Research Paper, 11 pages (2500 words)

Operations management: product planning/control research paper samples


The worldwide bestselling book by Thomas L. Friedman “ The Word is Flat. A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century” examines globalization in the start of the 21st century. In the entire book, Friedman assists the reader to perceive the globe as a level playing stage, whereby traditional issues of geographical, as well as historical divisions, are becoming inappropriate, and all the competitors have an equal chance. In his book, Friedman depicts the way globalization has broken the boundaries of countries and is transforming the globe into an interconnected, flat world. The author looks at influences that shape businesses and competition in the technology, which has significantly fuelled global environment. Supporting his ideas with case studies, interviews as well as statistics, Friedman sends a message to his authors that they are needed to be prepared since the flattening world currently waits for no one. In addition, he says that flattening is not something that will happen spontaneously (Friedman, 2005). The author groups the globalization phenomena into 10-so called ‘ flatteners,’ like outsourcing, Collapse of Berlin Wall, informing and off-shoring. The first flattener explained by the author is 11/9/89, when the Berlin wall fell; this is because when the wall collapsed, windows came up, which Friedman says that when this wall fell it permitted the world to be perceived at as a single plane. The third flattener discussed by Friedman is when workflow software, like Microsoft office software, is launched. Outsourcing was the fifth flattener; Friedman promptly details how the U. S. gained from India’s seven Institutes of Technology (IIT), instituted in 1951. The tenth and final flattener proposed by Friedman was “ the steroids.” Friedman calls definite technologies steroids (digital, personal, mobile, and virtual), since they supplement and reinforce other flatteners. Friedman argues these flatteners fashion a flat world: a global, web-enabled platform for several forms of sharing knowledge and work, regardless of distance, time, geography and progressively more, language.
Friedman is strong believer and crusader of free trade. In his book, he remembers several companies in India and China, which has taken advantage of low cost labor so as to integrate into the entire world trade supply chain. He says that the flattening is a continuous process that has been happening for many years; however, it has become more perceptible after a turn of the century. From his perspective, the world is actually becoming a seamless world factory where each nation works incorporation along this supply chain (Friedman, 2005). Through “ The World is Flat,” Friedman believes that there are ten major factors that cause the world to be flat. He also commends how the United States (U. S.) deal with the rate of leveling of the globe. Friedman says that we are currently in the midst of globalization, which is an era in which the globe shrivels from small to minute, flattening to such an extent that individuals can cooperate with each other and compete internationally, from ANYWHERE in the globe. Friedman discusses how the globe became flat and the associations of that development. He then goes on to clarify that there are 10 flatteners of the globe (Friedman & Amazon. com (Firm), 2007).


