Global Strategy

CEMS401 Global Strategy

Autumn 2021

  • Topics

    Digitalization and advances in technology appear to make our world smaller at a rapid rate, yet the international expansion of companies is riddled with both challenges and opportunities. As future leaders, it is vital to have an understanding of how to capitalize on the opportunities while addressing the challenges. This course addresses the issue of how companies operate in world markets, and examines the key questions in strategic management in an international context: How to achieve and maintain a competitive advantage? How to create shareholder value? And lastly, how to do so while addressing sustainability and ethical dimensions?

    The course is built around the following topics relevant to understanding how companies can navigate international expansion and international business environments:

    • International strategy
    • Entry modes
    • Sustainability and social value creation (SCV)
    • Management of MNCs
    • Competitive advantage of nations
    • Institutional theory
    • Culture
    • Communication
    • International entrepreneurship

    It seeks to give students command of important theoretical perspectives, and to be able to apply these perspective to real-life business situations through work on a term paper in close collaboration with a Norwegian tech company (name to be announced at course start). Each student will join a term-paper group with 3-4 members, preferably comprising 3 different nationalities. The term paper will relate theory derived from the course to challenges confronting the tech company as it seeks international expansion and should provide solutions that might feasibly be applied by the company. The term paper groups may choose from several different topics for the paper. Each group has the opportunity to get feedback on the paper from an academic advisor at assigned times during the semester.

    Guest lecturers are invited with the purpose of providing practical perspectives on the theories and readings addressed in class. We will also be using cases throughout the course to illustrate key theories and perspectives in our readings. The respective term paper groups will be assigned the responsibility for organizing these sessions.

  • Learning outcome

    After finishing the course, the student should have:

    Knowledge of:

    • Internationalization and globalization drivers and triggers for international expansion
    • The international context in which the MNC or new venture operates
    • Foreign market attractiveness for entry
    • Appropriate modes of entry for internationalizing firms (wholly owned subsidiary, greenfield/acquisition, strategic alliances, joint ventures, licensing)
    • The tension between global integration and local adaptation in foreign markets and discuss international/multinational/transnational strategies
    • Sustainability and ethical issues in global management: MNCs as socially responsible actors in a global context

    Skills in:

    • Internationalism: The ability to critically reflect on, and analyze, core questions in international strategy (e.g. conduct foreign market analysis and choice of entry mode). This includes discussing both challenges and opportunities that managers face in an international business environment.
    • Responsible citizenship: The ability to identify and reflect on central ethical challenges in the international business environment and identify possible actions that the MNC may take to responsibly respond to such challenges.
    • Reflective critical thinking: The term paper challenges students to formulate and apply theory to solve complex real-life business challenges.
    • Business-embeddedness: By analyzing case studies, students learn how to apply theory to practice and identify managerial challenges confronting MNCs.

    General competence in:

    • Advanced research ability, problem solving and critical reflection
    • Planning and executing project work in an international, multicultural team during the length of the semester
    • Communicating key findings of the term paper and of cases in a clear and engaging manner
    • Digital meeting facilitation and learning

  • Teaching

    The course employs several methods for learning:

    • Case studies - solved and presented by groups of students
    • Guest lecturers
    • Projects on/with companies: In collaboration with a Norwegian tech company seeking new markets, teams of students will work on a real business case in the form of a term paper (e.g. analyze foreign market entry, recommend entry strategy, identify issues of sustainability & recommend suitable course of action). Through this work, students should be able connect theories covered in the course with real-life issues of international expansion. The teams of students will work closely on the term paper together with an academic mentor, and will also get input from the company CEO. The teams of students have to present their findings to the class and CEO, and the report will count towards their final grade.
    • Lectures: The lectures will provide students with a solid theoretical foundation of global strategy, and will cover topics such as the competitive advantage of nations; management of MNCs; international expansion; cross-border competition and the role of strategy; institutional context; digitalization and the effects on internationalization of companies; sustainability and social value creation (CVS).

    Students are expected to take an active role in their own learning experience, come to class prepared, and contribute to a positive and open learning environment in class. Lectures are primarily given digitally.

  • Restricted access

    This course is only open for CEMS students.

  • Required prerequisites

    Bachelor level strategy books such as Jay B. Barney: Gaining and Sustaining Competitive Advantage (2007, 2010).

  • Credit reduction due to overlap

    CEMS401 Global Strategy replaces INB422C International Strategy and thus cannot be taken in combination with INB422C International Strategy.

  • Requirements for course approval

    All students must be actively involved in preparing and presenting their group term paper. The course approval is valid only for the semester in which the student participated in the course.

  • Assessment

    Group term paper - 100%. 3 - 5 students.

    In order to retake the course, students must obtain new course approval.

  • Grading Scale

    A - F

  • Literature

    The required readings in this course will consist of a selection of articles and cases. A list will be published upon course start. Students are responsible for downloading the articles and cases, some of which require payment. Instructions and details for downloading will be provided.


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Autumn. Offered Autumn 2021.

Course responsible

Associate professor Tina Saebi, Department of Strategy and Management