March 2007, Issue 84

Welcome to our bi-weekly Club of Amsterdam Journal.

"Off-shoring is to most European politicians what garlic is to vampires: the mere mention of it sends them into convulsions. It is associated in public opinion to serious ills ranging from wage dumping and precarious social security networks to child-labour and slavery. Governments in mature economies face a dilemma: they need to foster the competitiveness of their companies while working to preserve certain social standards, at home and abroad. Moving business processes abroad may increase competitiveness but creates social problems. But isn't there a middle way? Must off-shoring/outsourcing necessarily be a zero-sum game? Or does it hold the key to success, especially for SME's, on tomorrow's ever more competitive global marketplace?" - Jean-Claude Knebeler, Director of Foreign Trade, Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade, Luxembourg

Jean-Claude Knebeler
is a speaker at our event about the future of the Global Workplace on March 29:

And check out our labs in Girona near Barcelona:
Register for the
LAB on Old and New ENERGY - April 17&18
And for
LAB on MEDIA and Human Experience - May 29&30

Felix Bopp, editor-in-chief


Impact of Globalisation on daily working life

Energy LAB

News about the future of the Global Workplace

Club of Amsterdam blog

News about the Future

"We Media"

Event about the future of Global Workplace

Recommended Book

So, how is life in 2020? The future of Europe

LAB on MEDIA and Human Experience

The Future of the Web

Shop of the Future


Club of Amsterdam Open Business Club

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.Impact of Globalisation on daily working life

By Frank Brüggemann, MBA; Dipl.-Ing., Consultant

1 Introduction

1.1 Background

A lot of companies expand their business into international markets. In most cases, the motive is a search for improved cost efficiency or looking for the chance to expand and achieve growth. Today, companies are able to respond rapidly to many foreign sales opportunities; this is made easier by technological, governmental, and institutional developments. They can shift production quickly among countries because of their experience in foreign markets and because goods can be transported efficiently from most places. Companies can also distribute component and/or product manufacturing among countries to take advantage of cost differences.

Once a few companies respond to foreign market and production opportunities, others may see that there are foreign opportunities for them as well. All this is a part of the so called “globalisation”.

In operating globally, a company has to consider what the company will seek to do and become over the long term (mission), its specific performance targets to fulfil its mission (objectives), and the means to reach its targets (strategy). There are many factors that may influence companies to succeed in doing global business and remaining competitive in the global arena.

Many companies are riding on the wave of globalisation; some of their employees might get tangled up in the flow of the wave with more and more personal involvement as the borders between the working day and the private life become “grey”. They are challenged with a multi-lingual working environment, exposure to different cultures, an increase of pace and stress, they must adapt in order to succeed.

The job profiles and working conditions of an international company are nowadays aligned to totally different factors as possibly to a decade ago. The markets are not limited anymore to the exclusive region in which the company is based, but to the whole world. Additionally, technological developments have promoted a flood of communications on every level of economy which helped to ease the way of globalisation.

7 Conclusion - Part 4

Is the daily work life affected by the process of globalisation, which is influencing the attitudes of the company or the employers? Generally yes, it is.

We have seen that this company and the whole economy changed their orientation on the market and thus their attitudes and policies to their employees. Tremendous revolutions took place in the plot of the working life of an employee in contrast to decades before “globalisation” made pace.

The examined company moves in a global environment. The requirements to do so for this company no longer exclusively refer to their core competencies and activities, e.g. within the production goods range from purely a technological view. But include far more interdisciplinary entwinements (labour unions; wage policies; etc.), which the company and the employee must go around.

Having observed items the employee depends on, tendencies in the answers such as the sorrows and insecurities the employees have because of changed work conditions, we can conclude there are several interactions between the economy, the society, the enterprises and the single employee, but there is only a little focus on the impacts on this little “cog-wheel” – the employee and his private life.

Even in literature there are only a few scientists who researched in this environment. Scientists on the subject of globalisation like GOSHAL, BARTLETT and YIP are mainly focused on the economy and the enterprises – not on the humans “behind all this”. So, there is a wide field for investigation on how our society, and the individuals in it, are going to change in the coming years with regard to ongoing globalisation.

The major difficulty during globalisation is, like in material existing communism, the human being. It is not foreseeable how an employee is acting in a company that is going global. Because of this each person may think egoistically first, and also company heads provide first for their company and their profit. And furthermore each state puts first its own interests at expense of the other. A good example of this is the European Union, in which only important resolutions come to tough negotiations.

