International Business

Challenges in a Changing World

by Janet Morrison

Web-based assignments

Web-based assignments will be available to support each chapter. These are designed to help develop your research skills and give you a chance to apply the knowledge you have learned.  Lecturers, please note that the lecturer manual includes notes on the web-based assignments.

Chapter 1: Ericsson as a global company

Aims of the exercise

  • To become familiar with navigation on corporate websites

  • To identify key features of Ericsson’s corporate governance

  • To assess Ericsson’s global corporate strategy and CSR profile
Getting started
Go to Ericsson’s homepage at www.ericsson.com. Here you will find links to a wide variety of information about the company. To gain an overall picture of the company, browse several of these links on different topics. On some topics, there are numerous further links, which give a variety of information.

Ericsson’s website highlights a number of topics that are relevant to students of international business, including links to investors, technology and CSR. In the ‘investors’ section you will find links of particular interest for this chapter. These include corporate governance and corporate responsibility. There is also a link to annual reports. The annual report of any company contains a wealth of information, often making it a rather long and seemingly unwieldy document. Rather than try to read it from start to finish, go to selected topics (often the same as offered in the investors’ menu).

Tasks
Answer the following questions based on information provided on Ericsson’s website.

A. Corporate governance
  1. Looking at the ‘investors’ section of the Ericsson site, what are the principles governing Ericsson’s corporate governance? You will find that Ericsson has a single-tier board with union representatives, making it a hybrid of the two models described in Chapter 1. What are the benefits (or drawbacks) of this arrangement? How international is the board of directors?

  2. Ericsson has a dual share structure of Class A and Class B shares. What are the differences between these two classes, and what is the purpose of this structure?
B. Ericsson as a global company
  1. Looking at Ericsson’s 2007 annual report, what are the company’s key strategic goals? What growing markets is it stressing?

  2. Turn to information on the group management team in the annual report (also under group management team under investors). How international are the top executives?

  3. Return to the homepage and follow links which describe the joint venture Sony Ericsson. How does this joint venture fit into the overall strategy?

  4. What do you learn about Ericsson’s CSR strategy and activities from the website, and what is the contribution made by Sony Ericsson?
C. Reflection
  1. Having looked at various aspects of Ericsson as a company and its businesses around the world, in what ways are you impressed favourably by this company? You will have noticed that careers are one of the headings – would you be interested in working for Ericsson?

Chapter 2: World investment prospects

Aims of the exercise

  • To use UN web resources on international business

  • To gain up-to-date understanding of world investment trends based on UN research

  • To identify the factors affecting investment decisions in different regions
Getting started
Go to the home page of UNCTAD (the UN Conference on Trade and Development) at www.unctad.org. In addition to the topics covered by the site, you will find a list of available documents for public access. Click on ‘World Investment Prospects Survey 2008-10’, which will open a pdf file. This survey presents findings of UNCTAD’s panel of experts based on responses of organizations to questionnaires in every region. There is an executive summary at the beginning listing the main findings. These are discussed more fully in the chapters that follow. Read Chapters 1 and 2.

Note that the UN uses the term ‘TNC’ (transnational corporation), which is approximately equivalent to the term ‘MNE’.

Tasks
Answer the following questions about the World Investment Prospects Survey 2008–10.

A. In relation to Chapter 1 of the Survey
  1. Financial crisis is highlighted as a negative factor in companies’ plans for international investment. However, the survey found that the trend towards internationalization is continuing. Why?

  2. What are the main risk factors in FDI decisions at present?
B. In relation to Chapter 2 of the Survey
  1. What are the main factors which influence TNCs in making investment decisions in particular regions?

  2. Compare the EU 15 (and other European countries) with the new EU 12 in terms of attraction to investors.

  3. What are the main factors which attract investors to developing countries? Compare the attractions of South, East and South-East Asia to Sub-Saharan Africa.

  4. Look at Box 4, p. 25, on specific modes of entry by host region. What are its main conclusions?
C. Reflection
  1. To what extent does some optimism emerge from this survey, despite the negative effects of financial crisis and uncertainty? In your view, which regions will have the greater cause to feel optimistic over FDI prospects over the period?

