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 EC Rains on Oracle/Sun (A)

    Lena G. Goldberg

    Oracle's proposed acquisition of Sun was on a fast track until the EC's antitrust concerns about open-source MySQL ignited a transatlantic war of words delaying the deal. Sun's performance suffered and its customers were approached by competitors while regulatory objections were debated and tensions rose between U.S. and EC regulators.

    Keywords: law; antitrust; EC regulation; Mergers and Acquisitions; Multinational Firms and Management; Laws and Statutes; Monopoly; Business and Government Relations;


    Goldberg, Lena G. "The EC Rains on Oracle/Sun (A)." Harvard Business School Case 317-009, July 2016. View Details
  2. Beyond Symbolic Responses to Private Politics: Examining Labor Standards Improvement in Global Supply Chains

    Andrea R. Hugill, Jodi L. Short and Michael W. Toffel

    Worker rights advocates seeking to improve labor conditions in global supply chains have engaged in private political strategies prompting transnational corporations (TNCs) to adopt codes of conduct and monitor their suppliers for compliance, but it is not clear whether organizational structures established by TNCs to protect their reputations can actually raise labor standards. We extend the literature on private politics and organizational self-regulation by identifying several conditions under which codes and monitoring are more likely to be associated with improvements in supply chain working conditions. We find that suppliers are more likely to improve when they face external compliance pressure in their domestic institutional environment, when their buyers take a cooperative approach to monitoring, and when their auditors are highly trained. We find, further, that a cooperative approach to monitoring enhances the impact of auditor training, and that auditor training has a greater impact on improvement when coupled with a cooperative approach than with external compliance pressures. These findings suggest key considerations that should inform the design and implementation of monitoring strategies aimed at improving conditions in global supply chains as well as theory and empirical research on the organizational outcomes of private political activism for social change.

    Keywords: Monitoring; supply chain; supplier relationship; supply chain management; corporate social responsibility and impact; labor; Working Conditions; sustainability; Sustainability Management; Sustainable Operations; sustainable supply chains; NGO; Globalization; Corporate Accountability; Operations; Supply Chain; Supply Chain Management; Business Processes; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Performance Evaluation; Safety; Risk and Uncertainty; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Electronics Industry; China; Indonesia; India; Bangladesh;


    Hugill, Andrea R., Jodi L. Short, and Michael W. Toffel. "Beyond Symbolic Responses to Private Politics: Examining Labor Standards Improvement in Global Supply Chains." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 17-001, July 2016. View Details
  3. Why Brexit Is a Big Deal

    John A. Quelch

    The consequences of yesterday's vote by the British people to leave the European Union will be far-reaching, but there is no reason for global markets to panic.
    Brexit is a vote against the European Union. Once heralded as the engine of a one-for-all and all-for-one economic growth, the EU is now seen by many Britons as an expensive, interfering and sclerotic bureaucracy.

    Keywords: British Vote; Brexit; European Union; Impact; Historical Result; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Disruption; Transition; Volatility; Decision Making; Globalization; Government and Politics; History; Leadership; Outcome or Result; Risk and Uncertainty; Strategy; European Union; Republic of Ireland; United Kingdom;


    Quelch, John A. "Why Brexit Is a Big Deal." Harvard Business School Working Knowledge (June 24, 2016). (Republished by on June 24, 2016 at: View Details
  4. Global Wine War 2015: New World versus Old

    Christopher A. Bartlett and Sarah McAra

    The case contrasts the tradition-bound Old World wine industry with the market-oriented New World producers in the battle for the Chinese wine market in 2015. China’s wine consumption growth presented a large and fast growing export target that was extremely attractive both to Old World producers burdened with oversupply and declining demand, and to New World winemakers faced with rising costs and a deteriorating image. But changing Chinese market conditions and consumer preferences required both sets of players to devise new strategies to gain share in this fast-growing market. The case allows analysis of the way in which newcomers can change the rules of competitive engagement in a global industry. It also poses the question of how incumbents can respond, especially when constrained by regulation, tradition, and different capabilities than those demanded by changing consumer tastes and market structures.

