internation business, Degree thesis for International Business. Valley View University

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Saylor URL: 1

This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without

attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

Saylor URL: 2

Organization The overarching logic of the book is intuitive—organized around answers to the what, where, why, and

how of international business.

WHAT? Section one introduces what is international business and who has an interest in it. Students will

sift through the globalization debate and understanding the impact of ethics on global businesses.

Additionally, students will explore the evolution of international trade from past to present, with a focus

on how firms and professionals can better understand today’s complex global business arena by

understanding the impact of political and legal factors. The section concludes with a chapter on

understanding how cultures are defined and the impact on business interactions and practices with

tangible tips for negotiating across cultures.

WHERE? Section two develops student knowledge about key facets of the global business environment

and the key elements of trade and cooperation between nations and global organizations. Today, with

increasing numbers of companies of all sizes operating internationally, no business or country can remain

an island. Rather, the interconnections between countries, businesses, and institutions are inextricable.

Even how we define the world is changing. No longer classified into simple and neat categories, the rapid

changes within countries are redefining how global businesses think about developed, developing, and

emerging markets. This section addresses the evolving nature of country classifications and helps develop

a student’s ability to comprehend the rationale of how to analyze a specific country’s stage of

development—rather than just memorize which countries are emerging. Further, this section provides a

unique approach and takes country-related “deep dives” that give greater detail about specific key

countries. This section ends with chapters devoted to providing accessible discussions of complex

financial concepts within the global monetary system and the global capital markets, including currency

and global venture capital.

WHY? Section three develops knowledge about how a student or organization can exploit opportunities in

that global environment. Students will learn about the fundamental choices they have in terms of

international expansion and why such choices matter. Using different models of internationalization and

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global market assessment, they will also learn why international business opportunities vary in their

promise and complexity. In this section, students also do a deeper dive into the topics of exporting,

importing, and global sourcing since these are likely to be the first forms of international business a

student will encounter.

HOW? Section four is devoted to strategy and entrepreneurship in a flattening world and how key

organizational activities can be managed for global effectiveness. This part of the book shifts gears from

the perspective of existing businesses to that of new business possibilities. Our objective is to highlight

strategy, entrepreneurship, and strategic and entrepreneurial opportunities in a flat and flattening world.

Beyond the basics of international strategy and entrepreneurship, students will be exposed to

international human resource management so that they can better understand the global war for talent.

They will also develop good fundamental knowledge of international research and development,

marketing, distribution, finance, and accounting.


Each chapter contains several staple and innovative features as follows:

• opening cases—cases that are relatively timeless from an international business perspective and

current and topical

• sidebars titled “Did You Know”—factoids about international business

• sidebars titled “Amusing Anecdote”—factoids about global marketing snafus and other mistakes

coupled with related key international business facts

• sidebars titled “An Eye on Ethics,” which provide examples of the ethical issues that arise in

international business

• chapter summaries

• end of chapter exercises based on AACSB learning standards—these exercises include review

questions, experiential exercises, ethical dilemmas, and exercises related to the opening chapter


• a closing section titled “Tools in Your Walkabout Kit” with specific and practical tools related to

international business

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• supplemental support materials by chapter

As you’d expect, our textbook also provides a set of end-of-chapter questions that are mapped to AACSB

learning standards, such that the instructor will be able to measure how well students are grasping course

content while ensuring alignment with the AACSB guidelines.

We recognize that you have choices on textbooks for your course, but hope that our innovative approach

to both essential global business content and technology delivery options will encourage you to join our


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Chapter 1 Introduction

W H A T ’ S I N I T F OR M E ?

1. What is international business?

2. Who has an interest in international business?

3. What forms do international businesses take?

4. What is the globalization debate?

5. What is the relationship between international business and ethics?

This chapter introduces you to the study of international business. After reading a short case study on

Google Inc., the Internet search-engine company, you’ll begin to learn what makes international business

such an essential subject for students around the world. Because international business is a vital

ingredient in strategic management and entrepreneurship, this book uses these complementary

perspectives to help you understand international business. Managers, entrepreneurs, workers, for-profit

and nonprofit organizations, and governments all have a vested interest in understanding and shaping

global business practices and trends. Section 1.1 "What Is International Business?" gives you a working

definition of international business; Section 1.2 "Who Is Interested in International Business?" helps you

see which actors are likely to have a direct and indirect interest in it. You’ll then learn about some of the

different forms international businesses take; you’ll also gain a general understanding of the globalization

debate. This debate centers on (1) whether the world is flat, in the sense that all markets are

interconnected and competing unfettered with each other, or (2) whether differences across countries and

markets are more significant than the commonalities. In fact, some critics negatively describe the “world

is flat” perspective as globaloney! What you’ll discover from the discussion of this debate is that the world

may not be flat in the purest sense, but there are powerful forces, also called flatteners, at work in the

world’s economies. Section 1.5 "Ethics and International Business" concludes with an introductory

discussion of the relationship between international business and ethics.