The book by Friedman analyzes globalization, principally in the early 21st century. Thus, the designate of the book is a metaphor for perceiving the planet as a level playing stage in relation to business/commerce, whereby all the competitors have an equal chance. In the first edition cover graphic shows, the title of Friedman’s book also concurs with the perceptual move needed for nations across the planet, firms as well as persons and communities to remain competitive in the global market where geographical and historical divisions are becoming generally inappropriate. The book was initially released in 2005, and it was later expanded and updated in 2006 and was also released in 2007 with extra updates as ‘ further expanded and updated: Release 3. 0. The title was drawn fromNandan Nilekani statement who was the former CEO of Infosys. The book has won the Goldman Sachs Business and inaugural Financial Times Book of the Year Award in the year 2005 (Friedman, 2005).
Friedman’s trip to India is where he first acknowledges that the playing stage has been flattened and that global knowledge is accessible to a much larger audience. Here I agree with Friedman because his explanation has been enriched by his personal to India and other nations. This is a real experience by the author. Friedman argues that the globe is shifting from small to tiny globe. He says that the flattening planet entails that we are currently linking all the available information centers on the planet together into single worldwide network, which if these elements like terrorism and politics do not get into the way, start a period of innovation, prosperity, and cooperation by firms, communities, and individuals (Friedman, 2008). Therefore, globalization that used to be greatly controlled by American and European individuals, as well as businesses, is currently being influenced by more diverse non-Western, now-white groups of persons. According to the author, there are ten major forces that have converged and led to a flattened world.
Thus, I agree with Friedman’s ten flattening forces because he gives precise explanation of every force, which really in my opinion has changed the world. The first force, which has resulted to flattening of the world, took place on November 9, 1989 with the collapse of Berlin Wall. Friedman says that this colossal even did more than to liberate the enslaved citizens of the Soviet Empire; however, it tipped the stability of power across the globe by advocating consensual, democratic and free-oriented market governance. The collapse of the Berlin world as argued by the author was felt in most regions of the world and not just in Berlin. This allowed people, companies and communities to view the world as one single market, community, and ecosystem (Friedman & Amazon. com (Firm), 2007). Second flattening of the world was witnessed in 1995 when Netscape went public. The World Wide Web gave everyone in the society an opportunity to connect to other parts of the globe with a click of a button. The third flattening force highlighted in the book is workflow software event. This was somehow a quiet revolution, which took place for some time; however, it had a big impact once it was accessible. This allowed individuals in several places to display, design, collaborate and manufacture on business data previously handled in a manual way, therefore, leading to workflow within and between firms and continents quicker than before (Friedman, 2005).
The fourth and what the author of the book says it is the most influential world flattener is the capacity to upload. The newfound power of persons as well as communities to send up, around, and out their ideas and products for free other than just downloading them from commercial enterprises has continued to reform the world. The fifth flattening force that has changed the world according to Friedman in his book is outsourcing. While he was in his trip to India, he witnessed outsourcing when he visited a call center. American firms started looking elsewhere for solutions for their software challenges. The sixth flattening force by Friedman was offshoring is when a firm takes their whole factory, which was previously situated in Ohio, for instance, and shifted to a small town in China (Friedman, 2005). The factory will produce the same products and materials but at a cheaper cost. This will assist to expand economies of nations like China but a price for Europeans and Americans. The seventh force flattening the world as explained by Friedman is supply-chain. The author in his book says that when the world is flat firms should take advantage of the best manufacturers at the lowest prices. An instance of this is Wal-Mart, which is the largest retail firm globally and makes several products. Wal-Mart as a corporation has so much leverage on its providers that it may force them to maintain their prices very low, and in turn make a wealth selling the products in their retail stores. The company pulls products from several nations globally, being aware that if they do not acquire what they need from one place, they may just go for next option. The eighth flattening cause in the world is insourcing. UPS is one of the principal insourcing world flatteners globally, and most individuals do not understand it. They are not delivering packages any longer; they are entails undertaking logistics. UPS is a coordinating worldwide supply chain for both small and large. Small firms can now see across the world thanks to firms such as UPS (Friedman, 2005).
The ninth flattener that has influenced the globe is in forming. With search engines such as Yahoo and Google individuals in many parts of the world have the capacity to find out more data on their own than ever before. Anybody with access to the internet, on any part of the world, can access similar information as somebody on the other part of the world. Google offers a child in Alabama swift worldwide access to information in libraries globally. Friedman in his book says that in forming permits persons to deploy their personal supply chain. The in-forming capacity of Google eliminates linguistic boundaries, class borders, education boundaries, and money boundaries that were there formerly. The last flattener on Friedman’s list is what he classified as ‘ the steroids’. The steroids that Friedman refers to in his book are the novel wave of technology, which is being fashioned in the 21st century. Friedman argues the tenth flattener is significant since it pulls the other nine flatteners together and makes them all feasible. Friedman proceeds to refer to the ten flatteners all through his book and expresses his perspective on how he perceives the U. S. must deal with the flattening world (Friedman, 2008).
In his book, Friedman biggest argument is the way America must respond to the flattening world, and he primarily evaluates the issue of free trade as he has advocated in the entire book. Whilst more and more job opportunities are being lost to off shoring and outsourcing, several individuals want to put limitations and consequences on those firms. Nonetheless, Friedman says that even as the globe gets flatter, the U. S as a whole will gain more through sticking to the overall philosophy of free trade, rather than attempting to erect walls that will provoke others to follow the same suit and jeopardize us all. Therefore, a policy of free trade is not only sufficient. There should be a movement at home, which will reinforce education for Americans so that they can compete for new job opportunities in the flat world, which will make many firms hard to outsource (Friedman, 2005). U. S is at a massive disadvantage from an economic feature when it comes to person salary. An Indian employee could do similar work job at the same, or advanced, competence as an American employee for a fraction of the cost. From a business viewpoint, it is a no brainer since the main purpose of a business is to profit economically. Likewise, Friedman argues that the world need to open to the rest of the restricted markets , such as those with agriculture, to open up to more job opportunities and demand these goods across the world. America’s new generation will be compelled to work harder to prosper in the new world.
In Friedman’s book, the most notable statements that come out clearly is the fact that any work that may be digitized will flow to those individuals, communities and companies who can best do it. This will not get nearer to the reality that considering the events during the economic meltdown few years ago. As the economic meltdown continued, the profitability of several firms declined, thus compelling managers to adopt cost-reducing strategies, which would permit them to survive in the global market. For firms with components, which were intangible in nature, like customer service but comprised costly operational procedures, like call centers, several of these strategies led them to downsize their existing labor force as well as outsource operations to overseas markets, which could offer similar service for a lower cost. Whilst the thinking behind these decisions are apparent, the issues which surrounds them like ethics, quality decline and ethics must be factored in by the labor force, which is most influenced by these decisions. Friedman’s success in his book in a flat world (skills, knowledge , and a great work ethics) are what will create differentiators in the executives of the future , and likewise in the future will bring balance in the influence felt by globalization (Ehrhardt & Brigham, 2009).


