Module Note | January 2006 (Revised December 2006)

Introduction to International Strategy

by David J. Collis and Jordan I. Siegel


Provides an overview framework for understanding international strategy. Observes that international strategy draws on much of the same theory as corporate strategy. The same tests that can be applied to justify expansion across businesses--the better off and ownership tests--also apply to expansion across borders. What is different about international strategy is that widening a firm's domain to the entire globe introduces substantively different degrees of heterogeneity, scale, and volatility across markets. These three factors create new opportunities and trade-offs for multinationals. Effective international strategy is based on a source of competitive advantage that capitalizes on one of these factors and aligns the configuration of all its activities in support of that advantage. Multinationals need to choose the products they offer, the countries in which they compete, the location of their activities, and their organizational design contingent on their international strategy.

Keywords: international strategy; multinational corporations; Global Strategy;


Collis, David J., and Jordan I. Siegel. "Introduction to International Strategy." Harvard Business School Module Note 706-481, January 2006. (Revised December 2006.)