Chapter Five
Analysing Global Markets and the Intelligent Company

They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it’s not half so bad as a lot of ignorance.

Sir Terry Pratchett (1948-2015).
Humorist, satirist, fantasy novel author.


In this chapter, we broadly balance the content between discussions of academic theories and debates with the laundry-list information requirements which we mentioned in the ‘Style Guide’ section of the Preface. As promised there, we will also provide models and frameworks designed to harness this quality information to improve company performance.

In another contrast that we have frequently discussed up to this point, that between behavioural and economic theories of international business and strategy, this chapter leans heavily towards the latter. We also compare the nature of established versus emerging markets alongside a consideration of the strategic challenges associated with each.

In the first instance, we need to address some definitional issues which suggest that the universe of global markets (and therefore market analysis) has developed layers of complexity previously unknown and which therefore require clarification.


The Characteristics of Quality Information

As we draw this chapter to a close, it seems appropriate to summarise the characteristics of quality information regardless of the rationale for its collection and processing. The following (final) listing draws on a theme that a colleague – a Professor of Information Systems and Management – uses as the first slide of her first lecture to introduce the subject of data analytics as a core Executive MBA course. She subsequently shows it again as the last slide of the last lecture to review the lessons learned with the class participants throughout the course. It is a highly effective teaching technique that provides structure and meaning to a complex five-day intensive module and demonstrates that there is not much which is ‘new’ in data processing and management.

The constant theme throughout the professor’s course relates to an acronym: GI-GO. This is Garbage In-Garbage Out: it doesn’t matter how sophisticated the algorithms underpinning big data, data warehousing, data mining, artificial intelligence, robotics and machine learning become, if the data which feeds them is garbage, the assumptions, decisions and actions based upon it will be fundamentally flawed, i.e. garbage. And the great reveal in the last minute of the professor’s last lecture? The original source for this 21st Century leading-edge data-analytics course was a textbook first published in 1948 with the provocative title: Data Processing. Yawn!

For the new ‘Big Data’ world, however, here are some old-world truths: Beware GI-GO! Quality information should be:

      1. Relevant.
      2. Timely.
      3. Reliable.
      4. Credible.
      5. Targeted.
      6. Readily available.
      7. Easily accessible.
      8. Integrated.
      9. Updated.
      10. Focused.

Concluding Remarks

A large amount of information has been presented in this chapter, from a critical assessment of a cross-section of theories of finance and economics to a ‘laundry list’ of laundry-lists, each of these with multiple line-items suggesting that engagement in business, let alone global business strategy, is perhaps too risky to contemplate. But we should consider what the American playwright and humourist Neil Simon observed: “If no one ever took risks, Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor”.

In essence, the discussion that we have presented in this chapter relates to risk mitigation, not in the sense of risk spreading (as in portfolio management and financial risk diversification) but, rather, the more mundane but powerful sense of out-smarting rival interpretations of the same data-sets. And, of greater importance, asking the right questions of them. As French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire observed, “Judge a man by the questions he asks rather than by his answers”.