Chapter 3: Promoting enterprise and small businesses in the UK

Aims of the exercise

  • To use resources available on government websites

  • To understand and appreciate government perspectives on promoting entrepreneurial activities in the UK

  • To critically examine the government’s assessment of enterprise issues and their recommendations for promoting entrepreneurial activity
Getting started
Each government department has its own website, providing an overview, access to relevant documents and updated information on what the department is doing. In the UK, business affairs are now handled by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), which was formerly the Department of Trade and Industry. Go to the BERR homepage at www.berr.gov.uk and then click the following links:
  • Under ‘What we do’, you will find a list of topics. Click on ‘Enterprise and business support’

  • Select the topic ‘Enterprise and small business’

  • Under ‘related links’, click on ‘Enterprise: Unlocking the UK’s talent’, which is the page for the UK government’s enterprise strategy.
The new strategy document, released on 12 March 2008 as a supplement to the Budget, is available on this site. Note that the document is published by HM Treasury, indicating its roots in economic policy. Various pdf downloads are available. The main document is long, and for our purposes, the summary is sufficient (it is 37 pages long). Click on ‘Summary’, to download the document.

Tasks
Read the Summary of Enterprise: Unlocking the UK’s talent. The questions which follow are based on this summary.

A. Questions
  1. Chapter 1 (the introduction) speaks of progress and challenges in improving the UK’s level of entrepreneurial activity. What are the main weaknesses that emerge, which the government is trying to address?

  2. What are the five ‘enablers’ highlighted by the document, which will underpin the enterprise strategy? Look at the policy initiatives proposed for each one. In which of these areas do you feel the government is best placed to make a positive impact, and in which do you feel there is little the government can do?
  3. Look at Chapter 6, on Business Innovation. In what ways has the UK been weak in innovation? Do these proposals sufficiently address the weaknesses? Note that, although the rise in innovation among SMEs is cited as a substantial improvement under ‘Progress’ (p. 29), it was pointed out on p. 6 that the percentage of SME employers who have undertaken product or service innovations had risen from 32% in 2005 to 48% in 2006 – still quite low.

  4. What issues are highlighted in Chapter 7, on the ‘wider benefits’ of enterprise? To what extent are these issues part of a wider picture of UK society?
B. Reflection
  1. Recall that the UK country focus feature in this chapter highlighted instances where well-intended government initiatives with eye-catching titles seemed not to lead to the long term, substantial changes which were needed. To what extent does this document, in your view, represent a similar approach? If you ran a small business in the UK, which of these proposals would you consider the most welcome, and why?

Chapter ​4: Comparing organizational cultures

Aims of the exercise

  • To gain a picture of a company’s culture and values from its corporate website

  • To compare organizational cultures of companies from differing cultural environments, based on the content available on their websites

  • To form general conclusions about how a company’s values are presented or emerge indirectly from its website
Getting started
This exercise concerns two companies: EDF of France and Coca-Cola of the US. The focus will be on their corporate websites, where they explain what they do, their histories, careers information, shareholder information, CSR policies and their mission/values. Both these companies also provide information on their global operations. The two websites are: Note that these websites do not provide marketing information on the companies’ products: marketing/product information is provided on separate websites, which can help in learning what they are like as organizations.

Tasks
Look at the information under the various topics on the two websites, and then answer the following questions.

A. Questions
 
(i) employees

(ii) customers

(iii) the environment

(iv) the shareholders

(v) the organization itself



 
Some hints for answering this question:
  • You will find that EDF is 85% state owned. How does this affect the above topics?

  • Helpful information can be found in the topics listed under Careers.

  • Each of these companies has international affiliates. How do they differ in their approach to these partner companies?

  • From the information you have seen on their websites, would you like to work for either EDF or Coca-Cola, and why?
  1. What is the single most prominent feature about the company that you feel the website of each company is projecting?

  2. Describe the main values and culture of EDF and Coca-Cola, as presented in their web materials. In particular, how do they value
B. Reflection
  1. It is sometimes said that corporate websites present too ‘rosy’ a picture of the company. For example, it has become commonplace for companies to use similar terminology in stressing their values. The effect is that they appear to be similar when, in practice, they differ markedly. To what extent can this observation be applied to the two companies in this exercise?


