Managing Across Borders



Fall 2013; 3 credit course


Dr. Hui Liao and Dr. Bennet Zelner

The course “Managing Across Borders” provides foundational knowledge and tools to recognize, assess, and manage the micro- and macro-organizational influences shaping national business environments. The class will examine the challenges of leading and coordinating with individuals from culturally diverse settings, as well as the broader challenges that cross-national differences in the social, political, and economic institutions pose for firms and managers. The macro analysis and component would provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to properly interpret and assess the formal (political, regulatory, and legal structures) and informal institutions (shared values, beliefs, and norms) governing a country’s business environment.

This course is highly recommended for participants in the BUSI788/798 modules abroad for the Smith Experience.

Specific learning objectives include the following:

  • Learn to identify the salient features of a country’s social, political, and economic institutions.
  • Understand the importance of acquiring a “social license to operate” from various stakeholder groups in addition to the formal rights and permissions acquired from government.
  • Recognize the pros and cons of adapting business models and strategies to host-country institutional contexts
  • Acquire tools for designing and implementing business strategies to address the institutional idiosyncrasies of different country settings.
  • Understand the role of multilateral institutions (e.g., the World Bank and the WTO) as the IFC and WTO as well as the frictions these are sometimes perceived to create in emerging markets.
  • Know why and how individuals from different cultures react differently to similar managerial practices and work systems.
  • Gain insight into cross-cultural differences that affect leadership and interpersonal interactions such as communication, negotiation, conflict resolution and teamwork, and enhance cultural intelligence.
  • Learn to effectively design, implement, and manage multinational/global teams.
  • Know the factors contributing to effective expatriate adaptation and performance.
  • Understand when and why human capital management systems (e.g., selection, training, performance management, and types of incentives) remain effective across culturally diverse settings, and when they do not.
  • Become familiar with the institutional attributes of specific emerging markets, and with the cultural characteristics of specific emerging markets, including the country selected for the Smith Experience class during the subsequent winter break.