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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Surinder Singh
ELCBUS 461
Bothell Campus

International Environment of Business

Focuses on major changes and issues facing businesses and managers operating in an increasingly global environment. Emphasizes topics such as trade policy, technological advances, the changing nature of the work force, and societal expectations of business. Prerequisite: minimum grade of 1.7 in ELCBUS 310.

Class description

Your career and personal life are unfolding in a rapidly changing world. In no sphere of our lives is this phenomenon more prevalent than in International business. It is virtually impossible to label a product as being solely manufactured in a single country. Even so-called 'local' products are now commonly embedded in global supply chains, labor markets, capital and currency flows, regulatory an environmental influences. Even products that can logically claim single, integrated sourcing will face competition that will profile a diverse and globalized strategy. Indeed, the globalization of business has already had a significant impact on your life, influencing your clothing, transportation, personal electronics, energy consumption, food and entertainment choices and job prospects. These influences are accelerating rapidly, and the next generation of global citizens is already integrating into a universal entity.

Complexity multiplies when goods, projects and money cross borders. Differences in political economy levels of development, culture, language and law dramatically affect how business gets done in different places. All of the functional areas of a business -- including marketing, human resources management, treasury and finance operations, supply chain management, manufacturing, research and development and strategy -- can be dramatically affected when geographical contexts shift.

To help you thrive in this global environment, this course will first provide a framework for understanding how the global environment of business differs from doing business in a purely local or single-country context.

We will study China in some depth, adding a 'vertical' dimension to the course. China's importance in the world economy is obvious -- it is a 1) key base of production, 2) vast potential market, 3) source of capital and 4) target for investments. It also has growing cultural, political and environmental importance. The material studied in the first part of the course will help us understand some of the challenges of doing business in China. For Example, China will illustrate some of the difficulties of doing business in 'emerging' and 'transitional' economies. These lessons can be applicable to other important markets. We will also pay some attention to India as another important developing economy. India is in some ways quite similar to and in other ways quite different from China. Both India and China have ancient cultures, large populations and fast-growing economies. Both also have complicated histories, low per-capita GDPs and developmental paths that do not move in a straight, upward-sloping line. One is a democracy while the other decidedly is not. These similarities and differences will allow us to make interesting comparisons and question some important assumptions.

Student learning goals

Appreciate and articulate the history of trade and the establishment of international business, including the phases of development.

Understand the critical role played by local culture, history, language and social norms on the past, present and future success of international business.

Understand the global infrastructure that governs international business such as currencies, labor, tariffs and trade agreements, economic entities such as EU and ASEAN, International legal frameworks, etc.

Describe different organizational strategies, vertical versus horizontal and understand key terms and concepts in international trade theory.

Awareness of key ethical dilemmas that arise in international business. Due diligence and doing business with 'strangers'!

Understand the phenomenon represented by China and, to a lesser extent, India. Factors that are driving economic growth with vastly different social and political systems.

General method of instruction

General method will be interactive, utilizing the 'Socratic' method defined as a "form of inquiry and debate between individuals of opposing viewpoints. Questions will be asked and answered to stimulate critical thinking and illuminate ideas". Contrarianism is encouraged. This skill is very important to success in a globalized world.

Any student with special needs should bring this to the attention of the instructor as soon as possible and contact the Disability Resources for Students Office (DRS) to arrange any appropriate accommodations.

DRS can be contacted through: Email: drs@uwb.edu Phone: 425-352-5307 TDD: 425-352-5303 FAX: 425-352-3581 Location: UW1, Rm. 175

Recommended preparation

Students are encouraged to read international business news on a regular basis. Each weekly session will begin with an open discussion on influential events that took place in the previous. recitation is not enough. Students will be expected to present their own analysis and conclusions. Recommended periodicals are Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, Business Week, Fortune.

In addition, three textbooks will form the primary core of instruction;

.Global Business, Mike Peng. 2010, 10th Edition. .The Elephant & the Dragon. Robyn Meredith. .Mr. China-A Memoir. Tim Clissold.

Students are expected to complete reading assignments in a timely manner.

Class assignments and grading

The primary assignment will be reading the general, public domain international news and the three designated textbooks. Students are always encouraged to expand their research beyond the designated sources.

The end of term paper submission will require each student to select a country and write a 1000 word paper defining the economy, accelerators and restrictions to growth of international business, the primary risks to the economy and business for the future.

Three categories of grading will constitute the final semester grade. Class participation-40%; Multiple choice midterm quiz-30%; Surprise quizzes-10%; End of term paper-20%.

Class participation grades will be assigned based on the instructor's judgement regarding the quantity and quality of each student's participation. Attendance alone does not constitute sufficient class participation. If you have perfect attendance but never volunteer to speak in class or otherwise evidence chronic unpreparedness you will be eligible for only half of the class participation points. Repeated absences will reduce your class participation score below the midpoint. Students may volunteer to speak in class and may also be called upon. Students who are especially reluctant to speak during class should see the instructor individually; I am willing to coach you to help overcome apprehensions, but failure to attend and participate robustly in class discussions will negatively affect your grade.

If you only study before exams, less learning occurs and class meetings are much less fun. To help encourage you to build your knowledge incrementally, I will call on students in class besides asking for volunteers. I may also give periodic, un-announced quizzes.

Make-up exams are allowed only under extraordinary circumstances and at the sole discretion of Professor Singh.

It is important that you familiarize yourself with the University Code of Conduct governing exams and the associated penalties for using unauthorized and/or unfair methods. If you violate this code of conduct you will fail this class and you may be subject to additional disciplinary actions.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Surinder Singh
Date: 07/17/2012