Chapter 5: Spotlight on China - the Olympics and beyond

Aims of the exercise

  • To become familiar with internet resources in the areas of political commentary and analysis

  • To identify the issues and challenges currently facing the Chinese leadership, especially in the context of the extensive media coverage of the Olympics

  • To gain insight into changes taking place in China and their political implications, both within the country and internationally
Getting started
Information about China abounds on the internet, especially in light of the Olympics of August 2008. This exercise focuses on articles about China which have appeared on the website www.opendemocracy.net. On this website you will find articles by academic authorities on the political environment in a vast range of countries. Their underlying theme is progress towards democracy, but they discuss a wide range of related political issues. A quick search on the site under ‘China’ will show a number of articles. In each, there are links to other relevant articles on particular topics, as well as references to books and other articles. The articles are all relatively short and easy to read. This exercise is centred on a few specific articles, but by following the links you will find many other interesting insights from a range of authors.

Tasks
Look at the following articles on the opendemocracy website:
 
  • Wasserstrom, Jeffrey, ‘One, two of many Chinas?’, 19 February 2008.

  • Brown, Kerry, ‘Beijing’s political tight-rope walk’, 13 March 2008.

  • Brown, Kerry, ‘China changes itself: an Olympics report’, 20 August 2008.

  • Brown, Kerry, ‘China’s nervous transition’, 22 September 2008.

  • Wasserstrom, Jeffrey, ‘China’s long march to modernisation’, 8 October 200
Now, answer the following questions.

A. Questions
  1. Wasserstrom takes issue with those who view China as an all-encompassing state. He refers to this view as ‘totalitarian’, which is often used to describe dictatorships based on ideology. He also criticizes those who view China as dualistic, with extreme contrasts (for example, between rural and urban inhabitants). Describe his perspective on China, and state how his approach would be relevant to international business.

  2. What aspects of China were particularly evident in the Olympics? What do they reveal about China’s political system?

  3. What challenges are currently facing China? How do the authors of these articles see these challenges as creating strains within the political system?

  4. Looking at Brown’s article of 22 September 2008, why is China’s transition described as ‘nervous’?

B. Reflection
  1. It was often said during China’s hosting of the Olympics that politics should be kept separate from sport. On the other hand, China’s leaders went to extraordinary lengths to present a favourable picture of a modern country, showcasing the achievements of the regime. Much media publicity in the West, however, focused on the clamping down on dissent and demonstrations. In your view, did the world spotlight on China in the Olympics show the country in a favourable light, in a poor light, or a mixture of the two? Explain your reasons.

Chapter 6: The EU and preferential trade

Aims of the exercise

  • To utilize the EU’s web resources for research on specific issues

  • To gain insight into the principles and policies which underpin the EU ‘s external trade links

  • To critically examine the EU’s trade policy with developing countries, assessing its goals and means of achieving them
Getting started
The EU provides a wealth of resources through its Europa gateway at http://europa.eu/index_en.htm. Under ‘Activities’, you will find ‘External Trade’. Click on this link. Under ‘Commission’ on this site, click on ‘Trade’. Here you will find activities, topics and documents. Under ‘trade issues’, click on ‘EU and global trade’. This website is http://ec.europa.eu/trade/issues/global/index. Here you will find ‘Generalised System of Preference’ (GSP), which is the main topic of this exercise. Read through the description of this trade system. (Note that ‘EC’, which stands for ‘European Community’, is often used instead of EU, reflecting legal terminology. For most purposes, ‘EU’ is used.)

Tasks

A. Questions

From information on these pages, answer the following questions:
  1. What are the aims of the Generalised System of Preference (GSP) and the GSP+? (Note the provisions in the update of 8 December 2008.) How do these programmes relate to the Everything but Arms initiative?

  2. In your view, are these programmes the best means of achieving their stated goals? How does EU policy differ from the policy of the Chinese government, discussed in Strategic Crossroads 6.1?

