In geographical terms, Balkanization is the operation of a region separating from its main entity. The same word used in the corporate environment signifies smaller companies defecting from its main source to operate independently. Balkanization is used in the political realm to describe parties other than the Republican and Democratic party. It is often given a negative connotation; the products of Balkanization are often viewed as hostile and ineffectual.
Balkanization as a term comes from the monumental separation of Europe’s Balkan peninsula after becoming controlled by the Ottoman Empire in the 1950s and 1960s. It was used soon after to refer to Austro-Hungarian Empire as well as the Russian Empire, but the greatest incident of Balkanization is considered the Soviet Union collapse and the fragmentation of Yugoslavia. While geographical Balkanization is often used in a negative way, there have been attempts deemed successful mainly in Europe.
The rise of independent corporate entities separating from bigger corporations have also earned the term of Balkanization. While looked at in distaste by major corporations, the act of Balkanization is often applauded by business owners seeking independence as well as a consumer with aversion to big businesses. There is a moderate to high success rate of companies involved in corporate Balkanization.