Photo of Howard V. Perlmutter

Dr. Howard V. Perlmutter, is a world authority and pioneer on the globalization of firms and other institutions. He is an internationally recognized teacher, scholar, advisor to corporations, cities and governments, and universities. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (Tau Beta Pi) from M.I.T., an Honorary Master's Degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in Social Psychology.

He assumed his professorial post at Wharton in 1969, and served as Secretary of the Faculty of Wharton School. Currently he is an Emeritus Professor and Director of the Emerging Global Civilization project, where he teaches one course and conducts research on different aspects of our First Global Civilization and its implications for the transition to transformation of international organizations, including the UN, national governments, religious institutions, enterprises, cities and global leadership.

His paper The Multinational Firm and the Future, published in the Annals of Political and Social Science in 1972 accurately forecast the evolution of the viability and legitimacy issues for MNCs. In 1998-1999, the Financial Times published a four article series by Prof. Perlmutter on the MNC in the Emerging Global Civilization which drew up a scenario for the next thirty years which received world wide attention and the need to develop a Global Civilization Mindset and Missing institutions and Networks to meet increasingly global challenges which range from those which are ecological such as renewable energy, ethnic and religious conflict, global terrorism with Weapons of Mass Destruction, and issues of Global regulation. A new version of this work on the Multinational Corporation is called The Tortuous Evolution of the Globally Civilized Enterprise in the 21st Century.

At Wharton, he led the internationalization process as Chairman of the Multinational Enterprise Unit and Founder-Director of the Worldwide Institutions Research Center. During this time with his colleague, the late Eric Trist, he formulated his vision the Social Architecture of the Global Societal enterprise, based on this paradigm for organizations in the 21st Century, now being applied to many other international organizations, nations and cities.

At Wharton, he introduced research and teaching on the global social architecture of the multinational enterprise, multinational organization development, global strategic alliances, global cities, and the globalization of education, in a course called Cross cultural management in the context of the First Global Civilization.

In executive education, he acted as Academic Advisor for Wharton's Advanced Management Programs for thirteen years, a program where globalization was a central theme and which brought senior executives from countries around the world. He was also Director of the Wharton- Samsung Advanced Management Program, and Wharton's Senior Management programs for Wharton in Beijing and Shanghai, China and Taiwan. Over his career, he has been involved in advisory roles and in executive education with over 100 multinational corporations based around the world, including IBM, GE, GTE, Whirlpool, Woodside Travel Trust, KPMG Peat Marwick, JP Morgan, Unilever, Nokia, and SKF.

He has served in professorial, lecturing and research posts in many countries. As a Fulbright Scholar at the Sorbonne, University of Paris, he introduced the study of group dynamics. Later, he served as Project Director of the International Communications Program at MIT's Center for International Studies. Other research and teaching areas and roles include Visiting Professor at the Stockholm School of Economics where he helped guide The Futures of Sweden study, and Professor at IMD in Switzerland where he pioneered Global Leadership learning through (PMF) Personal and Managerial Feedback Groups.

At Wharton, he has frequently won outstanding teacher awards among the tenured professors including the David W. Hauck Award and most recently, in 2003, the Whitney Award. In 2003 he was also made an Honorary Member of the Golden Key International Honor Society. In the field of international management, he has published numerous articles most recently on Deep Dialog and the Futures of China. His books include the Theory and Practice of Social Architecture, (also in Spanish), The Muffled Quadrilogue: Technology Transfer to Developing Countries (2 volumes), and Multinational Organizational Development (also in Japanese) with David Heenan.

His work on cities extended to Paris as a 21st century world city, written under the auspices of the French Government, published as Paris: Ville Internationale. He also wrote the plans for Philadelphia as an International City. He has acted as an advisor to other cities on the globalization processes in Asia and Western Europe. His current research on global cities is on "Building the Global Virtual City for the 21st Century."

He has also been advisor to U.S., Canadian governmental agencies, the World Health Organization, the League of Red Cross Societies in Geneva, and advisor to the Finnish government on the Futures of Finland studies.

He has also served as a keynote speaker and lecturer in international programs and conferences in Asia, North and South America, Central and Western Europe. He participated in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on three occasions, twice as a keynote speaker.

He has held board or advisory positions in Alfa Laval and Pharmacia in Sweden. He currently is an active member of the Board of Directors of the Global Interdependence Center in Philadelphia and on the International Advisory Boards of R post (registered E-mail) and Itradefinance, as well as on the editorial board of The Multinational Business Review.

He has been listed Who's Who in the World. He is a Fellow of the Academy of International Business, and the Academy of International Management and a Commissioner on Globalization in the State of the World Forum led by Mikhail Gorbachev.

He is currently preparing a book tentatively entitled First or Last Global Civilization? The Race, in which he presents some alternatives to plausible current Apocalyptic scenarios with his theory of Symbiotic Societal Paradigms, Collaborative Social Architecture and Deep Dialog to critical 21st century Global Civilization Building Challenges. See a partial review of his research on Deep Dialog in Knowledge @Wharton entitled Dialog or Death? under Strategic Management or in Optimize magazine entitled Digging beneath Deep Dialog. Also, see the website.

In addition, he has exhibited his paintings on three occasions at the Burrison Gallery at Penn and has published one book of poetry An Indefinite Reprieve with another two: Visions of Ithaka and Not Quite Haiku forthcoming in 2004.


Howard Perlmutter passed away on November 8, 2011.

Last Updated: October 2004

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