The International Business Environment

The details
Essex Business School
Southend Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
17 January 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MSC N12012 International Business and Entrepreneurship,
MSC N120MO International Business and Entrepreneurship,
MPHDN10348 Business Administration,
PHD N10348 Business Administration,
MPHDN10448 Entrepreneurship,
PHD N10448 Entrepreneurship,
MPHDN20448 Management Studies,
PHD N20448 Management Studies

Module description

This module is designed to provide students with an advanced understanding of the external context within which international businesses operate and the opportunities and challenges it poses to firms. The students will develop an understanding of the main forces that have increased the economic interdependence between nations and enable them to take a wider perspective to answer the question.

The module also introduces to students some basic economic and political concepts and applies these to the study of the international economic environment- in a historical and contemporary context. We are witnessing a retreat from globalisation in recent times which makes such an approach very salient. The module will draw on the current debates and fears surrounding Brexit inasmuch as they are related to the effects of international economic environment on UK industry.

Module aims

The main aim of the module is to enable students to obtain a thorough and critical understanding of the complex process of international business activity ad the different ways large and small firms manage the process of change associated with internationalisation.

The module also aims to develop the students understanding of the international environment through:

1. The understanding and use of basic economic concepts such as comparative advantage and technological change and appreciate their role in creating economic interdependence

2. The understanding of political concepts of group power, bargaining and negotiation and their role in extending globalisation

3. To understand the evolution of the international environment in a historical perspective

4. To understand contemporary economic systems and their effect on organisation and internationalisation

5. To understand factors that may spur a retreat from globalisation

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to develop a critical understanding of:

1. The difference between economic integration and globalisation

2. Role of technological changes and economic factors in providing the impetus to increasing economic interdependence

3. How international environments and domestic political configurations have created different varieties of capitalism

4. The relationship between institutions and organisations

5. The limits to economic integration

6. The “Brexit” phenomenon and its effects

Module information

Theoretical and Conceptual Issues

Entrepreneurship in the international business environment
International trade theories and practices
The economics of international business; economic trends and transformations
Cultural sensitivities and management styles

Strategic and Operational Issues
International financial markets and sources of capital for entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurship in developing and transition economies
The impact of global (e.g. UN, WTO) and regional institutions (e.g. EU, NAFTA) on international businesses
Trade laws and security issues for traditional and non-traditional (e.g. entrepreneurial firms, online businesses)
The technological environment
Global flows of ideas, knowledge, resources and people

Learning and teaching methods

The following learning and teaching methods will be used to inform the pedagogic structure of the course: Lectures; Seminars; Discussion of case studies; Discussion of journal articles; Class exercises; Group work; Tutorials; Signposting to other support. The lectures will be developed around the key concepts as mentioned in the indicative course content and will use a range of live examples and cases from business practice to demonstrate the application of theoretical concepts. The seminars will focus extensively on business case studies and selected journal articles. Cases are sourced primarily from the European Case Clearing House (ECCH) and Harvard Business Cases to encourage students to analyse international business environment in different business contexts and develop strategic approaches in response to the case requirements. The class exercise will be combined with group work to provide students with the opportunity to develop critical and practical problem skills. The tutorials will aim to provide support to the students in the form of identifying barriers to learning and finding solutions, providing guidance for preparing coursework, tracking progress through the use of worksheets and mopping up any other student-centred learning issues that may arise.


  • Guy, Frederick. (2009) The global environment of business, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Individual Essay 1  30/11/2020  50% 
Coursework   Individual Essay 2  25/01/2021  50% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Suma Athreye, email:
Professor Suma Athreye



External examiner

Dr Ping Zheng
Canterbury Christ Church University
Available via Moodle
Of 25 hours, 25 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Essex Business School

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