Opening Case: Google’s Steep Learning Curve in China

Of all the changes going on in the world, the Internet is the one development that many people believe

makes our world a smaller place—a flat orflattening world, according to Thomas Friedman, Pulitzer

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Prize–winning author of The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century andThe Lexus

and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization. Because of this flattening effect, Internet businesses

should be able to cross borders easily and profitably with little constraint. However, with few exceptions,

cross-border business ventures always seem to challenge even the most able of competitors, Internet-

based or not. Some new international ventures succeed, while many others fail. But in every venture the

managers involved can and do learn something new. Google Inc.’s learning curve in China is a case in


In 2006, Google announced the opening of its Chinese-language website amid great fanfare. While Google

had access to the Chinese market through at the time, the new site,, gave the

company a more powerful, direct vehicle to further penetrate the approximately 94 million households

with Internet access in China. As company founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin said at the time,

“Unfortunately, access for Chinese users to the Google service outside of China was slow and unreliable,

and some content was restricted by complex filtering within each Chinese ISP. Ironically, we were unable

to get much public or governmental attention paid to the issue. Although we dislike altering our search

results in any way, we ultimately decided that staying out of China simply meant diminishing service and

influence there. Building a real operation in China should increase our influence on market practices and

certainly will enhance our service to the Chinese people.” [1]

A Big Market, Bigger Concerns

Google’s move into China gave it access to a very large market, but it also raised some ethical issues.

Chinese authorities are notorious for their hardline censorship rules regarding the Internet. They take a

firm stance against risqué content and have objected to The Sims computer game, fearing it would corrupt

their nation’s youth. Any content that was judged as possibly threatening “state security, damaging the

nation’s glory, disturbing social order, and infringing on other’s legitimate rights” was also

banned. [2]When asked how working in this kind of environment fit with Google’s informal motto of “Don’t

be evil” and its code-of-conduct aspiration of striving toward the “highest possible standard of ethical

business,” Google’s executives stressed that the license was just to set up a representative office in Beijing

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and no more than that—although they did concede that Google was keenly interested in the market. As

reported to the business press, “For the time being, [we] will be using the [China] office as a base from

which to conduct market research and learn more about the market.” [3] Google likewise sidestepped the

ethical questions by stating it couldn’t address the issues until it was fully operational in China and knew

exactly what the situation was.

One Year Later

Google appointed Dr. Kai-Fu Lee to lead the company’s new China effort. He had grown up in Taiwan,

earned BS and PhD degrees from Columbia and Carnegie Mellon, respectively, and was fluent in both

English and Mandarin. Before joining Google in 2005, he worked for Apple in California and then for

Microsoft in China; he set up Microsoft Research Asia, the company’s research-and-development lab in

Beijing. When asked by a New York Timesreporter about the cultural challenges of doing business in

China, Lee responded, “The ideals that we uphold here are really just so important and noble. How to

build stuff that users like, and figure out how to make money later. And ‘Don’t Do Evil’ [referring to the

motto ‘Don’t be evil’]. All of those things. I think I’ve always been an idealist in my heart.” [4]

Despite Lee’s support of Google’s utopian motto, the company’s conduct in China during its first year

seemed less than idealistic. In January, a few months after Lee opened the Beijing office, the company

announced it would be introducing a new version of its search engine for the Chinese market. Google’s

representatives explained that in order to obey China’s censorship laws, the company had agreed to

remove any websites disapproved of by the Chinese government from the search results it would display.