No technical invention, no political development, and no social change - automatically leads exclusively to change for the better or worse for everyone. No well intended ideology or policy will bring eternal peace. Wealth for all is not realisable, neither by economic systems, nor by globalisation. Every employee in a global company is affected by globalisation - even though everyone is not yet fully aware of how it currently functions.
So, he must try to understand what is happening and why and he must regard globalisation as a personal challenge and take personal action. Finally in such a work situation he will and has to pay attention more than ever to his job and his personal life, in order to be able to exist in a global job market.

In fact, the “Impact of globalisation on daily working life” is there. The company passes on the pressure of globalisation to each and everyone of the workforce – it has to.

But first of all globalisation is neutral. It holds risks and even chances for a nation state, a corporation and finally also for the single employee even in his daily job situation.

Globalisation is furthermore not a natural phenomenon. It is sought and made by people. That is why every single employee can also change, shape and guide it in the right direction.

What counts is what the single employee makes out of the new possibilities.

As far as the company is globalised, or better spoken, as far as the company is determined by the characteristics of globalisation, e.g. entering into new cultures, as far are the employees forced to adapt to those habits, just as being highly flexible also goes with it.

Deficits in qualifications and flexibility of the workforce could destabilise the position of the company in a global “arena”. Consequently the company cannot make use of the workforce in a way it would like to do, to fulfil the requirements in global markets.

The needs of workers themselves have changed. There is more and more talk about the need to balance work and family or personal responsibilities. The labour force has become increasingly diversified, and this means that ongoing training has become a necessity. Moreover, workers want a greater say in workplace organisation.

Despite this movement toward globalisation, there remain significant environmental differences between countries and regions. Managers in an international business must be sensitive to these differences and also must adapt to the appropriate policies and strategies for dealing with them (YIP, 1995).

Significant aspects of globalisation with regard to influences and altering processes in the daily job are e.g. the trend to shift toward more highly skilled jobs, as it is shown in Table 2 and the trend that production and jobs have progressively shifted from the goods sector to the service sector, so that knowledge-based industries have grown. That means more and more occupations take place in the office and not as much in a workshop as before.

But all the evidence is that these changes would be taking place - not necessarily at the same pace - with or without globalisation. In fact, globalisation is currently making this process easier and maybe less costly to the economy as a whole by bringing the benefits of capital flows, technological innovations, and lower import prices. Thus, all the challenges and changes an employee has, could not have been avoided.

Economic growth, employment and living standards are all higher than they would be in a closed economy, so the economy as a whole will of course flourish from policies that embrace globalisation by generally promoting an open economy [8], and coincidently by undertaking of the industry and the government to focus on education and vocational training, to make sure that workers and employees have the opportunity to acquire the right skills in dynamic changing work environments.

The philosophy of world companies such as Sony, Coca Cola or McDonald’s “to produce and sell theirs products on the whole world” became generally accepted more and more: Today liberty is defined as boundless consumption. The problem of this variant from free-market economy is however:

If there is only the market, everything and everyone becomes the commodity. Companies with ten thousand employees are sold back and forth several times in one year. The individuals fate apparently of no interest, as long as the dividend is good.

Are there any possibilities to defend oneself against this?

Numerous other socio-economic factors currently affect the workplace and the people in it.

The rapid pace of technological change is transforming the workplace and the job experience.

It is facilitating the growth of various non-standard forms of work, especially home work, telework and part-time work.


The full report can be
read here

PricewaterhouseCoopers & Evalueserve is a supporters of our next event
the future of the Global Workplace

.Energy LAB

LAB on Old and New ENERGY
An immersed experience of a Do-Tank

April 17 & 18, 2007

Location: Girona near Barcelona, Spain
Max. 20 Delegates
Please use our Energy LAB Registration at

Moderated by
Humberto Schwab, Director, Club of Amsterdam, Innovation Philosopher

and the Thought Leaders
Nathalie Horbach, Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy, University of Dundee
Nuclear policies specialist

Simon Taylor, Director and Co-Founder, Global Witness
Environmental issues

Christof van Agt, International Energy Agency
Sustainable energy specialist

Paul Holister, Nanotechnology & Energy


.News about the future of the Global Workplace

Predictions for the sourcing market in 2007
by David Skinner, John F. Delaney, Nigel Colin Harris Stamp

