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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 provides the theoretical foundations of international business and its practical applications in explaining the dynamics and constraints of firms’ international strategies. It analyses changes in the international economic environment as a result of globalization as well as the increased interdependence between countries and firms in terms of flows of goods, services, finances and people. The module considers also political, economic and institutional differences around the world and the strategies companies adopt when conducting business across national boundaries. While many practical examples are provided, focus is given to developing an analytical approach to addressing these questions, drawing on several theoretical perspectives.


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 assignments 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:2023/4
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Suman Saha - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:


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 along. 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 assignments, the module will develop your skills in critical analysis and evaluation to enable you to make business decisions in an international setting and identify some of the key challenges faced by managers of multinational firms.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. develop your understanding of the complex interactions between various political, economic and institutional factors that characterise the international business environment;
  • 2. evaluate 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 issues

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. apply theoretical principles to critically analyse the current business environment;
  • 5. critically evaluate relevant factors to make effective business decisions.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. analyse real world business problems and develop an ability to exercise judgement.

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 Activities1111 x 1 hour lectures
Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities55 x 1 hour seminars
Guided Independent Study134Pre and post session reading plus assignment preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Sample MCQ questions30 minutes1-3Automated feedback
Seminar discussion exercises5 x 1 hour1-6Verbal 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
Multiple choice test (Online, ELE)3030 minutes1-3Automated feedback (delivered via ELE)
Written exam (In class, F2F)7090 minutes1-6Written feedback (script); generic exam feedback (ELE)

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Multiple choice testOnline multiple choice test (30 minutes, 30%)1-3August reassessment period
Written exam (In class, F2F)Written exam (90 minutes, 70%)1-6August reassessment period

Re-assessment notes

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

Syllabus plan

Indicative Content:

  • Introduction to International Business
  • Globalization
  • Institutions and Firm Resources
  • Trade theories
  • Foreign direct investment (FDI) theories
  • Regionalisation and Global Integration
  • Foreign Exchange and Political Risks
  • Corruption and Taxation
  • Entry-Mode Strategies

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