For example, any site that promoted the Falun Gong, a government-banned spiritual movement, would

not be displayed. Similarly (and ironically) sites promoting free speech in China would not be displayed,

and there would be no mention of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. As one Western reporter noted,

“If you search for ‘Tibet’ or ‘Falun Gong’ most anywhere in the world on, you’ll find thousands

of blog entries, news items, and chat rooms on Chinese repression. Do the same search inside China on, and most, if not all, of these links will be gone. Google will have erased them completely.” [5]

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Google’s decision didn’t go over well in the United States. In February 2006, company executives were

called into congressional hearings and compared to Nazi collaborators. The company’s stock fell, and

protesters waved placards outside the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. Google

wasn’t the only American technology company to run aground in China during those months, nor was it

the worst offender. However, Google’s executives were supposed to be different; given their lofty motto,

they were supposed to be a cut above the rest. When the company went public in 2004, its founders wrote

in the company’s official filing for the US Securities and Exchange Commission that Google is “a company

that is trustworthy and interested in the public good.” Now, politicians and the public were asking how

Google could balance that with making nice with a repressive Chinese regime and the Communist Party

behind it. [6] One exchange between Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Google Vice President Elliot Schrage

went like this:

Lantos: You have nothing to be ashamed of?


I am not ashamed of it, and I am not proud of it…We have taken a path, we have begun on a path, we have done a path that…will ultimately benefit all the users in China. If we determined, congressman, as a result of changing circumstances or as a result of the implementation of the program that we are not achieving those results then we will assess our performance, our ability to achieve those goals, and whether to remain in the market. [7]

See the video “Google on Operating inside China” at In the

video, Schrage, the vice president for corporate communications and public affairs, discusses Google’s

competitive situation in China. Rep. James Leach (R-IA) subsequently accuses Google of becoming a

servant of the Chinese government.

Google Ends Censorship in China

In 2010, Google announced that it was no longer willing to censor search results on its Chinese service.

The world’s leading search engine said the decision followed a cyberattack that it believes was aimed at

gathering information on Chinese human rights activists. [8] Google also cited the Chinese government’s

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restrictions on the Internet in China during 2009. [9]Google’s announcement led to speculation whether

Google would close its offices in China or would close Human rights activists cheered Google’s

move, while business pundits speculated on the possibly huge financial costs that would result from losing

access to one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing consumer markets.

In an announcement provided to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Google’s founders

summarized their stance and the motivation for it. Below are excerpts from Google Chief Legal Officer

David Drummond’s announcement on January 12, 2010. [10]

Like many other well-known organizations, we face cyberattacks of varying degrees on a regular basis. In

mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure

originating from China, resulting in the theft of intellectual property from Google. However, it soon

became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident—albeit a significant one—was

something quite different.

First, this attack was not just on Google. As part of our investigation, we have discovered that at least

twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses—including the Internet, finance,

technology, media, and chemical sectors—have been similarly targeted. We are currently in the process of

notifying those companies, and we are also working with the relevant US authorities.

Second, we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts

of Chinese human rights activists. Based on our investigation to date, we believe their attack did not

achieve that objective. Only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed, and that activity was

limited to account information (such as the date the account was created) and subject line, rather than the

content of emails themselves.

Third, as part of this investigation but independent of the attack on Google, we have discovered that the

accounts of dozens of US-, China- and Europe-based Gmail users who are advocates of human rights in

China appear to have been routinely accessed by third parties. These accounts have not been accessed

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through any security breach at Google, but most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on the users’


We have taken the unusual step of sharing information about these attacks with a broad audience, not just

because of the security and human rights implications of what we have unearthed, but also because this

information goes to the heart of a much bigger global debate about freedom of speech. In the last two

decades, China’s economic reform programs and its citizens’ entrepreneurial flair have lifted hundreds of

millions of Chinese people out of poverty. Indeed, this great nation is at the heart of much economic

progress and development in the world today.

The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, and we know that it will

have potentially far-reaching consequences. We want to make clear that this move was driven by our

executives in the United States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China who

have worked incredibly hard to make the success it is today. We are committed to working

responsibly to resolve the very difficult issues raised.

The Chinese government’s first response to Google’s announcement was simply that it was “seeking more

information.” [11] In the interim, Google “shut down its censored Chinese version and gave mainlanders an

uncensored search engine in simplified Chinese, delivered from its servers in Hong Kong.” [12] Like most

firms that venture out of their home markets, Google’s experiences in China and other foreign markets

have driven the company to reassess how it does business in countries with distinctly different laws.

Opening Case Exercises

(AACSB: Ethical Reasoning, Multiculturalism, Reflective Thinking, Analytical Skills)

1. Can Google afford not to do business in China?

2. Which stakeholders would be affected by Google’s managers’ possible decision to shut down its China

operations? How would they be affected? What trade-offs would Google be making?

