Introduction to International Business

SOL16 Introduction to International Business

  • Topics


    • Globalization: historical, political, economic, and socio-cultural aspects
    • International trade and business theories
    • Multinational corporations (MNCs), including Born Globals
    • Global institutions and their impact for IB
    • Theoretical aspects of the internationalization process, including international strategy and entry mode decisions, outsourcing and offshoring
    • Culture in IB: how culture impacts leadership, followership, and teamwork across national borders
    • Ethical issues in IB
    • International human resource management and career planning

  • Learning outcome

    Learning outcome

    In an increasingly globalized world, operating across national boundaries gives organizations immense opportunities to grow and seek favorable business environments. However, doing business across borders is also associated with unique challenges and problems deriving from differences in geographical location, culture, language etc. The purpose of this introductory course in international business (IB) is to develop participants' understanding of both opportunities and challenges. This is achieved through a mix of lectures, readings, in-class exercises, and experiential learning where participants work in global virtual teams to solve real-life business cases. The course offers the individual a hands-on opportunity to develop and explore the skills and qualities needed to effectively collaborate across borders, thus providing a real-life experience with IB. After taking this class, students are expected to be able to:

    • apply frameworks and theories to solve business cases understand the limitations of these theories and frameworks
    • effectively communicate and discuss the results of the analysis, in writing and orally reflect on their own roles, practices, and interactions in multicultural settings

  • Teaching


    The course is taught in English. We use a combination of readings, lectures, in-class exercises, and experiential learning (work in global virtual teams) to learn, and to relate this learning to ourselves and real business challenges. Students are expected to take an active part in their own learning experience, and to contribute to the learning experience of the class as a whole.

    Each student will be placed in a global virtual team with 5 students who take similar bachelor-level IB courses in other countries. Each team will be given the task of solving an IB-related challenge for a real-life company, (e.g. develop a business plan), and must do so using available web-based collaboration tools such as email, Skype, Dropbox, Facebook, ad Doodle. This work takes place over the course of approximately two months, and should result in a written report that will be evaluated and constitute part of the student¿s final grade (20%). Through this learning experience, students get the chance to apply topics from the course curriculum while simultaneously experiencing central parts of it first-hand. This experiential learning component takes place early in the semester, approximately mid-January to mid-March. Parallel to this, students attend in-class lectures where course curriculum relevant to the global virtual team work is covered.

    When the global virtual team work and report are completed (approximately mid-March), the students continue attending lectures. By the end of the semester, and prior to course approval, they are expected to write a reflection paper (equals 30% of final grade) where they relate their global virtual team experience to theories on culture and international business covered in class.

    The learning experience will be supplemented with guest lecturers with IB experience. We will also use some in-class exercises to illustrate and utilize the curriculum.

    IMPORTANT: The global virtual team experience is possible via the X-Culture Project ( This project enables an experiential learning experience in IB by matching IB students from over 40 countries around the world with teams and business cases to solve. Data on the students¿ collaboration are gathered throughout the project via brief online surveys that the students must complete, with the purpose of allowing insight into global virtual teams for researchers interested in this topic. Collected data will be anonymized and not traceable back to any individual participants, and the project is subject to registration and approval by NSD, the Data Protection Official for Research in Norway. As participation in global virtual teams to solve a business case is mandatory for course approval, and the resulting paper constitutes 20% of the final grade, all participants in the course must familiarize themselves with the X-Culture Project and sign a consent form during the first class session. All participants will be provided with additional written information about the project. More information can also be found on, and by contacting the course responsible.

  • Credit reduction due to overlap

    Credit reduction due to overlap

    SOL16 is the equivalent to VOA046 and students will not get credit for both courses.

  • Requirements for course approval

    Requirements for course approval

    Access to the written exam requires course approval. Course approval is based on participation in the first class; a minimum of 80 percent participation in the course sessions; a passing grade on the virtual team paper; and a passing grade on the individual reflection paper.

  • Assessment


    The final grade comprises 7.5 ECTS, distributed as follows:

    • Element 1: Virtual team paper (20%)
    • Element 2: Individual reflection paper (30%)
    • Element 3: Written examination (50%)

  • Grading Scale

    Grading Scale

    Gradingscale: A - F

  • Computer tools

    Computer tools

    The course homepage on itslearning will be continuously updated with teaching materials and messages, and students are expected to proactively use itslearning to stay updated and cover the required readings for each class session.

  • Semester



  • Literature


    "International Management: Theory and Practice", by Gooderham, Grøgaard, and Nordhaug (2013)

    Selected articles

    Cases and Articles:

    Cases and articles will be made available via itslearning.


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Course responsible

Berit Sund, Department of Strategy and Management.