Principles of International Business

Module description


Business is international in scope as managers take advantage of the comparative advantages countries around the world offer through complex and geographic dispersed value chains, not only to sell products but also to access inputs, knowledge and skills. This module, built around a live, practical project addresses several questions. ‘How can a domestic firm internationalise its operations?’ ‘How are its resources and capabilities challenged and transformed by internationalisation?’ ‘What factors determine the success of an international business operation?’ While many practical examples are provided, focus is given to developing an analytical approach to addressing these questions, drawing on two perspectives. These are the Resource Based View, which focuses on the resources and capabilities of the firm and the Institution Based View which requires studying the differences in the business environment around the globe, to which successful companies need to adapt. The module considers political, economic and cultural difference and the strategies companies adopt when conducting business across national boundaries. Through the group project, students analyse the internationalisation of a real life organisation, identifying the purpose of internationalisation, selecting the most appropriate target market and considering the various means available to the firm to internationalise its operations. Topical issues in international business are also discussed, such as the impact of Brexit on the trading relationship of the UK, the re-emergence of emerging market MNEs, ‘born global’ firms and the fourth industrial revolution.

Additional Information:


This module focuses on how companies conduct business across borders and explores various economic systems, cultural differences in different economies, and discusses issues from around the world to give students a global awareness. Mini-case studies and discussion of selected cases further expose students to conducting business in an international and multicultural context by drawing upon real-world scenarios across different countries and cultural boundaries.

External engagement

International experts/practitioners on topics relevant to the module will be invited to deliver in-module contributions.


As part of the University’s commitment to PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education -, examples are disseminated throughout the module that illustrate both the impact of business activity on the environment, and how some companies are addressing sustainability concerns through their products and processes.


In this module students gain an understanding of what it means to internationalise a business, and through the group project students acquire research, critical thinking, analysis and report writing skills. It provides the opportunity to develop discursive, analytical, and judgement skills, and a cosmopolitan perspective.

Full module specification

Module title:Principles of International Business
Module code:BEMM116
Module level:M
Academic year:2018/9
Module lecturers:
  • Morgen Witzel -
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:


Module aims

The aim of this module is to provide an understanding of the internationalisation process firms undertake while selecting and targeting opportunities overseas. The module will develop your awareness of trends in the international business environment and the opportunities and challenges internationalisation brings.

It will develop your knowledge of where, why and how to conduct international business in order to gain an understanding of what determines the success and failure of firms conducting international business. Through the group project, the module will develop your skills in critical analysis and evaluation to enable you to make business decisions and convince others of your viewpoint.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Assess your understanding of the complex interactions between various political, economic and cultural factors that characterise the international business environment
  • 2. Evaluate the specific ways in which international business differs from domestic business and develop detailed knowledge on international business issues
  • 3. Apply both the institution-based and resource-based view of the firm to international business case studies

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Apply theoretical principles to critically analyse the current business environment
  • 5. Evaluate relevant factors to make effective business decisions

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Through the group project and case studies, analyse real world business problems and develop an ability to exercise judgement
  • 7. Work within a team to analyse the internationalisation process of a real life organisation and critically evaluate the benefits and assess the most suitable means of internationalisation

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities2211 x 2 hour lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities11 x 1 hour meeting scheduled with team and faculty to receive formative feedback on group project
Guided Independent Study127

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Online MCQ in week 320 questions, 10 minutes1-3Automated feedback
Meeting with faculty ahead of submission of assessed coursework (group-based)1 hour1-7Oral feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Coursework: written assignment to be completed by a group of 5 students705,000 words1-7Written feedback
4 x Online multiple choice tests in weeks 4, 6, 7, 93010 minutes (20 questions each)1-3Automated feedback (ELE)

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Coursework: written assignment2,000 word essay (70%)1-7August examination period
Online Multiple Choice testsMultiple Choice test (30%)1-3August examination period

Re-assessment notes

Students are asked to re-sit only the element that they are referred or deferred. 

Syllabus plan

  • Introduction to International Business
  • Regionalisation and globalisation and the Brexit debate
  • Institutions in International Business
  • Firm Resources: Competitiveness and Growth and Competitive Dynamics
  • The Internationalisation process and ‘born global’ firms
  • Foreign Entry Strategies
  • The re-emergence of Emerging Market MNEs
  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Future of the MNE

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

Students are expected to own a copy of the core text:

Peng, M. and Meyer, K. (2016) International Business, London: Cengage Learning.

There are many text books on international business in the University Library which can provide additional insights and examples of international business operations.

Relevant journals include (non-exhaustive list):

Journal of International Business Studies

International Business Review

Journal of World Business

Strategic Management Journal

Management and Organization Review

Thunderbird International Review

Journal of International Management

International Management Review

International Studies of Management & Organization

International Journal of Cross-Cultural Management

Cross-Cultural & Strategic Management

Harvard Business Review

Academy of Management Journal

Academy of Management Review

Academy of Management Perspectives

Critical Perspectives on international business

In addition, papers on the international dimension of business can be found in other business and management journals.

Good analysis of contemporary events affecting international business can be found in The Economist (available online) andquality financial newspapers such as the Financial Times.


Web based and electronic resources: The module has a fully developed site on ELE where an extensive array of module materials can be found including lecture outlines, suggested reading on a per topic basis, and relevant journal articles, plus multiple choice tests for formative assessment.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

The module has a fully developed site on ELE where an extensive array of module materials can be found including lecture outlines, suggested reading on a per topic basis, and relevant journal articles, plus multiple choice tests for formative assessment.

Origin date


Last revision date