3. Should Google’s managers be surprised by the China predicament?

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[1] Larry Page and Sergey Brin, “2005 Founders’ Letter,” Google Investor Relations, December 31, 2005, accessed

October 25, 2010,

[2] John Oates, “Chinese Government Censors Online Games,” Register, June 1, 2004, accessed November 12,


[3] Lucy Sherriff, “Google Goes to China,” Register, May 11, 2005, accessed January 25,


[4] Clive Thompson, “Google’s China Problem (and China’s Google Problem),” New York Times, April 23, 2006,

accessed January 25, 2010,

[5] Clive Thompson, “Google’s China Problem (and China’s Google Problem),” New York Times, April 23, 2006,

accessed January 25, 2010,

[6] Larry Page and Sergey Brin, “2004 Founders’ IPO Letter,” Google Investor Relations, August 18, 2004, accessed

October 25, 2010,

[7] Declan McCullagh, “Congressman Quizzes Net Companies on Shame,” CNET, February 15, 2006, accessed

January 25, 2010,


[8] Jessica E. Vascellaro, Jason Dean, and Siobhan Gorman, “Google Warns of China Exit over Hacking,” January 13,

2010, accessed November 12, 2010,

[9] Tania Branigan, “Google to End Censorship in China over Cyber Attacks,” Guardian, January 13, 2010, accessed

November 12, 2010,

[10] David Drummond, “A New Approach to China,” Official Google Blog, January 12, 2010, accessed January 25,


[11] Tania Branigan, “Google Challenge to China over Censorship,” Guardian, January 13, 2010, accessed January

25, 2010,

[12] Harry McCracken, “Google’s Bold China Move,” PCWorld, March 23, 2010, accessed November 12,


Saylor URL: 12

1.1 What Is International Business? L E A R N I N G O B JE C T I V E S

1. Know the definition of international business.

2. Comprehend how strategic management is related to international business.

3. Understand how entrepreneurship is related to international business.

The Definition of International Business

As the opening case study on Google suggests, international business relates to any situation where the

production or distribution of goods or services crosses country borders. Globalization—the shift toward a

more interdependent and integrated global economy—creates greater opportunities for international

business. Such globalization can take place in terms of markets, where trade barriers are falling and buyer

preferences are changing. It can also be seen in terms of production, where a company can source goods

and services easily from other countries. Some managers consider the definition of international business

to relate purely to “business,” as suggested in the Google case. However, a broader definition of

international business may serve you better both personally and professionally in a world that has moved

beyond simple industrial production. International business encompasses a full range of cross-border

exchanges of goods, services, or resources between two or more nations. These exchanges can go beyond

the exchange of money for physical goods to include international transfers of other resources, such as

people, intellectual property (e.g., patents, copyrights, brand trademarks, and data), and contractual

assets or liabilities (e.g., the right to use some foreign asset, provide some future service to foreign

customers, or execute a complex financial instrument). The entities involved in international business

range from large multinational firms with thousands of employees doing business in many countries

around the world to a small one-person company acting as an importer or exporter. This broader

definition of international business also encompasses for-profit border-crossing transactions as well as

transactions motivated by nonfinancial gains (e.g., triple bottom line, corporate social responsibility, and

political favor) that affect a business’s future.

Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship

A knowledge of both strategic management and entrepreneurship will enhance your understanding of

international business. Strategic management is the body of knowledge that answers questions about the

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development and implementation of good strategies and is mainly concerned with the determinants of

firm performance. A strategy, in turn, is the central, integrated, and externally oriented concept of how an

organization will achieve its performance objectives. [1] One of the basic tools of strategy is

aSWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) assessment. The SWOT tool helps you take stock

of an organization’s internal characteristics—its strengths and weaknesses—to formulate an action plan

that builds on what it does well while overcoming or working around weaknesses. Similarly, the external

part of SWOT—the opportunities and threats—helps you assess those environmental conditions that favor

or threaten the organization’s strategy. Because strategic management is concerned with organizational

performance—be that social, environmental, or economic—your understanding of a company’s SWOT will

help you better assess how international business factors should be accounted for in the firm’s strategy.

Entrepreneurship, in contrast, is defined as the recognition of opportunities (i.e., needs, wants, problems,

and challenges) and the use or creation of resources to implement innovative ideas for new, thoughtfully

planned ventures. An entrepreneur is a person who engages in entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship, like

strategic management, will help you to think about the opportunities available when you connect new

ideas with new markets. For instance, given Google’s current global presence, it’s difficult to imagine that

the company started out slightly more than a decade ago as the entrepreneurial venture of two college

students. Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, students at Stanford University. It was first

incorporated as a privately held company on September 4, 1998. Increasingly, as the Google case study

demonstrates, international businesses have an opportunity to create positive social, environmental, and

economic values across borders. An entrepreneurial perspective will serve you well in this regard.