  • A continued trend towards smaller, shorter deals as clients focus on individual processes instead of large, complex institutional transactions;
  • Increased reliance on global service delivery models;
  • Data privacy and data security issues will become ever more important to outsourcing customers;
  • Increased offshoring to Asia as clients become more confident about doing business in China;
  • The outcome of the 2006 U.S. midterm elections may lead to a revival of anti-outsourcing sentiment in the United States; and,
  • Large Japanese companies will begin to adopt recognizable elements of IT outsourcing and BPO models into their traditional contract partnering modes of operation.


  Trade and Employment

This study is the outcome of collaborative research between
the Secretariat of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the
International Labour Office (ILO). It addresses an issue that is
of concern to both organizations: the relationship between
trade and employment.

On the basis of an overview of the existing academic
literature, the study provides an impartial view of what can be
said, and with what degree of confidence, on the relationship
between trade and employment, an often contentious issue
of public debate. Its focus is on the connections between
trade policies, and labour and social policies and it will
be useful for all those who are interested in this debate:
academics and policy-makers, workers and employers, trade
and labour specialists.

download the report

.Club of Amsterdam blog

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March 20: The Future of the Web
March 13:
"We Media"

March 05:
Climate and Energy Provision
February 27: The future of Nuclear Energy
February 21:
Nanotechnology & Energy
February 12:
Innovation - a hybrid connection between old practices?

.News about the Future

Biologically Based Quantum Computers? DNA, Proteins, And Peptides Could Help Construct New Nanoscale Electronics
by Science Daily

The U.S. Department of Defense is awarding a team of nine professors from six universities $6 million over five years to exploit precise biological assembly for the study of quantum physics in nanoparticle arrays. This research will help to produce a fundamental understanding of quantum electronic systems, which could impact the way future electronics are created.

"By exploiting biology to precisely control size, spacing, composition, and coupling in the arrays, we will be able to examine the effects of electronic, magnetic, and optical interactions at much smaller dimensions than in the past. This will open a wide range of unbroken ground for exploring new physics," said electrical and computer engineering professor Richard A. Kiehl of the University of Minnesota, who is leading the effort.

  2006 European Innovation Scoreboard

The study concludes that innovation performance in the EU varies considerably between Member States. There are a number of "innovation leaders" in Europe, including Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Finland, as well as many "innovation followers" where innovation performance is generally satisfactory. However, more than half the Member States are found to be lagging behind. This includes many new Member States, most of which are in the process of catching up with the leading countries. However, there are also some trailing countries where more improvements are needed, including two two of the largest Member States.

The report furthermore suggests that there is a process of convergence in the innovation performance of Member States. This means that catching-up countries are closing the gap with the EU average and both country groups of innovation leaders and followers are experiencing a relative decline in their innovation lead.

."We Media"


Q&A with Rudy de Waele, Founder,

Rudy is a Thought Leader in the

LAB on MEDIA and Human Experience
An immersed experience of a Do-Tank
May 29 & 30, 2007
Location: Girona near Barcelona, Spain


Club of Amsterdam: Rudy, you are a leading consultant to the wireless industry. This industry is developing very fast. In most cases I get the impression that products once reaching the customers are already outdated. How does the mobile industry relate their product development to "quality of life"?

This is indeed an industry where products have an average 'lifecycle' of approximately 2 years. Device manufacturers are designing products to different target customers, with the flashy, shiny, trendy products as to be used by the opinion leaders, early birds/first movers and trendsetters first, and while learning from their experience, the manufactures designs new and improved products that will fit the mass market demand in 1 or 2 years.

"Quality of life" is very important in mobile and wireless since every new generation of phones adds something new to satisfy the demands of the consumer and meet the expectations set by the marketing of the products. Don't forget that the mobile phone is the most sold 'aspirational gadget' of all times.

For example the new data services, all multimedia (camera, images, video, mp3player, webbrowser, etc.) integrated now in nearly any standard phone, was just unimaginable only a couple of years ago. Note that a typical high-end smartphone can match the performance of a mid-range laptop computer only five years ago! Nokia don't call them phones any longer but multimedia computers... But these new gadgets might bring also new addictions, away from TV or PC to smaller screens such as mobile devices.

