The globalization of business has long encouraged Harvard Business School (HBS) faculty to research international business practices and the effects of globalization. Seminal contributions - Christopher Bartlett on managing across borders, Michael Porter on competition in global industries, and Louis Wells on foreign investment in emerging markets - helped pave today’s global research path. Supported by six Global Research Centers that facilitate our contact with global companies and the collection of international data, HBS faculty today continue to shed light on questions that are critical to our understanding of international business and global markets. Key areas of investigation include:
  • The effectiveness of management practices in global organizations
  • Cross-country and cross-cultural learning and adaptation processes
  • The performance consequences and organizational challenges of taking companies global
  • The creation of emerging-market companies with global potential
  • Questions of international political economy and its impact on economic development
Informed by detailed company case studies and large-sample empirical investigations, HBS global research yields insights that help inform business practice and public policy. As an example, a case study by Michael Tushman of the Organizational Behavior unit investigates a high-tech Taiwanese firm’s cross-cultural transformation as it transitions into a global company. Or take Fritz Foley of the Finance unit and William Kerr of Entrepreneurial Management and their in-depth analysis of U.S. patent filings to understand how immigrant innovators impact the competitiveness of multinationals. These and many other research projects produce insights that can shape how global businesses are managed.
  1. Health City Cayman Islands

    Narayana Health (NH) had been successfully delivering affordable high quality tertiary care to the masses in India through its chain of hospitals for over a decade. To encourage the adoption of the NH affordable care delivery model worldwide, Dr. Shetty, Chairman of NH, was keen to establish a hospital in the western hemisphere and believed that it was important to demonstrate the model to the US. Thus when the Cayman Islands Government was interested in developing the island as a medical tourism hub during 2008-09, Dr. Shetty agreed to develop the Health City Cayman Islands (HCCI), a 2,000 bed conglomeration of multiple super-specialty hospitals within a single campus located on Grand Cayman Island. The first phase of HCCI, a 104 bed hospital focused on cardiac care and orthopedics, was developed jointly by NH and Ascension, the largest non-profit hospital system in US. The hospital was inaugurated in February, 2014 but there were open questions related to pricing of the procedures and the related target patient segment and volumes. Also, HCCI senior management realized the need to adapt the NH model developed in and for India to fit the new environment at Cayman and was open to experimentation in the coming months.

    Keywords: healthcare; emerging economies; innovation; india; institutions; pricing; replication; adoption; adaptation; strategy; Narayana Health; Ascension; Health City Cayman Islands; Dr. Devi Shetty; global strategy; international business; Health Care and Treatment; Innovation Strategy; Innovation and Management; Disruptive Innovation; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Global Strategy; Knowledge Use and Leverage; Management Practices and Processes; Growth Management; Growth and Development Strategy; Market Entry and Exit; Adaptation; Adoption; India; Cayman Islands;


    Khanna, Tarun, and Budhaditya Gupta. "Health City Cayman Islands." Harvard Business School Case 714-510, May 2014. View Details
  2. Vaxess Technologies, Inc.

    In February 2014, Michael Schrader, chief executive of Vaxess Technologies, Inc., was assessing the startup health care company's 2014 marketing plan. On December 31st, 2013, Vaxess had obtained an exclusive license to a series of patents for a silk protein technology that, when added to vaccines, reduced or removed the need for refrigeration between manufacturing and delivery to the end patient. Schrader and his colleagues had to decide on which vaccines to focus and whether and how to target the drug companies that manufactured the vaccines or the quasi-government organizations (such as UNICEF and PAHO) and nongovernment organizations (such as GAVI) that purchased large quantities of vaccines for the developing world.

    Keywords: vaccine; cold chain; antigen; temperature controlled; developing markets; immunization; Health Care and Treatment; Health Pandemics; Global Strategy; Supply Chain; Health; Health Industry; Medical Devices and Supplies Industry;


    Quelch, John A., and Margaret L. Rodriguez. "Vaxess Technologies, Inc." Harvard Business School Case 514-107, May 2014. View Details
  3. Making 'Green Giants': Environment Sustainability in the German Chemical Industry, 1950s–1980s

    This article examines the evolution of corporate environmentalism in the West German chemical industry between the 1950s and the 1980s. It focuses on two companies, Bayer and Henkel, that have been identified as "green giants," and traces the evolution of their environmental strategies in response to growing evidence of pollution and resulting political pressures. The variety of capitalism literature has suggested that the German coordinated market economy model was more conducive to green corporate strategies than liberal market economies such as the United States. This article finds instead that regional influences were more important, supporting sociological theories about the importance of visibility in corporate green strategies. It identifies major commonalities between corporate strategies in the German and American chemical industries until the 1970s, when the two German firms diverged from their American counterparts in using public relations strategies not only to contain fallout from criticism, but also as opportunities for changes in corporate culture aimed at promoting a positive bond with consumers based on new green brand identities.