Spotlight on International Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Hemali Thakkar and three of her fellow classmates at Harvard found a way to mesh the power of play with

electrical power. The foursome invented “a soccer ball with the ability to generate electricity,” Thakkar

said. [2] Every kick of the ball creates a current that’s captured for future use. Fifteen minutes of play lights

a lamp for three hours.

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Called the sOccket, the soccer ball can bring off-grid electricity to developing countries. Even better, the

soccer ball can replace kerosene lamps. Burning kerosene is not only bad for the environment because of

carbon dioxide emissions but it’s also a health hazard: according to the World Bank, breathing kerosene

fumes indoors has the same effects as smoking two packs of cigarettes per day. [3]

How did the idea of sOccket emerge? All four students (Jessica Lin, Jessica Matthews, Julia Silverman,

and Hemali Thakkar) had experience with developing countries, so they knew that kids love playing

soccer (it’s the world’s most popular sport). They also knew that most of these kids lived in homes that

had no reliable energy. [4]

As of November 2010, the sOccket prototype cost $70 to manufacture, but the team hopes to bring the

cost down to $10 when production is scaled up.[5] One ingenious way to bring costs down is to set up

facilities where developing-world entrepreneurs assemble and sell the balls themselves.

At this point it’s also important to introduce you to the concepts ofintrapreneurship and the intrapreneur.

Intrapreneurship is a form of entrepreneurship that takes place inside a business that is already in

existence. An intrapreneur, in turn, is a person within the established business who takes direct

responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk taking and

innovation. An entrepreneur is starting a business, while an intrapreneur is developing a new product or

service in an already existing business. Thus, the ideas of entrepreneurship can be applied not only in new

ventures but also in the context of existing organizations—even government.


• International business encompasses a full range of cross-border exchanges of goods, services, or

resources between two or more nations. These exchanges can go beyond the exchange of money for

physical goods to include international transfers of other resources, such as people, intellectual property

(e.g., patents, copyrights, brand trademarks, and data), and contractual assets or liabilities (e.g., the right

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to use some foreign asset, provide some future service to foreign customers, or execute a complex

financial instrument).

• Strategic management is the body of knowledge that answers questions about the development and

implementation of good strategies and is mainly concerned with the determinants of firm performance.

Because strategic management is concerned with organizational performance, your understanding of a

company’s SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) helps you better assess how

international business factors should be accounted for in the firm’s strategy.

• Entrepreneurship is the recognition of opportunities (i.e., needs, wants, problems, and challenges) and

the use or creation of resources to implement innovative ideas. Entrepreneurship helps you think about

the opportunities available when you connect new ideas with new markets.


(AACSB: Reflective Thinking, Analytical Skills)

1. What is international business?

2. Why is an understanding of strategy management important in the context of international business?

3. Why is an understanding of entrepreneurship important in the context of international business?

[1] {Author’s name retracted as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee} and William G.

Sanders, Strategic Management: A Dynamic Perspective, Concepts and Cases (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson

Education, 2007).

[2] “Harnessing the Power of Soccer,” interview with Thakkar Hemali by Ike Sriskandarajah, October 20, 2010,

accessed November 12, 2010,

[3] Ariel Schwartz, “The SOccket: A Soccer Ball to Replace Kerosene Lamps,” Fast Company, January 26, 2010,

accessed November 12, 2010,


[4] Clark Boyd, “SOccket: Soccer Ball by Day, Light by Night,” Discovery News, February 18, 2010, accessed

November 12, 2010,

[5] Ike Sriskandarajah, “Soccer Ball Brings Off-Grid Electricity Onto the Field,” The Atlantic, November 3, 2010,

accessed November 12, 2010,


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1.2 Who Is Interested in International Business? L E A R N I N G O B JE C T I V E S

1. Know who has an interest in international business.

2. Understand what a stakeholder is and why stakeholder analysis might be important in the study of

international business.

3. Recognize that an organization’s stakeholders include more than its suppliers and customers.

The Stakeholders

As you now know, international business refers to a broad set of entities and activities. But who cares

about international business in the first place? To answer this question, let’s discuss stakeholders and

stakeholder analysis. Astakeholder is an individual or organization whose interests may be affected as the

result of what another individual or organization does. [1]Stakeholder analysis is a technique you use to

identify and assess the importance of key people, groups of people, or institutions that may significantly

influence the success of your activity, project, or business. In the context of what you are learning here,

individuals or organizations will have an interest in international business if it affects them in some way—

positively or negatively. [2] That is, they have something important at stake as a result of some aspect of

international business.

