The reaction of people living in SE Asia to the financial crisis of 1997 Ė 1998 was first one of shock and bewilderment.
Then, for many, it was panic. Each day, for months, stock market numbers and currency values become unbelievably worse. As crises go, the next response was naturally one of blame and criticism. SE Asian financial systems were said to lack transparency and the foundations of a modern financial system.
While there followed a host of conferences and papers giving economic explanations of SE Asiaís predicament, from a business perspective, the theories didnít fly. They neglected to explain how transnational companies were seemingly immune from the crisis.
They did not explain why it was that SE Asian businesses,
with their relatively closed business systems, could cause a financial
crisis of world proportions. And they didnít explain how globalisation
played a role in SE Asiaís economic rise and fall.
As I listened to the delegates it became clear to me that they were speaking and responding out of a different process of reasoning than a Western capitalist model. I came away from the meeting with the belief that a sociological explanation of SE Asian history and growth was needed in order to make sense of the regionís business interactions: an explanation of SE Asian development that appreciated the context in which people live and conduct their business.
Only then could I seek to understand what the financial
crisis had meant to the people of SE Asia. But an explanation of the context
of SE Asian growth is not to be a story restricted to the influences of
the past but also one about the unfolding events and influences of globalisation.
Their writings inspired me to consider the impact of
globalisation upon SE Asian societies as more than a consequence of technology
and information transfer but as a radical shift in ideology. SE Asian
businesses, like businesses everywhere, are seeing their ideologies evolve
to embrace a new and global logic, or way of thinking. Consequently, the
financial crisis is to be understood as one event, although severe, in
the journey of globalisation for SE Asia. Indeed, the impact of globalisation
is to have board and profound consequences affecting the very nature of
business management practice.
For business professionals this book offers an explanation
of the dynamics of globalisation and how it is going to affect their business.
While the discussion is pertinent to businesses operating in SE Asia,
it also has relevance to businesses everywhere as the impact of globalisation
has no bounds.
Accordingly, this book provides a great resource for the theoretical background to business growth in SE Asia as well as presenting some provocative ideas about business management and the emergence of a global logic.