1. the management of an organisation’s production or marketinterests in other countries by either local or expatriate staff
2. the management of a multinational business, made up of formerlyindependent organisations
3. the particular type of skills, knowledge and understanding needed by managers who are in charge of operations that involve people from different countries and cultures
International managers face intense and constant challenges that require training and understanding of the foreign environment. Managing a business in a foreign country requires managers to deal with a large variety of cultural and environmental differences. As a result, international managers must continually monitor the political, legal, sociocultural, economic, and technological environments.
The political environment
The political environment can foster or hinder economic developments and direct investments. This environment is ever-changing. As examples, the political and economic philosophies of a nation's leader may change overnight. The stability of a nation's government, which frequently rests on the support of the people, can be very volatile. Various citizen groups with vested interests can undermine investment operations and opportunities. And local governments may view foreign firms suspiciously.
Political considerations are seldom written down and often change rapidly. For example, to protest Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, many world governments levied economic sanctions against the import of Iraqi oil. Political considerations affect international business daily as governments enact tariffs (taxes), quotas(annual limits), embargoes (blockages), and other types of restriction in response to political events.
Businesses engaged in international trade must consider the relative instability of countries such as Iraq, South Africa, and Honduras. Political unrest in countries such as Peru, Haiti, Somalia, and the countries of the former Soviet Union may create hostile or even dangerous environments for foreign businesses. In Russia, for example, foreign managers often need to hire bodyguards; sixteen foreign businesspeople were murdered there in 1993. Civil war, as in Chechnya and Bosnia, may disrupt business activities and place lives in danger. And a sudden change in power can result in a regime that is hostile to foreign investment; some businesses may be forced out of a country altogether. Whether they like it or not, companies are often involved directly or indirectly in international politics.
The legal enviroment
The American federal government has put forth a number of laws that regulate the activities of U.S. firms engaged in international trade. However, once outside U.S. borders, American organizations are likely to find that the laws of the other nations differ from those of the U.S. Many legal rights that Americans take for granted do not exist in other countries; a U.S. firm doing business abroad must understand and obey the laws of the host country.
In the U.S., the acceptance of bribes or payoffs is illegal; in other countries, the acceptance of bribes or payoffs may not be illegal—they may be considered a common business practice. In addition, some countries have copyright and patent laws that are less strict than those in the U.S., and some countries fail to honor these laws. China, for example, has recently been threatened with severe trade sanctions because of a history of allowing American goods to be copied or counterfeited there. As a result, businesses engaging in international trade may need to take extra steps to protect their products because local laws may be insufficient to protect them.
The economic environment
Managers must monitor currency, infrastructure, inflation, interest rates, wages, and taxation. In assessing the economic environment in foreign...