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Kent Chemical: Organizing for International Growth

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Discuss the problems faced as Luis Morales began implementing Ben Fisher’s international expansion strategy.
Kent’s overseas operations had traditionally been viewed as a source of incremental sales through exports, licensing agreements, and JVs. Ben Fisher aimed to change that in 1998, focusing on a more strategic approach to global expansion. This renewed focus on international growth was done with the hopes of redefining Kent as a US company developing, manufacturing, and selling products worldwide.
Ben Fisher identified Luis Morales as the individual who could lead the revitalized international division in an effort to implement Fisher’s vision of a global integrated company. This transition presented new problems, the first of which was the regional directors’ post-acquisition task of coordinating activities and integrating options. Offshore entities had a history of being competitive, and refused to cooperate or coordinate activities resulting in subsidiaries of Kent exporting into each other markets. When consolidating these redundancies, it became evident to Morales that the local knowledge of individual markets provided a significant road block.
Causing strains, new systems developed to streamline operations and consolidate financial reports resulted in staff members to second-guess local country managers. Once again reinforcing the lack of local market knowledge, local managers felt that financial targets were out of touch, and this sentiment was proven accurate as country managers were often right.
Overseas subsidiaries had a history of independence leading managers to protect their own individual interests. These attitudes lead to the block of technology transfers, and were indicative of larger issues between geographic and product organizations. Even with the new international division, the regional organizations struggled under the…...

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