    Keywords: competition; competitive advantage; consumer behavior; global strategy; Government Regulation; industry analysis; international business; international marketing; Market entry; Exports; Business and Government Relations; China; Europe; France; Australia; Food and Beverage Industry; Trade; Global Strategy; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Consumer Behavior; Market Entry and Exit; Competition; Food and Beverage Industry; France; Europe; Australia; China;


    Bartlett, Christopher A., and Sarah McAra. "Global Wine War 2015: New World versus Old." Harvard Business School Case 916-415, June 2016. (Revised August 2016.) View Details
  5. Monetary Policy and Global Banking

    Victoria Ivashina and Falk Bräuning

    Multinational banks use their global internal capital market to respond to local shocks. However, what distinguishes global banks is not only their geographical diversification, but also their funding model: the primary source of stable funding for banks is denominated in their domestic currency. When global banks use their global balance sheets to smooth out local shocks, they need to hedge their foreign exchange exposure. In times when there is limited capital to take the other side of the hedging transaction, this will attenuate the use of internal markets to smooth out local shocks. In this context, tightening monetary policy in the lender’s home country can actually reduce pressure on the swap market, making lending abroad more attractive. Using the changes in interest paid on excess reserves by monetary authorities in six major currency areas between 2000 and 2015, we show that multinational banks reduce their reserve holdings and increase their lending abroad in response to a tightening of domestic monetary policy. This result is robust to the inclusion of a narrow set of fixed effects, and holds at the loan level. Consistent with the proposed mechanism, we show that global banks’ cross-border movement of capital is associated with an increase in foreign exchange swapping activity and its rising cost, as manifested in violations of covered interest rate parity.

    Keywords: Capital Markets; Globalization; Banks and Banking;


    Ivashina, Victoria, and Falk Bräuning. "Monetary Policy and Global Banking." Working Paper, June 2016. View Details
  6. Supply Chain Finance at Procter & Gamble

    Benjamin C. Esty, E. Scott Mayfield and David Lane

    In April 2013, Procter & Gamble (P&G), the world’s largest consumer packaged goods (CPG) company, announced that it would extend its payment terms to suppliers by 30 days. At the same time, P&G announced a new supply chain financing (SCF) program giving suppliers the ability to receive discounted payments for their P&G receivables. Fibria Celulose, a Brazilian supplier of kraft pulp, joined the program in 2013, but was re-evaluating the costs and benefits of participating in the SCF program in the summer of 2015. The firm’s treasury group and its US country manager must decide whether to keep using the program and, if so, whether to keep their existing SCF banking relationship or start a new relationship with another global SCF bank.

    Keywords: working capital; supply chain finance; corporate treasury; consumer packaged goods; Cash flow; value creation; supply chain; supplier relationships; banking; liquidity; accounts payable; accrual accounting; Financial Reporting; Cash Flow; Cost Management; Banks and Banking; Financial Strategy; Multinational Firms and Management; Supply Chain Management; Consumer Products Industry; Forest Products Industry; United States; Brazil;


    Esty, Benjamin C., E. Scott Mayfield, and David Lane. "Supply Chain Finance at Procter & Gamble." Harvard Business School Case 216-039, May 2016. View Details
  7. The Inexorable Rise of Walmart? 1988—2016

    John R. Wells and Gabriel Ellsworth

    In October 2015, Walmart surprised investors by announcing that it expected flat sales growth for 2015 and growth of only 3% to 4% over the coming three years. Profits would also fall due to significant investments in people and technology. The company’s stock price dropped 10% on the news, the largest one-day decline since 1998. In February 2016, Walmart reported that revenues for 2015 had dropped 0.7% to $482.1 billion, the first decline in Walmart’s history. The company also downgraded its sales forecast for the coming year, suggesting sales would now be flat. Meanwhile, online retailer Amazon was growing rapidly and, despite being less than one-quarter of the size of Walmart, now boasted a higher market capitalization. Moreover, in April 2016, Alibaba of China announced that it had passed Walmart in global sales to become the biggest retail platform in the world. To add to Walmart’s woes, in the United States traditional dollar discount stores and convenience outlets were gaining ground, and wage rises were putting pressure on profits. Meanwhile, international markets continued to underperform. Indeed, some analysts had suggested that Walmart retreat to its U.S. home base to improve performance. Many feared that this was the end of the 50+ year inexorable rise of Walmart. However, CEO Doug McMillon remained determined to get the company back on track and vowed to eschew short-term profits and invest in the future. Investors were not impressed. They had waited a long time for improvements; in 2015, Walmart generated three times the sales and profits it had achieved in 1999, and yet the stock price had barely changed. Patience was running out.