  3. Azerbaijan, which is the subject of the opening vignette of this chapter, is one of the recent additions to the GSP+ programme. What impact will this have on its exporters?
B. Reflection
  1. The tariff reductions specified in these arrangements are linked to sustainable development and good governance. To qualify, countries must have ratified numerous international conventions on human rights, labour rights and the environment. In fact, a number of these have not been ratified by major trading nations. Furthermore, it could be argued that mere ratification does not guarantee their observance in practice. But these requirements do set hurdles for would-be country recipients of preferential trade treatment. To what extent do these hurdles serve substantive purposes, or act simply as obstacles to these poor countries qualifying for preferential treatment?

Chapter 7: Nissan as a global and local company

Aims of the exercise

  • To become acquainted with the nature and extent of Nissan’s global operations and strategy through its web resources

  • To assess Nissan’s corporate goals and organizational structure in global and national markets

  • To critically examine the Renault-Nissan alliance in the global competitive context
Getting started
Go to Nissan’s global website at www.nissan-global.com. Take some time to explore the various aspects of its business and organization, in both Japan and overseas. Note the contents of the social contribution elements, including corporate citizenship and environment. Note also the section on technological developments. The Annual Report of 2008 is available in the ‘investors’ section. Different sections of the report can be downloaded separately.

Tasks

A. Questions

Looking at the information provided across the website, answer the following questions:
  1. What are Nissan’s strategic priorities at present?

  2. How does CSR fit into its strategy?

  3. Looking at the different activities which take place in Nissan’s various locations across the world, assess the parent company’s position in terms of firm-based competencies and outsourcing. To what extent is Nissan run centrally from Japan?
  4. Nissan’s alliance with Renault (highlighted in CS7.2) is addressed. What are the benefits for each company from the alliance??
B. Reflection
  1. What is your overall impression of the Nissan global website? Does it seem Japan-focused, as Japanese companies are reputed to be, or is it more broadly stakeholder oriented?
  2. Carmakers are likely to suffer from economic downturn, as demand falls across the globe. You will have seen Nissan’s recent data on falling sales in its website. In your view, is Nissan well placed to cope with deteriorating economic data in major markets which they have targeted, and if so, how?

Chapter 8: Unilever brands target all markets

Aims of the exercise

  • To become familiar with Unilever’s portfolio of brands and their markets

  • To gain insight into Unilever’s marketing strategy through its web content

  • To critically assess the ways in which Unilever presents its brands on its website
Getting started
Go to Unilever’s main website at www.unilever.com Look at a few of the pages under each of the main headings on its home page. This exercise will focus mainly on the heading ‘our brands’. Note there is an interactive element. You can vote on your favourite brand and vote on what most influences your choice of food (taste, price, healthy options, calories). The ‘brands worldwide’ map features interesting stories about the company’s brands, old and new. Look at the advertising section of this site.

Tasks

A. Questions

 
Bertolli pasta sauces

Lynx touch

Rama – growing up Poland



 
Now, answer the following questions about each video you have seen:
  • What is the main message of this video?
  • What cultural elements stand out? Are they linked to local or global aspects of lifestyle and consumer behaviour?
  • Is their an ethical aspect of this advertisement? If so, how has the marketing message taken it into account?
  • Is Unilever more local or more global in putting across its brands? Or do you feel it has the balance about right?
  1. Look at Unilever’s core brands in each division: food, personal care and home care. Do they all reflect a global brand which unites them, or do they seem to be separate?

  2. The web pages on advertising offer video clips of some of the company’s advertisements. Watch a few of them. They are likely to change from time to time. Here are some which were available when this exercise was written:
B. Reflection

Unilever is one of the world’s largest consumer products companies, making a huge range of products which are consumed or designed for personal use.
  1. Would you expect such a company to have a strong CSR stance, especially on sustainable development?
  2. How does Unilever meet this challenge??

Chapter 9: McDonald's, the employer

Aims of the exercise

  • To gain an overview of McDonald’s corporate website

  • To discern the key elements of McDonald’s culture and practices as an employer as presented on its website

  • To assess McDonald’s as an employer, including its attempts to deal with its critics
Getting started
Go to McDonald’s corporate website, at www.mcdonalds.com/corp. Here you will find a number of major headings, including ‘our values’ and ‘careers’. These will be the focus of this assignment. Click on ‘Our values’, which features ‘Values in practice’. Under ‘about’, click on ‘employment experience’, then ‘making people a priority’. On this page, there is a commendation of McDonald’s as a great place to work. Click on ‘read more’. This piece is entitled, ‘At the front counter – engaged and committed employees.’ Read this piece. By this time, you will probably be forming an impression of McDonald’s as an employer.

