International Business Environment

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Module specification

Code: PGBM04
Credits: 15
Level: Masters
FBL, Business School
Board: Postgraduate Business Studies
Learning Hours: 150 of which 30 CONTACT hours


1. The international business environment is multi-dimensional, including economic, political, socio-cultural and technological influences. While each can be viewed in specific national settings, increasingly they have become interrelated through processes of globalisation. In particular, the role of transnational corporations has been a key to the deepening interrelationships across national borders. Yet, globalisation has not led to convergence. Considerable diversity between nations and regions continues to shape the business environment globally. For the international manager, an understanding of global forces, as well as more local/regional differences is crucial to strategy formulation in a rapidly changing environment.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the module participants will be able to:


1. Critically review and apply concepts, terminology & theoretical models associated with international business policies and strategies.

2. Demonstrate understanding of the political, socio-cultural, economic and technological factors that have been found to influence variations in international organisational business structures and management styles

3. Critically assess the relationship between national and organisational cultures

4. Relate conceptual theory of ‘internationalisation’, innovation and competitive advantage to different industries and locations


1. Demonstrate in a (small group), ability to apply relevant behavioural concepts to real-world scenarios/organisations, and participate in/lead discussion on related dilemmas or issues.

2. As an individual apply relevant theoretical concepts to real-world business (environment) dilemmas or issues, producing a diagnosis and suggesting possible outcomes.


This module examines aspects of the key concept of strategic management within an international business context. It begins by introducing and understanding of corporate strategy as it relates trans- national corporations as players in an increasing global environment. The impact of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and actions of global players as they seek to identify competitive advantage is considered. As the role cultural differences play in determining the success/failure of a company within the global context activity, the applied research results of Hofstede are explored. Growth of the global marketplace has been accompanied by national and international regulations governing the openness of trade. Thus trade agreements, e.g. under the banner of WTO, are examined as well as the issues which link this to the “hyperglobalisation” thesis. A distinction is made between those companies operating in market, state and transitional economies. The impact of the growth of technology in general and communication technology in particular are explored. The role played by the international financial environment in influencing international business is also reviewed.


Concepts of Business Organisation; Strategy; Marketing Orientation; Corporate Governance

Globalisation and FDI:
Globalisation-different perspectives; Internationalisation v. Globalisation;

Dunning’s OLI paradigm and applications to impact on MNE and FDI activity. Porter’s Competitive advantage model (see also below)

Definitions. Importance of Impact of Cultural Differences on Business; Research by G. Hofstede/ F. Trompenaars’ dimensions of National Culture. Application, importance of understanding concept of Guanxi, for international partners to Chinese businesses.

Political Environment:
National International forces + also to linked to International...
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