Club of Amsterdam:
New technologies are getting more hybrid. Virtual worlds merge with the "real" world and in this context the user experience is also changing. How does the future consumer create his "personal" media experience?

The youth of today wants to stay connected all the time with their network of friends, news, entertainment and events around through the PC or the mobile... the universal sense of belonging has translated itself in the need to 'stay connected' or 'always on'.

In 5 years time, my 'wearable media' (MyMedia) device will be able to do a lot more things then what is currently possible, it will have the capacity to store entire movies in good quality, my whole music catalogue, photo album, design- and project works just on my mobile device, to take that with me wherever I'll be, to connect it to other devices and (bigger) screens and enjoy that media together with friends. There will be a lot more possibilities for the user to be 'always on' connected to the internet, the news, entertainment and stay connected to my social networks connected with my friends and exchange more content. So, pretty soon, anyone will have the tools and the possibility to create his own media channel, through audio or video. An explosion of user-media is yet still to come.

The virtual will more easily connect with the physical world through taggable objects, once tagged with a phone through image recognition, qr-codes or 2D codes, will bring you directly to some added-value or complementary content or information on the subject tagged.

Club of Amsterdam:
What do you expect from a dialogue about media and human experience?

Raise a set of questions that are essential to create a good human experience in relation to the rapid technology developments of today. To think and discuss about those questions and to put forward some essential issues towards the industry. What is the influence of all this media to our children, society in general? What can be done to improve this? How can we improve our learning systems using media annd technology to make sure our children can rapidly change/adapt to deal with the future changes? Who will control global digital access in the future? What about universal access? Multilingualism? Mobile learning systems? Media conglomerations? Is this really we media or their media? How to organize the overflow of information coming to us? Wikipedia example? Who owns what kind of information and who can manipulate what?

Thank you Rudy!

.Next Season Event

the future of the Gobal Workplace
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Registration: 18:30-19:00, Conference: 19:00-21:15
Where: PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomas R. Malthusstraat 5, 1066 JR Amsterdam

Tickets for € 30, € 20 [discount] or € 10 [students]

Mandar Apte, Business Strategy - Competitive Intelligence Analyst, Shell Global Solutions International B.V.
Workplace of the future - scenarios and trends - Views of a global citizen

Andrew Kruseman Aretz, Partner, Human Resource Services, PricewaterhouseCoopers Belastingadviseurs N.V.
Changing demographics of people flows around the World

Jean-Claude Knebeler, Director of Foreign Trade, Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade, Luxembourg
Does off-shoring hold the key to success, especially for SME's?

Moderated by
Hedda Pahlson-Moller, Managing Director, Omnisource International, Benelux Client Executive for Evalueserve



.Recommended Book

  Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace
by Iris Varner, Linda Beamer

Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace continues to be a vital reference for global business professionals. This new edition features updated discussions on the impact of globalization and technology in business communication, expanded treatment of ethics issues, increased discussion of world religions (particularly the role of Islam), and more short cases for improved ease of reading and comprehension.

.So, how is life in 2020? The future of Europe

by futurecheck

.Media LAB

LAB on MEDIA and Human Experience
An immersed experience of a Do-Tank

May 29 & 30, 2007
Location: Girona, Spain
Max. 20 Delegates
Early Bird registration till March 16, 2007

Please use our
Media LAB Registration at

Moderated by Humberto Schwab, Director, Club of Amsterdam, Innovation Philosopher. With the Thought Leaders
Laurence Desarzens, urban communicator,, Paul F.M.J. Verschure, ICREA research professor, Technology Department, University Pompeu Fabra, Ricardo Baeza-Yates, Director, Yahoo! Research, Rudy de Waele, Founder,

.The Future of the Web

Q&A with Ricardo Baeza-Yates, Director and Roelof Van Zwol, Senior Researcher, Yahoo! Research Barcelona

Ricardo is a Thought Leader in the

LAB on MEDIA and Human Experience
An immersed experience of a Do-Tank
May 29 & 30, 2007
Location: Girona near Barcelona, Spain

Club of Amsterdam: Ricardo and Roelof - the Internet is constantly changing and offering new possibilities like Web 2.0. Social networks will benefit from these new features. Can you give us an idea how human interaction will improve?

