Principles of International Business

Module description


Business is increasingly international in scope as managers take advantage of greater access to foreign markets, not only to sell products, but also to access inputs, knowledge and skills. This module addresses several questions. ‘How does becoming an international business change a company that previously operated only in the home market?’ ‘How are its resources and capabilities challenged and transformed by internationalisation?’ ‘What factors determine an international business is successful?’ 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.  Topical issues in international business are also discussed, such as the Brexit debate, the rise of emerging market MNEs and '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 in-class discussion of self-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 a guest lecture.


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 operate an international business, as opposed to a domestic business. 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:2017/8
Module lecturers:
  • Professor Nicolas Forsans - Convenor
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 international dimensions of business. It 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. Furthermore, it will develop your skills in critical analysis and critical evaluation to enable you to make business decisions and convince others of your viewpoint.  

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. illustrate your understanding of the complex interactions between various political, economic and cultural factors that characterise the international business environment;
  • 2. account for 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 medium of case studies analyse real world business problems and develop an ability to exercise judgement;
  • 7. work within a team to analyse and present material in tutorials;

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
Contact Hours23Lectures
Contact Hours4Tutorials (2-hour seminars)

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Online Multiple Choice Tests10 questions per week1-3Automated feedback
In-class Presentations ahead of submission of assessed courseworkOral 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 3-4 students805,000 words1-7Written feedback to the group (ELE)
Online multiple choice test201 hour (40 questions)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 report on group1-7August examination period
Online Multiple Choice testMultiple Choice test (20%)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 and Globalisation
  • Regionalisation, globalisation and the Brexit debate
  • Formal institutions – economic, political & legal systems
  • Informal institutions – culture, religion and languages
  • Firm Resources: Competitiveness and Grown & Competitive Dynamics
  • The Internationalisation process
  • Foreign Entry Strategies
  • Emerging Market MNEs
  • ‘Born Global’ Firms
  • Globalisation and Socially Responsible Businesses
  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution

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) and quality 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