The Glocal Approach in Business Is Applying Practical Intelligence in the Real World


What is Practical Intelligence, Why Is It Important, and How It Works in the Real World

The world admires Street Smart tinkerers and Go Getters who get “things done”. For instance, how many times haven’t been in awe of the Fixers and the Technicians, who with little formal education manage to repair mechanical and electrical devices as well as help in getting our work done in the governmental departments and other such everyday necessities.

Moreover, how many times haven’t we admired the Rags to Riches stories of businesspersons and stock brokers, who having barely graduated, managed to reach the pinnacle in their respective fields, just due to the so-called Practical Intelligence?

While there are many definitions of this term called Practical Intelligence, the most apt one would be that it is “ability to improvise, adapt, and adjust to the ground realities depending on the situation that exists in the last mile delivery of goods and services”.

In other words, practical intelligence is the application of mind power and mind space to the situational necessities and the ground realities in a manner that achieves the objective.

As we shall explain, the Glocal Approach is an example of Practical Intelligence in situations that arise locally.

What is the Glocal Approach? How is it Related to Practical Intelligence?

Let us first define what Glocalization or the Glocal Approach entails. To start with, Glocal means Global Thinking and Local Action, which taken together, combine the words Global and Local to form Glocal.

This term was coined by the famous expert on globalization, Thomas Friedman, who during the course of his research into how globalization works in the Third World and who during the times when he did Field Research, by travelling to Asian countries such as India, found that by adopting a Local approach and adjusting the Global Thinking to ground realities, one could indeed prosper and make others prosper.

For instance, the Blue Chip Multinational firm, Unilever, which is an FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) company, is known to improvise according to the local conditions.

Right from its Delivery Trucks to the High Level Marketing staff, all of them are vigorously looking for ways and means to cater to the Third World consumers, without diluting the Global Brand Equity, and at the same time, adjusting to local conditions.

Another example is that of the leading global Fast Food giant, McDonald’s, which has incorporated local menus into its global cuisine offerings, such as McMaharaja and McTikka in Indian outlets.

What is Jugaad, How it can be used, and why the Pandemic Has Made it Critical

More than ever, the Covid 19 Pandemic has made it imperative for Global Firms to adjust and adapt to ground realities.

No longer can Multinationals exist in Ivory Towers and it is only by completely going local that they would be in a position to serve their consumers better.

Moreover, the concept of Jugaad, which is a Hindi term for coordinating and getting things done by pure practical intelligence, is now being embraced by marketing enthusiasts, who see its value in getting the work done in Street Smart ways.

Of course, Jugaad does not work in all situations and yet, it can be quite spectacular in its ability to address purely situational aspects.

For instance, have you ever noticed that when there are Power Cuts, the ability of the On the Ground Staff of the Power Distribution Firms, to quickly assess the damage, and then using whatever means they have at their disposal, try and repair the damage?

This is Practical Intelligence at its best as most of these staff are barely literate and yet, manage to fix the problem using Human Ingenuity and Quick Thinking.

So, Jugaad works when we need to think on Our Feet and Solve Problems.

Limitations of Practical Intelligence, Value Chain Imperatives, and Ground Realities

Having said that, there are limits to Practical Intelligence, beyond the situational uses. For instance, most Multinational Firms have established procedures and processes that have to be followed for solving operational problems.

In recent months, we had to get our Monitor fixed and Jugaad did not help that much in getting it repaired.

However, it worked when we replaced the Monitor with a new piece and on the other hand, we are still waiting for the company technicians to repair the old Monitor, as it is covered under Warranty.

What this real world example shows is that Firms would need to train their ground level staff in aspects of Practical Intelligence, whereas the higher up technicians and support personnel would still need to follow Global Norms.

In other words, Practical Intelligence works great when the Last Mile Support has to be provided, and yet, once we move up the Value Chain, global firms and their standardized processes have to be followed.

Of course, while this is very much the case everywhere, the Pandemic has made Practical Intelligence that much more valuable and critical and hence, it is our guess that going forward, all global firms would also realize its importance.

Business Schools Should Focus on Practical Intelligence

Last, management is all about learning and improvising based on real world experience. Marketing Gurus such as Philip Kotler have long emphasized how important it is for professionals to have Field Experience.

We have known several Management Grads who spent time in the field before they were assigned work in Glitzy Offices.

So, Practical Intelligence should very much be part of Business School Courses and it is our recommendation that like Engineers who are required to work on the Shop Floor, B School grads too must be placed in the Field first.

To conclude, Practical Intelligence is here to stay.


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Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)

The article is Written By “Prachi Juneja” and Reviewed By Management Study Guide Content Team. MSG Content Team comprises experienced Faculty Member, Professionals and Subject Matter Experts. We are a ISO 2001:2015 Certified Education Provider. To Know more, click on About Us. The use of this material is free for learning and education purpose. Please reference authorship of content used, including link(s) to ManagementStudyGuide.com and the content page url.


Globalization