Social networks will allows for direct communication with users with similar backgrounds, or interests, or with experts in a certain area.For example, inside Yahoo! we use a social network tool that is the perfect example, where given a few keywords, the experts in any topic like "social media" can instantly be found. It uses not only the self-descriptive tags provided by a user, but also the tags that other people used to tag fellow colleagues. We are using it on a regular basis, and it is especially useful for checking one's background, or for finding the person with the right expertise within the Yahoo! company, within seconds. Thus at a professional level it already improves the efficiency. When it comes to social networks on the Web, it also allows for the formation of large online communities that share common interests, and allow a user to share, and acquire knowledge. One recent development in the area of social networks, called second life, allows users and companies to start a new and perhaps more exciting life on the Internet.

Club of Amsterdam: Knowledge is essential for further development and innovation. Collaborative media will give us a world of new opportunities. Can you describe a future scenario?

The second life example already gives you a hint of where the "Future of the Web" will go. Last year, Yahoo! Research has organized a workshop under this title in Barcelona focused in Web Search, when the lab was opened. One future scenario will be that you are commuting to work, and would like to know which route to take, in order to avoid traffic jams, or that it might be better to work form home, due to expected traffic in the evening. You ask this question, and instantaneously receive audiovisual information from either validated sources, like traffic cameras, or from other commuters that have found themselves stuck in a traffic jam.

Club of Amsterdam: What are new developments in social media?

We already see that the dialog between users and media allows for new forms of interaction between users and their computers. Flickr, the Yahoo! photo sharing site, allows users to upload, and tag their photos online for sharing with their friends or to directly show them to a large community. When another user is exploring the Flickr photo database, he or she can provide additional tags, a photo rating, or give comments on the image. This allows for the retrieval of high quality and interesting photos at a scale that was not envisioned possible before. Currently, the Flickr site contains hundreds of millions of photos that are hand tagged by users, while the current state of the art in content-based image retrieval (CBIR) is not yet ready to handle this scale. This does not mean that existing research in this area has become obsolete. On the contrary, the combination ofCBIR with social media should allow for even better sharing and retrieval services in the future.

New forms of media are appearing on a daily basis, and it is next to impossible to track all the new developments in this area. It is however sure that the online presence of users will increase and that the role of media in this perspective is significant. It will allow for direct interactive communication through rich media channels in a fast changing world.

Thank you Ricardo and Roelof!

.Shop of the Future

Adidas "mi Innovation Center"

As the number one sports brand in Europe and the leading brand in football, tennis and all sports apparel categories, athletes will find what they need for their training needs and everything in between.

Designed as more than a sports store, the adidas Sport Performance store will further demonstrate adidas’ rich tradition in innovation by launching the first Mi Innovation Center, featuring a high-tech customization process that gives consumers the same treatment as elite level athletes, providing them foot scanning analysis, an "experienced personal partner" recommendation based on their fit and performance needs and customization options allowing them to design and personalize their footwear based on their personal style. The center will feature industry leading technologies, which adidas helped create, including a gesture navigated design and virtual mirror. The brand expects to welcome more than 150,000 visitors before the end of the year, including 70% tourists. This new Parisian space will regularly feature the French and international athletes who are adidas ambassadors.

"The brand’s approach to wholly owned stores is complementary to the usual distribution network (specialised stores). The exhaustive offer at this adidas Store will allow consumers to discover the breadth of our ranges and share a real brand experience." Adds André Maestrini Chief Executive adidas France.


Tickets for Seasons Events: € 30, 20 [discount] or 10 [students]

Our Season Events for 2006/2007 are on

the future of Global Workplace
March 29, 2007, 18:30 - 21:15

the future of Success
April 26, 2007, 18:30 - 21:15

the future of Tourism
May 31, 2007, 18:30 - 21:15

Taste of Diversity
June 28, 2007, 18:30 - 21:15

LABs in Girona near Barcelona, Spain, moderated by Humberto Schwab:

LAB on Old and New ENERGY
April 17 & 18, 2007
Please use the Energy LAB Registration

LAB on MEDIA and Human Experience
May 29 & 30, 2007
Please use the Media LAB Registration


.Club of Amsterdam Open Business Club

Club of Amsterdam Open Business Club
Are you interested in networking, sharing visions, ideas about your future, the future of your industry, society, discussing issues, which are relevant for yourself as well as for the 'global' community? The future starts now - join our online platform ...:

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