Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module BUSI4M410: International Business in Context (Taught)

Department: Management and Marketing

BUSI4M410: International Business in Context (Taught)

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap None.
Tied to N1T717
Tied to N1T817


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To contribute to the overall aims of the programme by developing students' awareness of business and management issues in an international context, and their ability to function effectively in the global business environment.
  • To visit leading international companies and to understand and evaluate the complex nature of different dimensions of their business in one overseas country.
  • To recognise and value the role of national culture in the way business operates.
  • To compare and contrast organisations on a specific dimension (e.g. strategy, finance, operations, HRM).
  • To develop students' research skills through the production of a detailed case study of leading international organisations, based on desk research prior to the tour and primary research conducted during the tour.


  • The module delivery is divided into four parts:
  • 1) Prior to the tour, students will be provided with online material covering the most relevant international business frameworks. These will allow students to understand how internationalised companies operate in international contexts. The frameworks will also allow students to understand the companies that they will visit on their international study tour.
  • 2) The pre-tour preparation: there will be two preparatory webinars for the students prior to the tour.
  • 3) A week-long international study tour to a specified destination (previous tours have been based in Beijing, Mannheim and Barcelona). This will include visits to a range of organisations.
  • 4) Post-tour debriefing. There will be an online debriefing session following the tour. Each student will submit an individual learning journal (2,000 words) detailing their own reflections on the experience, how studying the international frameworks and the business culture of the country they visited helped them during the tour, what they personally learnt on the tour, and how they will make use of this experience and knowledge (i.e. the 'reflective practitioner' activity). The debriefing session will help students with this task. Students will also submit an international business case analysis.
  • Subject Content:
  • Introduction to International Business in Context
  • Cultural environment on international business
  • Ethics in international business
  • Theories of international trade and investment
  • Political and legal systems in national environment
  • Global market opportunity assessment
  • Entering and operating in international markets
  • Marketing in the global firm
  • Human resource management and financial management in the global firm

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Upon successful completion of the module, the students should have a critical understanding of:
  • How businesses operate in an overseas context.
  • How to use the existing strategic models to make decisions in companies operating in the international context.
  • Environmental forces that shape companies' decisions in international markets.
  • Effects of their strategic decisions on the company performance.
  • How to develop capabilities for strategic combination of resources in companies and its influence on international performance.
  • How international business frameworks can be used to analyse real organisations’ options in international contexts.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Upon successful completion of the module, the students should have:
  • Acquired the skills to put organisational theory into practice.
  • Developed skills in desk research and primary research associated with the production of business plans and analysis of business case studies/simulations.
  • The ability to appreciate the concept of a ‘reflective practitioner’ and to reflect critically on organisations, as a way of learning and developing.
Key Skills:
  • Effective written communication skills
  • Planning, organising and time-management skills
  • Problem solving and analysis

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • This module comprises a mix of online delivery, webinars and international study tour. All students will be expected to engage in class discussion and debate in order to facilitate the formation of their critical judgments.
  • The summative assessment consists of two individual assignments: an international business case analysis of 1000 words, and a reflective learning journal of 2000 words.
  • For the international business case analysis, students will be required to make decisions in an international context regarding entry strategies, market analysis, product, pricing, distribution and communication in relation to the global company they analyse, allowing students to learn from their own experience, and put into practice the concepts they have discussed during the module.
  • The individual learning journal, based around the company visits and accompanying strategic analysis exercise, will test students’ capacity for ‘reflective practitioner’ insights.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Webinars (including tour debrief) 3 1 hour 3
Preparatory online activity 7 7
Tour and company visits 5 8 hours 40
Reading, project work and preparation 50
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Individual Assignment Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
International Business Case Analysis 1000 words 100% Individual essay 1000 words
Component: Individual Assignment Component Weighting: 70%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Individual reflective learning journal 2000 words 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

Students will individually produce a 1500-word formative assignment based on desk research one month before the tour, focusing on the companies and countries they will visit. They will receive feedback on this prior to the tour, and it will help in preparing their summative individual learning journal.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University