Globalization is a featured research topic and an initiative at Harvard Business School.
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 eight Global Research Centers that facilitate our contact with global companies and the collection of international data, key investigations concentrate on the effectiveness of management practices in global organizations; cross-cultural learning and adaptation processes; the challenges of taking companies global; emerging-market companies with global potential; and international political economy and its impact on economic development.
  1. The Value of Breadth and the Importance of Differences

    David J. Collis

    Honoring Pankaj Ghemawat's receipt of an Academy of Management award, this chapter examines his contribution to the global strategy field. It notes the continuing importance of country differences to international strategy and how geographic scope contributes to competitive advantage.

    Keywords: global strategy; Pankaj Ghemawat; multinationals; Globalization; Management; Strategy;


    Collis, David J. "The Value of Breadth and the Importance of Differences." In Emerging Economies and Multinational Enterprises. Vol. 28, edited by Laszlo Tihanyi, Elitsa R. Banalieva, Timothy M. Devinney, and Torben Pedersen, 29–33. Advances in International Management. Emerald Group Publishing, 2015. View Details
  2. Horst Dassler, Adidas, and the Commercialization of Sport

    Geoffrey Jones, Michael Norris and Sophi Kim

    The case focuses on the career of Horst Dassler, the son of the founder of the German-based sports shoe manufacturer Adidas. The origins of the firm were in the interwar years, and it rose to public prominence after it provided spikes for the famous African-American sprinter in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. From the 1950s Horst cultivated relationships with athletes and national associations to expand his sports apparel business and develop sports sponsorship, competing fiercely against competitors such as Puma and Nike. During the 1970s he played a key role in commercializing the international soccer federation FIFA, including creating a television market for soccer, and he subsequently became a key force behind arranging sponsorships and broadcasting rights for the Olympics. The case explores the drivers of success of this major consumer brand, and provdes the opportunity to discuss the positives and negatives of the globalization and commercialization of sport.

    Keywords: corruption; Economic History; business history; entertainment; business; strategy; media; Sports; Digital technology; blockbuster; superstar; film; television; music; publishing; performing arts; nightlife; Crime and Corruption; Entrepreneurship; Globalization; History; Sports; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Consumer Products Industry; Fashion Industry; Sports Industry; Germany; South America; Europe; Asia; North and Central America;


    Jones, Geoffrey, Michael Norris, and Sophi Kim. "Horst Dassler, Adidas, and the Commercialization of Sport." Harvard Business School Case 316-007, July 2015. View Details
  3. WeChat: A Global Platform?

    Willy Shih, Howard Yu and Fang Liu

    WeChat was developed by Tencent Holdings as a lightweight messaging platform. As it grew quickly to become the most popular messaging app in China, it added a range of products and services that sat on top that were designed to appeal to a broad range of consumers and businesses. Official accounts, WeChat payment, and online to offline features expanded its reach, but the core question was whether the company could break out from its home market and offer the rest of the world something that its competitors could not.

    Keywords: online platforms; globalization; China; WeChat; Tencent Holdings; Globalization; Online Technology; Telecommunications Industry; Information Industry; China;


    Shih, Willy, Howard Yu, and Fang Liu. "WeChat: A Global Platform?" Harvard Business School Case 615-049, June 2015. View Details
  4. Korea

    Forest Reinhardt, Jonathan Schlefer, Keith Chi-ho Wong and Mayuka Yamazaki

    South Korea's economic success and its transition from authoritarianism to democracy teach important lessons in national strategy and political economy. Now, though, its famous chaebols may need reform, the population is aging, and relations with the North are as tense as ever. What should the country's leaders do?

    Keywords: Economics; Governance; Government and Politics; Leadership; Globalization; Demographics; Asia;


    Reinhardt, Forest, Jonathan Schlefer, Keith Chi-ho Wong, and Mayuka Yamazaki. "Korea." Harvard Business School Case 715-047, April 2015. (Revised April 2015.) View Details
  5. Should Business Have Human Rights Obligations?

    Nien-he Hsieh

    Businesses and their managers are increasingly called upon to take on human rights obligations. Focusing on the case of multinational enterprises (MNEs), the paper argues we have reason to reject assigning human rights obligations to business enterprises and their managers. The paper begins by distinguishing business and human rights from the more general topic of corporate responsibility. Following Buchanan (2013), the paper takes the ideal of status egalitarianism to be central to human rights. Status egalitarianism holds that all members of society stand as moral equals in relation to one another and that the state has a duty to recognize and protect that equal standing both in its dealings with citizens and in their dealings with one another. To assign human rights obligations to MNEs and their managers risks undermining this ideal. The paper situates this argument in relation to the United Nations "Protect, Respect and Remedy" Framework by discussing the way in which MNEs can be complicit in state failures to protect citizens. The paper argues that avoiding complicity should be the appropriate focus of managerial responsibility.

    Keywords: human rights; Ruggie Principles; corporate responsibility; multinationals; Rights; Multinational Firms and Management; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact;


    Hsieh, Nien-he. "Should Business Have Human Rights Obligations?" Special Issue on Business and Human Rights. Journal of Human Rights 14, no. 2 (April–June 2015): 218–236. View Details
  6. Immigration Policy in Germany

    Matthew Weinzierl, Katrina Flanagan and Alastair Su

    Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel faced economic and moral pressure to encourage greater immigration from struggling European, and especially Eurozone, countries after the economic downturn that began in 2008. In fact, it was possible that both the Euro currency union and the European political union depended on increasing migration across member countries, including into Germany. But German domestic politics made Merkel's decision a difficult one. Instructors may also obtain a Teaching Note, written by this case’s author, that provides suggestions for using this case effectively in the classroom.

