EXC 3631 International Business Environment


EXC 3631 International Business Environment

Responsible for the course
Eli Moen

Department of Communication and Culture

According to study plan

ECTS Credits

Language of instruction

The international business environment course will help students understand how to conduct business internationally. The course will in particular focus on the political and legal environment, which has an enormous influence on business related to tariffs, investments, trade etc. The students will acquire knowledge about the international and multinational organizations that drive and facilitate processes of global economic integration. Such organizations comprise the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organizations as well as regional agreements such as the EU and the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). To succeed in international business an understanding of the organizations that regulate cross-border business activities is essential.

The course also aims to provide an understanding of challenges, not only benefits, linked with globalization such as environmental issues, climate change, and ethical issues linked with working conditions, the treatment of workers and corruption, is critical for working in an international business environment.

Learning outcome
Acquired knowledge
Students will learn about the following topics:

  • Recent trends in the process of globalization
  • Trading in the context of the World Trade Organization
  • The growth of regional trading blocs and their business implications
  • International differences in the costs of doing business
  • Benefits and risks linked with outsourcing and global production chains

Acquired skills
Based on acquired knowledge of core topics students will be able to identify and apply formal and informal rules in international business for managing cross-border business activities.

Students will ideally develop knowledge and management skills whether and how to enter foreign markets in relation to formal and informal rules in foreign markets as well as competence to reflect on challenges linked with ethical dilemmas, environmental issues and climate change.

General knowledge of business administration subjects

Compulsory reading
Kelly, Dominic and Wyn Grant, eds. 2005. The Politics of international trade in the twenty-first century : actors, issues and regional dynamics. Palgrave Macmillan. Ch. 1, 6, 7, 10, 17, 19
Ravenhill, J., ed. 2014. Global political economy. Oxford University Press. Ch. 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 14
Suder, Gabriele G.S. 2011. Doing business in Europe. 2nd ed. Sage. Ch. 1-5

Recommended reading

Book chapters available in the library and/or electronically:.
- P. Dicken (2011), Global Shift. Mapping the Changing Contours of the World Economy, SAGE, London.
- Hall, P. A. and D. Soskice (eds.) (2001), Varieties of Capitalism, the Institutional Foundation of Comparative Advantage, Introduction, Oxford University Press, pp. 1-68, Ch. 13 Legal Irritants: How Unifying Law Ends up in New Divergences, pp. 417-441.
- Landes, D. S. (1999),The Wealth and Poverty of Nations. Why some are so rich and some so poor, ch. 2. Answers to Geography: Europe and China, ch. 3. European Exceptionalism: A different Path, WW. Norton & Company, New York, pp. 17-44.
- T. Oatley, International Political Economy, Pearson, Harlow, Ch. 1 The WTO and the World Trade System, pp.21-44.
- OECD (2011), Towards Green Growth, OECD, Paris.
- Pelle, S. (2007), Understanding Emerging Markets. Building BRIC by Brick, SAGE, London.
- United Nations Environment Programme (2011), Towards a green economy: pathways to sustainable development and poverty eradication: synthesis for policy makers (www.unep.org/greeneconomy/greeneconomyreport/tabid/29846/defaut.aspx

Course outline
The course relies on theoretical concepts, empirical evidence, and a broad understanding of international institutional environments. Case studies will illustrate and advance theoretical concepts developed in the lectures.
  • Understanding institutions
  • The regulation of international trade
  • Key international organizations
  • Regional dynamics, emerging economies
  • Global challenges: the environment, labour standards, poverty

Computer-based tools
Students are expected to use Internet during the course

Learning process and workload
The course comprises 30 hours of classroom teaching/lectures and 15 hours of seminars. In order to manage the requirements of the course it is essential that students attend the seminar sessions as it will provide an arena for focused discussion of key issues and theories. Attendance is required and students are expected to analyse and present two cases.

Recommended use of hours:

Use of hours
Classroom participation / lectures
Preparation for class / lectures
Preparation for seminars with presentations
Self-study / reading literature
Exam and examination preparation
Total recommended use of hours

    A 72-hours take home examination concludes the course.
    The home examination is given over an assigned topic and can be solved individually or in groups of up to three students.

    Examination code(s)
    EXC 36311 – 72 hours take-home examination, counts for 100% towards the final grade in EXC 3631 International Business Environment 7,5 credits.

    Examination support materials
    All support materials are permitted. Support materials at written examinations are explained under exam information in our web-based Student Handbook. Please note use of calculator and dictionary.

    Re-sit examination
    A re-sit examination is offered the next time course is offered.

    Additional information