    Keywords: business history; chemical industry; Green Business; regional strategy; pollution; Henkel; Bayer; Globalization; History; Chemical Industry; Germany; United States;


    Jones, Geoffrey, and Christina Lubinski. "Making 'Green Giants': Environment Sustainability in the German Chemical Industry, 1950s–1980s." Business History 56, no. 4 (April–June 2014): 623–649. View Details
  4. Right Up the Middle: How Israeli Firms Go Global

    The article considers international business enterprises based in Israel and how they successfully expanded from their origins as small businesses. A common technique of those companies in which they focused on market entry in other countries whose markets were too small to have attracted competition from larger international business enterprises yet were not adequately served by domestic companies is considered. Examples offered include the drip irrigation equipment company Netafim, Teva Pharmaceuticals and computer software industry firm Amdocs.

    Keywords: Globalized Firms and Management; Israel;


    Friedrich, Jonathan, Amit Noam, and Elie Ofek. "Right Up the Middle: How Israeli Firms Go Global." Harvard Business Review 92, no. 5 (May 2014): 113–117. View Details
  5. Firmes mondialisées et imaginaire de la beauté

    This article highlights the role of business enterprises as influences on ideals of human beauty. The homogenization of such ideals has been one of the most noteworthy features of globalization over the last two centuries. This study suggests that firms were both responders to, and shapers of, beauty ideals. It uses case studies of three prominent firms to support the argument. During the nineteenth century, Coty and other French firms imagined Paris as the global capital of beauty. During the middle of the twentieth century, the strategies of Estée Lauder and other firms drove the rise in importance and prestige of American beauty brands. In the more recent past, L'Oréal has fostered a new pluralism in beauty by acquiring American and other international brands and offering global consumers a portfolio of beauty ideals, which were both global and locally customized. The article concludes by suggesting that the strategies of business enterprises need to be more fully integrated into wider narratives of the history of globalization.

    Keywords: American History; Economic History; business history; globalization; Globalization; Entrepreneurship; History; Beauty and Cosmetics Industry; Europe; North and Central America;


    Jones, G. "Firmes mondialisées et imaginaire de la beauté." Relations internationales 157 (April–June 2014): 131–146. View Details
  6. Charting Dynamic Trajectories: Multinational Firms in India

    In this article, we provide a synthesizing framework that we call the "dynamic trajectories" framework to study the evolution of multinational enterprises (MNEs) in host countries over time. We argue that a change in the policy environment in a host country presents an MNE with two sets of interrelated decisions. First, the MNE has to decide whether to enter, exit, or stay in the host country at the onset of each policy epoch; second, conditional on the first choice, it has to decide on its local responsiveness strategy at the onset of each policy epoch. India, which experienced two policy shocks—shutting down to MNEs in 1970 and then opening up again in 1991—offers an interesting laboratory to explore the "dynamic trajectories" perspective. We collect and analyze a unique dataset of all entry and exit events for Fortune 50 and FTSE 50 firms (as of 1991) in India in the period from 1858 to 2013 and, additionally, we document detailed case studies of four MNEs (that arguably represent outliers in our sample).

    Keywords: Multinational Firms and Management; Change; India;


    Choudhury, Prithwiraj, and Tarun Khanna. "Charting Dynamic Trajectories: Multinational Firms in India." Special Issue on Business, Networks, and the State in India. Business History Review 88, no. 1 (Spring 2014): 133–169. View Details
  7. Firms and Global Capitalism

    This chapter forms part of the two-volume Cambridge History of Capitalism, a definitive new reference work that traces the history of capitalism from its origins to the present day. The chapter focuses on the role of business enterprises as powerful actors in the spread of global capitalism after 1848 and up the present day. It shows how multinational firms have created and co-created markets and ecosystems through their ability to transfer financial, organizational, and cultural assets, as well as skills and ideologies across borders. The chapter argues that capitalism proved much better than political leaders in building institutions that coordinated activities across borders, but also points to the historical evidence concerning disappointing and sometimes negative outcomes in knowledge and technology transfer. Business enterprises emerge both as important drivers of international economic growth and as significant agents in the divergent patterns of wealth and poverty that have characterized the last two centuries.