Tasks

A. Questions
  1. In the piece entitled, ‘At the front counter – engaged and committed employees’, what is said about benefits to employees? Would they be attractive to you as an employee?

  2. How does McDonald’s dispel the McJobs image? Do you feel this is successful?

Now, go back to home page of McDonald’s Corporation. Under ‘Careers’, click on ‘Hamburger University’, and answer the following questions:
  1. Looking at the Hamburger University information, what does it tell you about the training offered? Is the training targeted specifically at employment in McDonald’s or for skills which are useful in a range of potential jobs?

  2. How internationalized is Hamburger University in its perspective and operations?

B. Reflection

There is a good deal of information about McDonald’s as a company on the website – information which does not receive the amount of media publicity as the items which focus on the company’s food. However, McDonald’s has been the subject of criticism for the McJobs image.
  1. Do you feel that McDonald’s has responded effectively to the critics?
  2. Would you consider a career with McDonald’s?

Chapter 10: Finding out about logistics with DHL

Aims of the exercise

  • To become familiar with the scope of DHL’s operations globally

  • To appreciate the differing functions involved in logistics management

  • To learn about the background, trends and challenges of logistics management
Getting started
Go to DHL’s global website at www.dhl.com/publish/g0/en.high.html. Click on ‘About DHL’. Various topics can be accessed, including ‘our history’ and ‘DHL network’. Read a few of these sections, to gain an overview of the company, which was founded in the US and is now owned by Deutsche Post of Germany. A link on the home page is entitled, ‘Discover Logistics’. Here you will find a link to ‘Logbook – the interactive logistics compendium’, which is the focus of this exercise.

Tasks

A. Questions

Click on ‘open compendium’. Here there is a list of topics. Under each of these topics you will find short articles, with cross-references to other sources and a list of further reading at the end. The last item is a test for you to do.

The exercise is to read the articles under at least one, and preferably two, of these topics. The first is Origin and Definition of Terms. The second is Trends and Challenges. While you need not follow up the further reading, it would be helpful to do so. You can come back to this compendium and do further exercises. Do the test under each topic. If you got any answers wrong, follow up the lead to where the correct answer is located.

B. Reflection
 
  1. These exercises were designed to be a helpful and interesting interactive introduction to logistics management. Of course, DHL would like to think that this type of educational content gives a positive impression of their company, as well as helping people to appreciate the important role of logistics. Did you find the exercises interesting and informative, and did it help to form a favourable impression of the company?

Chapter 11: Financial markets at risk

Aims of the exercise

  • To gain an overview the functions of the World Federation of Exchanges

  • To better understand how stock exchanges operate

  • To grasp the main points of a research paper on volatility in share prices, and consider these in the context of current market volatility
Getting started
Go to the website of the World Federation of Exchanges at www.world-exchanges.org. Begin by finding out its functions under ‘About WFE’. Then click on ‘Reports’. Under Reports, click on ‘Focus’, which is the organization’s monthly review. Under Focus Special Editions, click on ‘Market Structure and statistics: getting the whole picture?’ Here there is a pdf to download. Download this report.

This pdf is the Focus edition of November 2008. The first item, on page 4, is the WFE workshop on market structure and statistics, which begins with an article by Professor Robert A. Schwarz, entitled ‘Markets at risk’. It is mainly about the US exchanges. This is an academic paper, which contains a number of technical terms from the world of finance. Although some of the terminology might look daunting, the author writes clearly and defines key terms. His aim is to explore volatility in share prices on stock exchanges. This is a highly relevant topic in today’s turbulent markets.

Tasks

A. Questions

Read this article and answer the following questions:
  1. What does the analogy with the ant tell us about financial markets?
  2. Schwarz refers the contrast of ‘Wall Street v. Main Street’. This is a phrase which is often used in media reports, comparing the New York financial district (Wall Street) with the ‘real’ economy. What is the relationship between the two, in the author’s view?
  3. What are the areas of risk and uncertainty that the author highlights?
  4. The author stresses that he believes in the efficiency of markets, but also the need for stability. He cites two areas, regulatory intervention and market structure, in which reforms can bring greater stability. Why are these two factors critical in today’s markets?


