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. Trade theories are studied to understand the reasons for trade, and consideration is given to why governments engage in trade restrictions which complicates the operations of international business.

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.
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:2014/5
Module lecturers:
  • Ms Julie Whittaker - 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 student awareness of trends in the international business environment and the opportunities and challenges internationalisation brings. It will develop 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 around the globe.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. understand the complex interactions between various political, economic and cultural factors that characterise the international business environment
  • 2. appreciate the specific ways in which international business differs from domestic business and develop detailed knowledge on international business issues
  • 3. understand and 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. independently analyse concepts and information for critical thought, and realize their relevance for practice
  • 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 hours20Lectures

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Student Presentations in Tutorials20 minutes presentation relating to an academic reading, which has some bearing on the written assignment1-7Generic feedback on ELE
Online Multiple Choice Tests20 questions per week1-4Automated 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 exam 5040 questions, 1 hour1-4Correct answers provided on ELE
Assignment. The assignment can completed by either (a) A student working alone (b) 2 students working as a pair 50Analysis of a case study applying skills and knowledge developed within the module. 1600 - 2000 words if completed individually, and 2000-2500 if completed as a pair 1-6Individual written feedback and generic feedback on 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 examMultiple Choice exam (50%)1-4August
AssignmentCase Study Examination (50%)1-6August

Re-assessment notes

Two assessments are required for this module which are of equal weighting. If you are referred/deferred in the module, you will be given the option of taking either of or both of the assessments.

Syllabus plan

  • Introduction to international business
  • Formal institutions – economic, political & legal  systems
  • Informal institutions – culture and ethics
  • Trade:  theory and practice
  • Starting an international business
  • Investing abroad directly
  • The make or buy decision
  • Foreign market entry decisions
  • Structure & organising of international business
  • Competitive Dynamics
  • Exchange Rates


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:
Students are expected to own a copy of the core text:
Peng, M. and Meyer, K.(2011) 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:
Journal of  International Business Studies
International Business Review
Journal of World Business
Strategic Management Journal
Thunderbird International Review
However, 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 other quality financial newspapers.

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