Chapter Five References

Ansoff, H. I. (1965). Corporate Strategy. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Belfort, J. (2007). The Wolf of Wall Street. New York: Bantam Dell.
Best, G. (2002). Blessed: The Autobiography. London: Ebury.
Buzzell, R. D., & Gale, B. T. (1987). The PIMS Principles: Linking Strategy to Performance. New York: Free Press.
Cassidy, J. (2002). Dot.Con: The Greatest Story Ever Sold. Allen Lane.
Christensen, C. M. (1997). The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Clarkson, J. (2018, March 29th). The Clarkson Review: 2018 Kia Stinger GT S – Supersonic, but it won’t fly in blighty. The Sunday Times.
Dash, M. (2010). Tulipomania: The Story of the Worlds Most Coveted Flower and the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused. London: W&N.
Day, G. S. (1977). Diagnosing the product portfolio. Journal of Marketing, (April), 29-38.
Day, G. S. (2014). Market Driven Strategy: Processes for Creating Value. New York: Free Press.
Doyle, P. (1976). The realities of the product life cycle. Quarterly Review of Marketing, 1(Summer), 1-6.
Doyle, P. (1989). Building Successful Brands: The Strategic Options. Journal of Marketing Management, 5(1), 77-95.
Doyle, P. (2008). Value-Based Marketing: Marketing Strategies for Corporate Growth and Shareholder Value (2 ed.). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.
Egan, C. E., & McKiernan, P. (1993). Inside Fortress Europe: Strategies for the Single Market. London: Addison-Wesley / Economist Intelligence Unit.
Egan, C. E. (2021). Ten Years (That) Shook the Capitalist World: 1988-1998 (2 ed.). Rugby: Strategic Management Think Tank.
Frynas, J. G., & Mellahi, K. (2014). Global Strategic Management (3 ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gladwell, M. (2002). The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (New edition ed.). London: Abacus.
Goldgar, A. (2008). Tulipmania: Money, Honor, and Knowledge in the Dutch Golden Age. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Isaacson, W. (2011). Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography. London: Abacus.
Kay, J. (2016). Other People’s Money: Masters of the Universe or Servants of the People? London: Profile Books.
Kim, W. C., & Mauborgne, R. (2004). Blue Ocean Strategy. Harvard Business Review, (October), 76-84.
Kim, W. C., & Mauborgne, R. (2015). Blue Ocean Strategy Extended Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.
Levitt, S. D., & Dubner, S. J. (2007). Freakenomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. London: Penguin.
Lewis, M. (2010). The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Lewis, M. (2015). Flashboys: Cracking the Money Code. London: Penguin.
Lowenstein, R. (2001). When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management. London: 4th Estate.
Lowenstein, R. (2004). Origins of the Crash: The Great Bubble and its Undoing. New York: Penguin.
Malkiel, B. G. (2016). A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing (11th Revised ed.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
McKiernan, P. (1992). Strategies of Growth: Maturity, recovery and internationalization. London: Routledge.
Mintzberg, H. (1994). The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning. Hemel Hempstead: Prentice Hall International.
Moore, G. A. (2014). Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers (3 ed.). London: HarperBusiness.
Morito, A. (1988). Made in Japan: Akio Morita and Sony. London: Fontana Press.
Nasar, S. (2002). A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash (Tie-in – Film edition). London: Faber and Faber.
Pike, R., Neale, B., Akbar, S. & Linsley, P. (2018). Corporate Finance and Investment: Decisions and Strategies (9 ed.). Harlow: Pearson.
Porter, M. E. (2008). The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy. Harvard Business Review, (January), 78-93.
Ricardo, D. (2018). On the Principles of Political Economy: And Taxation (Classic Reprint). London: Forgotten Books.
Rogers, E. (1995). The Diffusion of Innovations (4 ed.). New York: Free Press.
Schoorl, E. (2015). Jean-Baptiste Say: Revolutionary, Entrepreneur, Economist (Routledge Studies in the History of Economics). London: Routledge.
Schumpeter, J. A. (2017). The Theory of Economic Development (With a New Introduction by John E. Elliott). London: Routledge.
Shiller, R. J. (2016). Irrational Exuberance: Revised and Expanded Third Edition (3 ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Smith, A. (1776). An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Edinburgh: Strathan & Cadell.
Taylor, B. (1993). Message and Muscle: An Interview with Swatch Titan Nicolas Hayek. Harvard Business Review, (March-April).
Thaler, R. H. (2016). Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics. London: Penguin.
Usborne, D. (2012, January 20th). The moment it all went wrong for Kodak. The Independent, p. 28.
Vandermerwe, S. (1993). From Tin Soldiers to Russian Dolls. Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann.
Vandermerwe, S. (2001). Customer Capitalism: Increasing Returns in New Market Spaces. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
Vandermerwe, S. (2014). Breaking Through: Implementing Disruptive Customer Centricity (2 ed.). London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Vernon, R. (1966). International Investment and International Trade in the Product Cycle. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 80(2), 190-207.
Vernon, R. (1972). The Economic and Political Consequences of Multinational Enterprise: An Anthology. Boston, MA: Harvard University Press.
Wensley, R. (1981). Strategic marketing: betas, boxes or basics. Journal of Marketing, 45(Summer), 173-182.


Please click/tap your browser ‘Back’ button to return to the location navigated from. Alternatively, click/tap the ‘Bookshelf & Typewriter’ graphic below to navigate to the Outside Fortress Europe: The Book page.

All content © Colin Edward Egan, 2022