As Friedman emphasizes that technology plays a leading role in fashioning a free trade, I will use technology to make sure I meet different business people across the world for business purposes, as well as ideas. The internet, personal computer, World Wide Web, workflow software as well as uploading all play principal roles in convergence and the world becoming flatter. All of the preceding function as tools, which permit the exchange of business ideas, which I believe is the central building block of globalization. This will make sure that I access information from other parts of the world, more easily and conveniently. I can even post my products and sell them online. I will be able to connect and meet people from opposite sides of the world. This is a game changer, and technology expanding at an exponential rate (Ehrhardt & Brigham, 2009).
I tend to trust that Friedman was right, even though I felt that he overstressed some elements, was extremely effective while arguing his primary idea that the globe is quickly becoming economically globalized. Therefore, either reflecting many aspects of our lives have been indirectly or directly influenced by the element of globalization. I have worked and read Friedman’s piece of work via economic classes before, and I have historically com in terms with his work, and continue to agree with his ideas in his text ‘ The World is Flat’. Thomas Friedman’s work has made me believe that there is a need to adopt free-market strategies for one to remain relevant in the current volatile business environment (Friedman, 2005).
I believe that for one to prosper during this time of globalization where most economies are shifting to free-markets I have to make myself untouchable. This means that I do not allow myself to be outsourced, or automated. This is highly recommended by Friedman in his book, which I agree with him. He says that in order for a person in a flat globe, one has to make herself/himself ‘ untouchable’. He means that we have to make our self-unable to be automated or outsourced. This he said that education plays a key role. He states that he came to know that the globe is flat when he visited India, and he thought that majority of the people he met, there were Americans. He explains how most of the Americans are untouchable and always strive to make themselves marketable; however, he noted that individuals in China and India could perfume the same job as Americans and accept half the cost of the job. Thus, I found that there is a need to open up and go beyond the established boundaries. In reading this book, I understand that there is a need to embrace markets such as that of agriculture, which will lead to more job creation as well as creating high demand for products across our national borders. This was effectively addressed in Friedman book (Ehrhardt & Brigham, 2009).
In addition, I came to understand through reading this great book by Friedman that the globe is shrinking faster than before and if we do not wake up and realize this fact, these changes will just slip away. This means in the current changing world I am supposed to go beyond the borders and interact with the world through the technological advances. Friedman says that Americans and Europeans need to stay ahead of the flattening world so that they will continue to remain relevant in the current world. This means to become successful in the flat globe, I need to stay ahead and venture new opportunities in a globalized world (Friedman, 2008).
Furthermore, I find very relevant that in order to thrive in the flattening world; I have to search vital information, which will enrich my existing knowledge. I need to read different materials and research work from renowned scholars and researchers. In his entire book, Friedman quotes different researchers and scholars to help him understand the flat world. He even quotes Christopher Columbus journal to drive the point home (Friedman, 2005). This helps the reader to understand as well as make them think what the author communicates. Therefore, this I believe will open up my mind to accept the reality that the globe is flat, and we need to adopt changes that will allow us become relevant in the present markets.


Ehrhardt, M. C., & Brigham, E. F. (2009). Corporate finance: A focused approach (3rd ed.). London: South-Western, Cengage Learning.
Friedman, T. (2005). The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century. Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Friedman, T. L. (2008). The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre.
Friedman, T. L., & Amazon. com (Firm). (2007). The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. New York: Picador/Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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