Obviously, Google and its managers need to understand international business because they do business

in many countries outside their home country. A little more than half the company’s revenues come from

outside the United States. [3]Does this mean that international business wouldn’t be relevant to Google if it

only produced and sold its products in one country? Absolutely not! Factors of international business

would still affect Google—through any supplies it buys from foreign suppliers, as well as the possible

impact of foreign competitors that threaten to take business from Google in its home markets. Even if

these factors were not present, Google could still be affected by price swings—for instance, in the

international prices of computer parts, even if they bought those parts from US suppliers. After all, the

prices of some of the commodities used to make those parts are determined globally, not locally. Beyond

its involvement in web advertising, which requires massive investments in computer-server farms around

the world, Google is increasingly active in other products and services—for example, cell phones and the

operating systems they use.

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So far, this chapter has covered only how a business and its managers should understand international

business, regardless of whether their organization sells or produces products or services across borders.

Who else might be an international business stakeholder beyond Google and its management? First,

Google is likely to have to pay taxes, right? It probably pays sales taxes in markets where it sells its

products, as well as property and payroll taxes in countries where it has production facilities. Each of

these governmental stakeholders has an important economic interest in Google. Moreover, in many

countries, the government is responsible for protecting the environment. Google’s large computer-server

farms consume energy and generate waste, and its products (e.g., cell phones) come in disposable

packaging, thus impacting the environment in places where they are manufactured and sold.

Beyond the company and governments, other stakeholder groups might include industry associations,

trade groups, suppliers, and labor. For instance, you’ve already learned that Google is an Internet search-

engine company, so it could be a member of various computer-related industry associations. Labor is also

a stakeholder. This can include not only the people immediately employed by a business like Google but

also contract workers or workers who will lose or gain employment opportunities depending on where

Google chooses to produce and sell its products and services.

Did You Know? From our opening case, you’ve learned a little about how different countries deal with personal privacy. At

about the same time Google was experiencing difficulty protecting individuals’ privacy in China, its

managers in Italy were being convicted of violating consumer-privacy laws. Google executives had been

accused of breaking Italian law by allowing a video clip of four boys bullying another child to be posted

online. [4] The video had originally been posted by the boys themselves and Google removed the video

when Italy’s Interior Ministry requested its removal. [5] The three Google executives were absolved of the

defamation charges but convicted of privacy violations. [6] Google said that the conviction of its top Italian

managers “attacks the ‘principles of freedom’ of the Internet and poses a serious threat to the

web.” [7] Following the conviction, several privacy advocates stepped up to speak out in Google’s defense—

a position quite contrary to their typical stances in Google privacy stories. [8]

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• Beyond yourself, as an international business student and future international business person, you can

identify the people and organizations that might have an interest in international business if their

interests are affected now or in the future by it. Such international business stakeholders include

employees, managers, businesses, governments, and nongovernmental organizations.

• Stakeholder analysis is a technique used to identify and assess the importance of key people, groups of

people, or institutions that may significantly influence the success of an activity, project, or business.


(AACSB: Reflective Thinking, Analytical Skills)

1. What is a stakeholder?

2. Why is stakeholder analysis important in international business?

[1] {Authors’s names retracted as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee}, Principles of

Management (Nyack, NY)

[2] Management Sciences for Health and the United Nations Children’s Fund, “Stakeholder Analysis,” The Guide to

Managing for Quality, 1998, accessed November 21, 2010,

[3] “Google Announces First Quarter 2009 Results,” Google Investor Relations, April 16, 2009, accessed January 25,


[4] “Google Bosses Convicted in Italy,” BBC News, February 24, 2010, accessed November 21,


[5] J. R. Raphael, “Italy’s Google Convictions Set a Dangerous Precedent,” PCWorld, February 24, 2010, accessed

November 21,


[6] Colleen Barry, “Three Google Employees Convicted in Italian Court of Privacy Violations,” Associated Press,

February 24, 2010, accessed November 21,


[7] Paul McNamara, “Conviction of Google Execs in Italy Sheer Madness,” PCWorld, February 24, 2010, accessed

April 5,


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[8] Jaikumar Vijayan, “Conviction of Google Execs Alarms Privacy Advocates,” PCWorld, February 24, 2010,

accessed April 5, 2010,

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1.3 What Forms Do International Businesses Take? L E A R N I N G O B JE C T I V E S

1. Know the possible forms that international businesses can take.

2. Understand the differences between exporting, importing, and foreign direct investment.

3. See how governments and nongovernmental organizations can be international businesses.

The Forms of International Business

It probably doesn’t surprise you that international businesses can take on a variety of forms. Recognizing

that international business, based on our broad definition, spans business, government, and

nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), let’s start by looking at business.