B. Reflection
 
  1. The volatility of share prices is a risk for listed companies, some of which have seen steep falls in their share prices, simply because of market volatility and not because of any weakness in the company or its governance. This could well lead companies to rethink their capital structures, or even attempt to de-list and go private. If you were a chief finance officer of a large company, what would you advise the CEO in these circumstances?

Chapter 12: Research and innovation at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

Aims of the exercise

  • To gain an overview of research, including its relevance to global corporate strategy, at GSK

  • To appreciate the competitive environment that this – and other – pharmaceutical companies experience

  • To assess R&D strategic goals and their implementation at GSK
Getting started
Go to website of GlaxoSmithKline at www.gsk.com. Here you will find a number of topics in a menu. They include ‘About us’, ‘our products’ and ‘Research and development’. Under ‘About us’, click on ‘strategy’. Here you will find a strategic update document of 26 July 2008, entitled, ‘GSK sets out new strategic priorities’. Read this document. Go back to the home page, and click on the topic, ‘Research and development’. Click on ‘about R&D’. Note the diverse worldwide locations.

Tasks

A. Questions
 
  1. Looking at the strategy statement, you will see that GSK’s strategy includes growing a diversified business and delivering products of value. What specifically do they mean by these broad goals? How do these goals reflect the current competitive environment for pharmaceutical companies?
On the ‘Research and development’ home page, click on ‘Collaborations and partnerships’, and read the general introduction. You will find links to CEEDD and ‘Innovation at GSK’, for more details of collaborations. Now, answer the following questions:
  1. Why are GSK scientists collaborating with outsiders? What do they hope to gain?
  2. What is the purpose of CEEDD (Centre for excellence in external drug discovery)? How does GSK visualize ‘risk/reward sharing’?
  3. You will note that GSK produce a number of well-known over-the-counter products. How does consumer healthcare fit in with GSK’s strategic priorities?
B. Reflection
 
  1. Reflect on your overall impression of research and innovation at GSK. The company presents itself as a leading research-based company, but it also produces a range of everyday consumer products such as paracetamol tablets. Is its strategy lacking focus, and are its activities spread too thinly across too wide a range of areas?

Chapter 13: Spotlight on BHP Billiton's sustainable development performance

Aims of the exercise

  • To gain an overview of BHP Billiton’s global activities and goals.

  • To assess the company’s sustainable development policies and practices in light of its goals

  • To consider the implications of mining operations generally in terms of their environmental impacts
Getting started
Go to BHP Billiton’s main website at www.bhpbilliton.com. Here there are several main topics in a menu. To find out about the diversity of the company’s activities, click on ‘Our businesses’. Under this heading, click on several of the different activities, to see what they are doing and where. Note especially energy coal, metallurgical coal and stainless steel materials. Go back to the main topics and click on ‘Sustainable development’. Note that the strategy focuses on health, safety, environment and community (HSEC), which is referred to throughout the company’s materials.

There are two elements on this page which we will highlight. The first is ‘2008 at a glance’, under which you will find HSEC targets scorecard. Look at this scorecard. Note in particular the sections on ‘zero harm’ and ‘environment’. The second element on the Sustainable development main page is the 2008 Sustainability Report. Although it would be good to read the whole report, for this exercise, you need only read the summary, which is a downloadable pdf file. In it, there is also a copy of the HSEC scorecard. Under Environmental Responsibility in this report, note the section on page 14 on environmental incidents. Note the targets the company has set for reductions in emissions, together with their performance for 2008.

