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University of Exeter Business School

Principles of International Business

Module titlePrinciples of International Business
Module codeBEMM116
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Himadree Phookan (Lecturer)

Ms Melody Jombe ()

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


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.


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 you a global awareness. Mini-case studies and discussion of selected cases further expose you 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 gain an understanding of what it means to internationalise a business, and through the assignments you acquire research, critical thinking, analysis and report writing skills. It provides the opportunity to develop discursive, analytical, and judgement skills, and a cosmopolitan perspective.

Module aims - intentions of the module

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.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 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

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 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

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

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

Syllabus plan

Whilst the precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover all or some of the following topics:

  • 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

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 exam 3030 minutes1-3Automated feedback (delivered via ELE)
Written exam7090 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 exam Multiple choice exam (30 minutes, 30%)1-3Referral/deferral period
Written exam Written exam (90 minutes, 70%)1-6Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e., a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

You 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.

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.

Indicative learning resources - Other resources


Key words search

International Business, Globalisation, Born Global, Multinationals

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date