A business can be a person or organization engaged in commerce with the aim of achieving a profit.

Business profit is typically gauged in financial and economic terms. However, some level of sustained

financial and economic profits are needed for a business to achieve other sustainable outcomes measured

as social or environmental performance. For example, many companies that are for-profit businesses also

have a social and environmental mission. Table 1.1 "Sample Three-Part Mission Statement" provides an

example of a company with this kind of mission.

Table 1.1 Sample Three-Part Mission Statement

Social and Environmental Mission Product Mission Economic Mission

Part of being a responsible company is working hard to help solve the world’s environmental problems and, importantly, also helping those who buy our products to make more responsible choices. [1]

To make, distribute, and sell the finest quality products with a continued commitment to promoting business practices that respect the Earth and the environment. [2]

To create long-term value and capture the greatest opportunity for our stakeholders by delivering sustainable, profitable growth in sales, earnings, and cash flow in a global company built on pride, integrity, and respect. [3]

On the one hand, while companies such as Ben & Jerry’s (part of Unilever) and SC Johnson are very large,

it’s hard to imagine any business—small or large—that doesn’t have international operating concerns. On

the other hand, the international part of a firm’s business can vary considerably, from importing to

exporting to having significant operations outside its home country. An importer sells products and

services that are sourced from other countries; an exporter, in contrast, sells products and services in

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foreign countries that are sourced from its home country. Beyond importing and exporting, some

organizations maintain offices in other countries; this forms the basis for their level

of foreign direct investment. Foreign direct investment means that a firm is investing assets directly into a

foreign country’s buildings, equipment, or organizations. In some cases, these foreign offices are carbon

copies of the parent firm; that is, they have all the value creation and support activities, just in a different

country. In other cases, the foreign operations are focused on a small subset of activities tailored to the

local market, or those that the entity supplies for operations every place in which the firm operates.

When a firm makes choices about foreign operations that increase national and local responsiveness, the

organization is more able to adapt to national and local market conditions. In contrast, the greater the

level of standardization—both within and across markets—the greater the possible level of global

efficiency. In many cases, the choice of foreign location generates unique advantages, referred to

as location advantages. Location advantages include better access to raw materials, less costly labor, key

suppliers, key customers, energy, and natural resources. For instance, Google locates its computer-server

farms—the technological backbone of its massive Internet services—close to dams that produce

hydroelectric power because it’s one of the cheapest sources of electricity. [4] Ultimately, managerial

choices regarding the trade-off betweenglobal efficiency and local responsiveness are a function of the

firm’s strategy and are likely to be a significant determinant of firm performance.

International Forms of Government

Governmental bodies also take on different international forms. Among political scientists, government is

generally considered to be the body of people that sets and administers public policy and exercises

executive, political, and sovereign power through customs, institutions, and laws within a state, country,

or other political unit. Or more simply, government is the organization, or agency, through which a

political unit exercises its authority, controls and administers public policy, and directs and controls the

actions of its members or subjects.

Most national governments, for instance, maintain embassies and consulates in foreign countries.

National governments also participate in international treaties related to such issues as trade, the

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environment, or child labor. For example, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an

agreement signed by the governments of the United States, Canada, and Mexico to create a trade bloc in

North America to reduce or eliminate tariffs among the member countries and thus facilitate trade. The

Kyoto Protocol is an agreement aimed at combating global warming among participating countries. In

some cases, such as with the European Community (EC), agreements span trade, the environment, labor,

and many other subjects related to business, social, and environmental issues. The Atlanta Agreement, in

turn, is an agreement between participating governments and companies to eliminate child labor in the

production of soccer balls in Pakistan. [5] Finally, supraorganizations such as the United Nations (UN) or

the World Trade Organization (WTO) are practically separate governments themselves, with certain

powers over all member countries. [6]

Nongovernmental Organizations

National nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) include any nonprofit, voluntary citizens’ groups that

are organized on a local, national, or international level. International NGOs (NGOs whose operations

cross borders) date back to at least 1839. [7] For example, Rotary International was founded in 1905. It has

been estimated that, by 1914, there were 1,083 NGOs. [8]International NGOs were important in the

antislavery movement and the movement for women’s suffrage, but the phrase “nongovernmental

organization” didn’t enter the common lexicon until 1945, when the UN was established along with the

provisions in Article 71 of Chapter 10 of the UN charter, [9], which granted a consultative role to

organizations that are neither governments nor member states.