Tasks

A. Questions
 
  1. On the scorecard under ‘2008 at a glance’, the ‘zero harm’ policy would seem to be a high standard, especially in a huge mining company. The scorecard indicates no serious incidents in 2008, rated at 3 or above. Click on the guide to rating incidents. Now look at the section on environmental incidents on page 14 of the Sustainability Report, where you will find that there were 40 incidents which had the ‘potential to cause significant environmental harm’. How accurate and transparent is the company in its reporting of environmental incidents? Clearly, many incidents had potential for harm, but this is left vague in the ‘at a glance’ section.
  2. What are the company’s targets for reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases? Would you consider these targets sufficient to assure the public that it is doing enough to combat climate change?
  3. In fact, the company’s emissions went up in 2008. How would you react to this?
  4. Look at page 15 of the report, where there is an item on ‘Managing our impact in Indonesia’. Here, the company is developing coal mining in an area ‘world renowned for its biodiversity’. What is the justification for mining here at all? Would you be satisfied that their efforts to co-operate with environmental NGOs and other steps they are taking, make this project appropriate as sustainable development?
B. Reflection
 
  1. In what ways are you favourably impressed by:
    • (i) BHP Billiton’s scorecard?
    • (ii) the company’s performance?
  2. In what ways would you criticize their approach to presenting their environmental record?
  3. What recommendations would you make to the company in terms of strategy and presentation?


Chapter 14: Comparing CSR approaches: Accenture and GrupoNueva

Aims of the exercise

  • To identify differing approaches to CSR and corporate citizenship

  • To compare two contrasting companies in respect of CSR

  • To draw conclusions on key aspects of CSR goals and strategies which will be of aid in assessing CSR performance in other companies
Getting started
Both these companies are featured in case studies, SX 14.1 on Accenture and CS 14.1 on GrupoNueva. Read these case studies before doing this exercise. Go to GrupoNueva’s homepage at www.gruponueva.com. Read the summaries under the different topics listed, including vision and values, governance and business strategy. Now go to the homepage of Accenture, at www.accenture.com. Here you will also find topics listed. Look at the summaries under these topics. The topic, ‘About Accenture’ contains a variety of information, including Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Governance. Look at some of these entries.

Tasks

A. Questions
 
  1. Compare Accenture and GrupoNueva on the following topics:
    • (i) Values and goals. Note that Accenture does not mention CSR, but speaks of corporate citizenship. Is this just another way of saying CSR, or does this difference in terminology represent a different approach?
    • (ii) Business strategies
    • (iii) Corporate governance
  2. Now, summarize your findings. Which of these companies would you consider to be closer to a CSR perspective?
  3. Cite your evidence from material on the corporate websites.
B. Reflection
 
  1. In what respect is the contrast between these two companies most obvious?
  2. What is the main message which Accenture is emphasizing on its home page?
  3. You will have noticed the theme of Tiger Woods, the golfer, on the Accenture website. In your view, how does this enhance (or weaken) the company’s image?


Chapter 15: A new global financial order?

Aims of the exercise

  • To gain an inside view of the IMF’s activities from its Managing Director

  • To critically assess the IMF’s role in global financial regulation

  • To consider the proposed reforms of the IMF in the light of the current global financial situation
Getting started
Go to the IMF website at www.imf.org. Here, click on the topic, ‘What the IMF does’. On this page, click on ‘Emerging markets’. Here there are a number of feature items. Click on the one entitled, ‘World faces deepening crisis, IMF chief warns’, of 21 January 2009. This is an article based on an interview with the Managing Director, Dominque Strauss-Kahn, by the BBC.

Tasks

A. Questions

Having read the article, answer the following questions:
  1. What are the aspects of the IMF’s role in global governance which are apparent from this article?
  2. In his recommendations for financial recovery, which elements are for governments and which are matters in which the IMF has a key role? In what ways can they work together?
In the section, ‘Stimulus key to recovery’, click on the link ‘has recommended’, which takes you to a speech delivered by the Managing Director, on ‘The IMF and its future’, delivered on the 15th December 2008. Read the speech and answer the following questions:
  1. How does he see the IMF’s role in the ‘new financial architecture’?
  2. Assess the importance of the role of identifying and giving warnings of impending financial problems. He seems to view the IMF’s role as becoming more proactive in this function. Do you agree with him, and why?
  3. What is the role of the G-20 process in global governance?

B. Reflection
 
  1. In what respects have you gained a fuller picture of the role of the IMF? ?
  2. To what extent is the Managing Director responding to criticisms of the IMF and acknowledging the need for reform of its structures and processes?