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The Global Business Environment

Meeting the Challenges, third edition

by Janet Morrison

Critical themes

At the beginning of each chapter, relevant critical themes are flagged up: these are intended to promote critical thinking, and to highlight recurring issues which confront international managers. These themes are not to be seen in isolation: in this text, as in real business situations, they are likely to appear in clusters, and their interrelationships are illuminating. In The Global Business Environment, 8 critical themes are explored:

  • Multi-layered environment – Businesses operate in an external environment which includes local communities, regions within countries, sovereign states, regional groupings of states and international groupings. Managing interactions in this increasingly complex international environment depends on understanding the dynamics of each.

  • Multi-dimensional environment – Dimensions of the business environment include political, legal, economic, cultural, technological, financial and ecological. A separate chapter is devoted to each of these dimensions, and interactions are highlighted within each.

  • Role of the state – States are now playing more active roles in business and society contexts than ever before, in both the developed world and developing countries. In some countries, this represents a radical departure from traditional views of what governments should be doing. Their impacts, both direct and indirect, are highlighted throughout the book.

  • Emerging economies – Why single out emerging economies when the large western economies and Japan have been influential for longer in international business? Emerging economies, notably the Bric economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are catching up fast, and are now the greatest source of growth in the global economy. Their companies and governments are growing in confidence and economic power in international business, and their societies are the fastest-growing markets for consumer products.

  • Changing societies – This theme echoes that of diversity among societies of earlier editions. However, we widen the focus to taken in changes taking place in developing countries, often due to globalization processes.

  • Globalization of industries – Globalization remains a dominant theme, highlighted here by industries driven by global production networks. Many are highlighted specifically in the new feature, Exploring the Business Environment.

  • International risks – Events in recent years have demonstrated the risks in globalized business activities across a range of sectors. Finance is perhaps the most prominent, as the global financial crisis 2008 alerted businesses and governments of the risks of volatility in globalized markets. But there are others, such as food and commodities, which will also come under the spotlight in the chapters.

  • Corporate social responsibility(CSR) and sustainability – These topics are typically dealt with in separate chapters of business environment texts, and this book is no exception. However, these themes are now seen as core in business strategy, particularly in interactions with consumers and employees worldwide. Hence, these themes are introduced in Chapter 1, and run through the entire text. There is a grid at the end of this introduction, showing which themes feature most prominently in which chapters.

Critical themes by chapter:

Chapter 1
Introduction to the business
enterprise

Critical themes in this chapter:
• Multi-layered environment
• Multi-dimensional environment
• Emerging economies
• International risks
• CSR and sustainability

Chapter 2
Globalization and the business
environment

Critical themes in this chapter:
• Multi-layered environment
• Emerging economies
• Changing societies
• Globalization of industries

Chapter 3
National economies in the global
environment

Critical themes in this chapter:
• Multi-layered environment
• Multi-dimensional environment
• Role of the state
• Emerging economies

Chapter 4
International trade and global
competition

Critical themes in this chapter:
• Multi-layered environment
• Role of the state
• Emerging economies

Chapter 5
Strategies in a globalized world

Critical themes in this chapter:
• Role of the state
• Emerging economies
• Globalization of industries
• International risks

Chapter 6
Cultural and social environments

Critical themes in this chapter:
• Multi-layered environment
• Multi-dimensional environment
• Emerging economies
• Changing societies

Chapter 7
The political environment

Critical themes in this chapter:
• Multi-layered environment
• Multi-dimensional environment
• Role of the state
• International risks

Chapter 8
The legal environment

Critical themes in this chapter:
• Multi-layered environment
• Role of the state
• International risks
• CSR and sustainability

Chapter 9
Financial markets

Critical themes in this chapter:
• Multi-layered environment
• Role of the state
• Globalization of industries
• International risks
• CSR and sustainability

Chapter 10
Technology and innovation

Critical themes in this chapter:
• Multi-layered environment
• Multi-dimensional environment
• Role of the state
• Emerging economies
• Globalization of industries

Chapter 11
Ecology and climate change

Critical themes in this chapter:
• Multi-layered environment
• Role of the state
• Emerging economies
• Changing societies
• CSR and sustainability

Chapter 12
Ethics and social responsibility

Critical themes in this chapter:
• Multi-layered environment
• Changing societies
• Globalization of industries
• CSR and sustainability

Chapter 13
Critical themes in perspective

Critical themes in this chapter:
• Multi-layered environment
• Multi-dimensional environment
• Role of the state
• Emerging economies
• Changing societies
• Globalization of industries
• International risks
• CSR and sustainability