A letter from our authors...

Dear Colleagues

The global economy is a rapidly changing and often little understood phenomenon. Multinational enterprises are key institutions in the international economy and they, too, are developing and changing in tandem with their global environment.This dynamic context makes an up-to-date, practical and transparent analysis of the strategy of multinational enterprises and their impact vital to understanding the economic, social and political changes around us. International Business presents a coherent, theory-grounded analysis of all aspects of the modern networked multinational firm and its external impacts.

Multinational firms have become “global factories”, networked institutions, linking a constellation of independent firms, guided and controlled by a nexus of information flows. This framework enables a comprehensive analysis of the institutional, political, social and cultural impact of global factories on the world. The formulation and implementation of strategies across the global factory, and its current and future changes are central to the understanding of global futures.

The central concept that unites the book is the global factory. This is a comprehensive structure that focuses on the internalisation decisions of the firm and its outsourcing strategies. The global factory’s locational choices affect jobs, exports and imports, and the division of world activity between nations, regions and cities. The components of this strategy – the marketing, financing, production and service, R&D and innovation, trade and human resource policies of global factories are determinants of the well-being of the global economy and of all its component parts. The analysis enables the comprehensive understanding of the division of entrepreneurial labour between large and small firms and the analysis of the crucial role of SMEs (small and medium sized firms) in the world economy, through their links with global factories. The outcome of these myriad decisions affects the growth and distribution of incomes between nations and individuals. Their importance cannot be understated.

This student focussed text uses up-to-date case studies, vignettes and research insights to illuminate understanding of the frequently perplexing dynamics of the international economy. Each chapter is framed by a chapter map, with international business insights signalled throughout the text. The editors believe that there is no better guide to the currently turbulent global economy than this theoretically grounded, comprehensive and lively text, filled with real world applications.

For courses that do not adopt a global factory perspective, the text still provides comprehensive coverage of key management challenges in the global economy including cultural differences, supply chain management, innovation management, financial control and strategy formulation and implementation, that are faced by all international businesses. What distinguishes this text is the comprehensive integration of such issues within a powerful and coherent framework that draws on a rich history of conceptual thinking.

Peter Buckley, Peter Enderwick & Adam Cross