    Keywords: political economy; American History; Economic History; business history; labor history; slavery; numeracy and quantification; science and technology studies; History of the Book; globalization; international investment; international business; international marketing; Globalization; History;


    Jones, Geoffrey. "Firms and Global Capitalism." Chap. 6 in The Cambridge History of Capitalism: Volume 2. The Spread of Capitalism: From 1848 to the Present, edited by Larry Neal and Jeffrey G. Williamson, 169–200. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. View Details
  8. Jurlique: Globalizing Beauty from Nature and Science

    Considers the marketing and strategic challenges faced by natural beauty brands using the case of Australian-based Jurlique, which was acquired by Pola of Japan in 2011. The case opens two years later in July 2013 when Sam McKay, the chief executive officer, on a visit to Pola's head office in Tokyo, heard news of critical comments about the company and animal testing in a Facebook post from a group in South Australia, where the brand had been founded as a small biodynamic farm in 1985. The discussion of Jurlique's involvement with animal testing was a sensitive issue as it contradicted the brand's strong environmentally-friendly and ethical positioning. The matter had already arisen during the Pola acquisition as Pola, like all Japanese cosmetics companies, traditionally tested products on animals. The animal testing issue is put in context by a discussion of how during Jurlique's growth as a successful premium brand there had been substantial changes in market position, in part associated with shifts of ownership. At times the brand had been focused on core green consumers, but McKay had sought to broaden the consumer base by repositioning it as making "the most effective products as natural as possible." The company lost few existing customers, and found that Jurlique's image was an asset in attracting Chinese consumers who liked the story of the Australian farm which produced most ingredients. However, Chinese regulations refusing to allow the firm's stores to use recycled wood, and mandating of animal testing, were challenging to the brand's global natural brand position. The case can be taught both in marketing classes concerned with green business and in strategy classes exploring the challenges faced by global brands.

    Keywords: Australia; China; environmental strategies; Green Business; marketing; Entrepreneurship; Globalization; Beauty and Cosmetics Industry; China; Australia; United States;


    Jones, Geoffrey, and Andrew Spadafora. "Jurlique: Globalizing Beauty from Nature and Science." Harvard Business School Case 314-087, March 2014. View Details
  9. Ukraine: On the Border of Europe and Eurasia

    In the fall of 2013, the people of Ukraine disagreed passionately whether their country should intensify ties with the European Union or Russia. After President Yanukovych rejected the free trade agreement with the EU in November, thousands of Ukrainians peacefully protested. But the protest movement morphed into a violent, deadly confrontation in January, culminating in February in mass slaughter, an overthrow of government, foreign invasion, and international crisis. The four months that shook Ukraine is a case study on the interrelated problems of geopolitical struggle, politics of economic pacts and clash of regional economic blocks, post-imperial disintegration and trade, and identity and interdependence.

    Keywords: Decision Making; Cost vs Benefits; Decision Choices and Conditions; Decisions; Forecasting and Prediction; Judgments; Geopolitical Units; Country; Globalization; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Global Strategy; Globalized Economies and Regions; Globalized Markets and Industries; Government and Politics; International Relations; National Security; Growth and Development; History; Europe; Ukraine; European Union; Russia;


    Abdelal, Rawi, Rafael M. Di Tella, and Sogomon Tarontsi. "Ukraine: On the Border of Europe and Eurasia." Harvard Business School Case 714-042, March 2014. View Details
  10. Vision 2020: Takeda and the Vaccine Industry

    In 2014, Yasuchika Hasegawa was orchestrating the transformation of Takeda from a Japanese pharmaceutical company with a global footprint into a global company with a Japanese heritage. A 33-year veteran of Takeda, Hasegawa-san was appointed president of Takeda in 2003 and chief executive in 2009. By 2013, Takeda was in the midst of implementing its new Vision 2020 plan, a strategic plan for the evolving global corporation, which included developing a global vaccine business.

    Keywords: health care; global; NGO; public health; pharmaceutical industry; Japan; GSK; vaccine; supply chain; Market entry; Health; Health Care and Treatment; Trade; Market Entry and Exit; Global Strategy; Health Industry; Pharmaceutical Industry;


    Quelch, John A., and Margaret L. Rodriguez. "Vision 2020: Takeda and the Vaccine Industry." Harvard Business School Case 514-084, March 2014. View Details
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