chapters and the unabridged extended End Note, Milestones in the History of Globalization.  A link is also provided to a detailed Table of Contents which can be viewed in a new browser tab/window and/or downloaded as a PDF document.

Outside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Global Market was published in December 2018 in anticipation of Brexit occurring on 29th March 2019. A limited-series weekly commentary, the Global Business Strategy Blog, was published from 1st March through 3rd May 2019. It combined extracts from Outside Fortress Europe with analysis of international business issues and global strategic management challenges which appeared in the business news headlines during each week.

Seven academic essays focusing on globalization, competitive strategies and organizational change were also drawn from the book and posted in unabridged form. A peer-reviewed compilation of selected posts and four essays was curated and is presented in this website within The Global Business Strategy Album tab on the Main Menu.

The Outside Fortress Europe research project

 

Strategic Management Think Tank
As the Outside Fortress Europe research project progressed a key observation was the extraordinary lack of preparedness of UK companies for whatever ‘Brexit’ would be ultimately determined. There seemed to be a ‘wait and see’ attitude amongst businesses as the political process for implementing Brexit following the delivery of the essential Article 50 notification to Brussels meandered along its long and winding road to who knew where. Or when. Or how. Or if.

But regardless of political contrivances and controversies, ‘waiting and seeing’ is not a good platform on which to build a long-term effective and efficient global business strategy for any organization, regardless of country-of-origin, business sector or company size.

Companies should be preparing now for exploiting the opportunities which international business developments might bring as new trade deals are struck, while at the same time building barriers against the looming threats from an uncertain and nervy customs relationship with the EU following the post-Brexit transition period.

There will be one: hard, soft or, most likely, fudgy. And British companies pursuing purely domestic business strategies should bolster themselves for the fierce competitive winds that those newly-negotiated international trade agreements will bring to the UK market:  after all, ‘free trade’ is a two-way street (see the ‘Bonus Track’ on The Global Business Strategy Album tab).

Following the general election of 12th December 2019, there has been a definitive break in the long-running Brexit stasis and the UK left the EU on 31st January 2020. During a Coronavirus-blighted negotiation phase since then, the final ‘deal’ will be done (or not) by 31st December 2020. Like all messy divorces, there will be an uncomfortable transition as the former partners find their feet (and their friends) in its aftermath. But long before then, companies should have their strategies, plans and contingencies in place; and that challenge is exactly what the Outside Fortress Europe publications aim to address. We discuss the theories, concepts, frameworks, processes and tools which will guide smart managers building intelligent companies towards current and post-Brexit global business strategy success.

Outside Fortress Europe Second Edition
A second edition of Outside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Global Market is scheduled for publication in Q1, 2021. It has been completely updated, building upon extensive feedback from leading experts in the disciplines/subjects/topics explored and user insights into the effectiveness of the book in meeting its goals. Accessibility, relevance and

 

 

British Business Manifesto
A forthcoming book, British Business Manifesto: Strategies for Profitable Growth, has been derived from Outside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Global Market. It has been adapted for a practitioner/functional-specialist readership and is ideal for a Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) / Strategic Business Unit (SBU) management audience.

For details of this book and related SME & SBU Business Strategy events please navigate to britishbusinessmanifesto.com (site opens in a new tab/window).