    Keywords: citizenship; optimal currency unions; Globalized Economies and Regions; Immigration; Germany; European Union;


    Weinzierl, Matthew, Katrina Flanagan, and Alastair Su. "Immigration Policy in Germany." Harvard Business School Case 715-029, March 2015. (Revised July 2015.) View Details
  7. Delhaize Group: Developing Leaders

    Boris Groysberg and Sarah L. Abbott

    Delhaize Group, the Belgian-based global food retailer, was focused on competing in the food retailing industry by developing leading positions in key markets via localized retailing strategies. Delhaize was committed to offering its customers superior value while maintaining high social, environmental, and ethical standards. For Frans Muller, Delhaize's president and CEO, the key to executing on this strategy was ensuring that Delhaize Group was developing leaders with the requisite skills and competencies. In light of this, Muller felt it was important to assess the Delhaize Group's leadership development practices. Were the current training and development programs effective? What were the leadership skills that would be needed to execute on Delhaize Group's strategic plan, both today and in the future?

    Keywords: leadership development; strategy; organizational alignment; organizational culture; talent management; human capital; Leadership Development; Globalized Firms and Management; Human Capital; Talent and Talent Management; Corporate Strategy; Organizational Culture; Retail Industry; Food and Beverage Industry; Belgium;


    Groysberg, Boris, and Sarah L. Abbott. "Delhaize Group: Developing Leaders." Harvard Business School Case 415-019, February 2015. (Revised June 2015.) View Details
  8. Location Choices under Strategic Interactions

    Juan Alcacer, Cristian Dezso and Minyuan Zhao

    The literature on location choices has mostly emphasized the impact of location and firm characteristics. However, most industries with a significant presence of multi-location firms are oligopolistic in nature, which suggests that strategic interaction among firms plays an important role in firms' decision-making processes. This paper explores how strategic interaction among competitors affects firms' geographic expansion across time and markets. Specifically, we build a model in which two firms that differ in their capabilities enter sequentially into two markets with different potentials for profit. The model is solved using game theory under three learning scenarios that capture the ability of a firm to transfer its capabilities across markets: no learning, local learning, and global learning. Three equilibrium strategies arise: accommodate, marginalize, and collocate. We identify how these strategies emerge depending on the tradeoff between the opportunity costs of absence (giving competitors a lead in a market) and the entrenchment benefits (the cost advantage firms develop through learning-by-doing when they enter early). Both the opportunity costs of absence and the entrenchment benefits vary according to initial relative firm capabilities, relative market profitability, and learning rates. Our model offers a comprehensive approach to understanding the drivers of firm location choices by modeling not only the impact of location and firm heterogeneity, but also the strategic interaction among firms.

    Keywords: Location strategies; multinational strategy; oligopolistic competition; game theory; firm heterogeneity; Geographic Location; Multinational Firms and Management; Balance and Stability; Decision Choices and Conditions; Game Theory;


    Alcacer, Juan, Cristian Dezso, and Minyuan Zhao. "Location Choices under Strategic Interactions." Strategic Management Journal 36, no. 2 (February 2015): 197–215. View Details
  9. CJ E&M: Creating a K-Culture in the U.S.

    Elie Ofek, Sang-Hoon Kim and Michael Norris

    Buoyed by the success of K-pop music and K-drama television shows in Asian countries, Chairman Jay Lee, of the South Korean conglomerate CJ Group, believed that the time was ripe for taking Korean cultural content to the West. One initiative, carried out by the Group's Entertainment & Media (E&M) division, was a daylong fan convention, called 'KCON', that was held in Irvine, CA in October 2012 and which featured various Korean cultural elements, such as music, dance, film, and food.

    In the spring of 2013, Miky Lee, the Group's Vice Chairman (VC), called a meeting with key executives to review the results of KCON 2012 and make a recommendation to the Chairman on whether to hold a similar event in 2013. As part of their deliberations, the executives were expected to consider where a potential 2013 convention should be held, which artists to invite, which target consumers to focus on, how to price tickets and how to attract more sponsors. With KCON 2012 having lost money, despite a robust turnout, it was far from clear whether to repeat the event and, if so, whether its scale should be expanded beyond 2012's $1.1 million budget. With CJ recently opening a chain of mid-market Korean food restaurants in the Los Angeles area called Bibigo, the meeting would also touch on the restaurant's U.S. growth plans and how they might be connected to KCON.

    More broadly, the executives had to wrestle with the question of whether Americans would ever really embrace Hallyu, the Korean Wave, beyond one-off success stories like PSY's "Gangnam Style." And even if they believed so, was KCON the right vehicle to make it happen, or was the event just a waste of the company's time and money?

    Keywords: global strategy; Cultural Consumption; Media Businesses; international marketing; event marketing; Creative Industries; cross-cultural adaptation; ethnic marketing; South Korea; Marketing Strategy; Entertainment; Global Strategy; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Entertainment and Recreation Industry; United States; South Korea;


    Ofek, Elie, Sang-Hoon Kim, and Michael Norris. "CJ E&M: Creating a K-Culture in the U.S." Harvard Business School Case 515-015, January 2015. View Details
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