During the twentieth century, globalization actually fostered the development of NGOs because many

problems couldn’t be solved within a single nation. In addition, international treaties and organizations,

such as the WTO, were perceived by human rights activists as being too centered on the interests of

business. Some argued that in an attempt to counterbalance this trend, NGOs were formed to emphasize

humanitarian issues, developmental aid, and sustainable development. A prominent example of this is the

World Social Forum—a rival convention to the World Economic Forum held every January in Davos,

Switzerland. K E Y T A K E A W A Y S

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• International businesses take on a variety of forms. Importers sell goods and services obtained from other

countries, while exporters sell goods and services from their home country abroad.

• Firms can also make choices about the extent and structure of their foreign direct investments, from

simply an array of satellite sales offices to integrated production, sales, and distribution centers in foreign


• Government and nongovernmental organizations also comprise international business.


(AACSB: Reflective Thinking, Analytical Skills)

1. What is the difference between an exporter and an importer?

2. What is a location advantage?

3. How is government considered an international business?

[1] “Investing in People, Investing for the Planet,” SC Johnson, accessed November 21,


[2] “Ben & Jerry’s,” Unilever, accessed November 21,


[3] “Our Business Purpose,” Amtrak, accessed November 21,


[4] Stephanie N. Mehta, “Behold the Server Farm! Glorious Temple of the Information Age!,”Fortune, August 1,

2006, accessed April 27,


[5] “Atlanta Agreement,” Independent Monitoring Association for Child Labor, accessed November 12,


[6] United Nations website, accessed January 20, 2010,; World Trade Organization website,

accessed January 20, 2010,

[7] Steve Charnovitz, “Two Centuries of Participation: NGOs and International Governance,” Michigan Journal of

International Law 18, no. 183 (Winter 1997): 183–286.

[8] Oliver P. Richmond and Henry F. Carey, eds., Subcontracting Peace: The Challenges of NGO

Peacebuilding (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2005), 21; United Nations, “Chapter X: The Economic and Social

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Council,” Charter of the United Nations, accessed April 28,


[9] United Nations, “Chapter X: The Economic and Social Council,” Charter of the United Nations, accessed April 28,


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1.4 The Globalization Debate L E A R N I N G O B JE C T I V E S

1. Understand the flattening world perspective in the globalization debate.

2. Understand the multidomestic perspective in the globalization debate.

3. Know the dimensions of the CAGE analytical framework.

In today’s global economy, everyone is accustomed to buying goods from other countries—electronics

from Taiwan, vegetables from Mexico, clothing from China, cars from Korea, and skirts from India. Most

modern shoppers take the “Made in [a foreign country]” stickers on their products for granted. Long-

distance commerce wasn’t always this common, although foreign trade—the movement of goods from one

geographic region to another—has been a key factor in human affairs since prehistoric times. Thousands

of years ago, merchants transported only the most precious items—silk, gold and other precious metals

and jewels, spices, porcelains, and medicines—via ancient, extended land and sea trade routes, including

the famed Silk Road through central Asia. Moving goods great distances was simply too hard and costly to

waste the effort on ordinary products, although people often carted grain and other foods over shorter

distances from farms to market towns. [1]

What is the globalization debate? Well, it’s not so much a debate as it is a stark difference of opinion on

how the internationalization of businesses is affecting countries’ cultural, consumer, and national

identities—and whether these changes are desirable. For instance, the ubiquity of such food purveyors as

Coca-Cola and McDonald’s in practically every country reflects the fact that some consumer tastes are

converging, though at the likely expense of local beverages and foods. Remember, globalization refers to

the shift toward a more interdependent and integrated global economy. This shift is fueled largely by (1)

declining trade and investment barriers and (2) new technologies, such as the Internet. The globalization

debate surrounds whether and how fast markets are actually merging together.

We Live in a Flat World

The flat-world view is largely credited to Thomas Friedman and his 2005 best seller, The World Is Flat.

Although the next section provides you with an alternative way of thinking about the world

(a multidomestic view), it is nonetheless important to understand the flat-world perspective. Friedman

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