    Keywords: Asda; Costco; David Glass; convenience stores; discount retailing; dollar stores; Doug McMillon; e-commerce; online retail; general merchandise; grocery; Lee Scott; Mike Duke; multichannel retailing; omnichannel; Neighborhood Market; Sam Walton; Sam's Club; store formats; Supercenter; supermarket; warehouse clubs; Merchandising; walmart; Wal-Mart; Globalized Firms and Management; Competitive Strategy; Corporate Strategy; Growth and Development Strategy; Business Units; Business Divisions; Business Growth and Maturation; Business Model; Business Organization; For-Profit Firms; Film Entertainment; Television Entertainment; Banks and Banking; Price; Profit; Revenue; Food; Global Range; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Global Strategy; Business History; Compensation and Benefits; Employees; Human Capital; Labor Unions; Wages; Business or Company Management; Goals and Objectives; Management Succession; Brands and Branding; Product Positioning; Distribution; Supply Chain; Supply Chain Management; Public Ownership; Problems and Challenges; Labor and Management Relations; Strategy; Adaptation; Business Strategy; Competition; Competitive Advantage; Diversification; Expansion; Segmentation; Information Technology; Internet; Mobile Technology; Online Technology; Web; Web Sites; Retail Industry; Food and Beverage Industry; Distribution Industry; Banking Industry; United States; Arkansas; Bentonville;


    Wells, John R., and Gabriel Ellsworth. "The Inexorable Rise of Walmart? 1988—2016." Harvard Business School Case 716-426, May 2016. View Details
  8. InMobi: Reimagining Mobile Advertising

    Sunil Gupta and Saloni Chaturvedi

    InMobi, a mobile advertising company, considered one of India's first unicorns, has launched a new product called Miip. InMobi hopes that the product will grow its revenue 8 times by 2018. Visually identified by a mascot, Miip seeks to re-imagine adverting by becoming a user's trusted companion on the mobile phone, introducing them to new, relevant products, much as a friend would. As the CEO and co-founder Naveen Tewari introduces the product in China, he wonders if the product will be as successful as InMobi anticipates.

    Keywords: mobile app; advertising; india; Software; Globalization; Online Advertising; Advertising Industry; China; India;


    Gupta, Sunil, and Saloni Chaturvedi. "InMobi: Reimagining Mobile Advertising." Harvard Business School Case 516-030, April 2016. View Details
  9. IC Group A/S

    John R. Wells and Gabriel Ellsworth

    IC Group owned several of Scandinavia's leading premium fashion brands. How should it respond to the decline of its primary wholesale distribution channels (independent fashion boutiques and department stores)? Should it open more physical stores or focus on e-commerce? Where should the Group focus its international expansion? How could it best leverage its operating platform to drive the profitability of its brands? Should it acquire existing brands or build new ones itself? In short, what should its "omni-channel retailing" strategy be?

    Keywords: IC Group; IC Companys; Carli Gry; InWear; Mads Ryder; Niels Martinsen; premium fashion; fast fashion; Business Units; Business Divisions; Business Growth and Maturation; Business Model; Business Organization; For-Profit Firms; Profit; Revenue; Multinational Firms and Management; Business History; Business or Company Management; Acquisition; Growth and Development Strategy; Brands and Branding; Distribution Channels; Organizational Design; Organizational Structure; Problems and Challenges; Strategy; Product Positioning; Competition; Competitive Strategy; Corporate Strategy; Vertical Integration; Segmentation; Web Sites; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Fashion Industry; Retail Industry; Scandinavia; Denmark; Sweden; Norway;


    Wells, John R., and Gabriel Ellsworth. "IC Group A/S." Harvard Business School Case 716-446, March 2016. View Details
  10. Emaar: The Center of Tomorrow, Today

    Sid Yog, Esel Cekin and Marc Homsy

    Starting in 1997, Mohammad Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar, has been largely associated with Dubai's most renowned real estate projects: the world's tallest building, largest mall and biggest fountain show. Emaar's pioneering success attracted a large number of private sector entrepreneurs as well as the Government of Dubai to follow in its footsteps. Consequently, land at prime locations in Dubai was not as readily available as it used to be. Emaar tried to venture outside of Dubai, but later faced challenges in choosing the right partners and maintaining control over management. Being 'stuck' between an overcrowded competitive landscape in Dubai and challenging conditions abroad, Alabbar wondered how he could maintain his company's growth while staying prepared for any upcoming financial downturn.

    Keywords: Middle East; Market Entry and Exit; Competitive Strategy; Entrepreneurship; Global Strategy; Real Estate Industry; Middle East; Dubai;


    Yog, Sid, Esel Cekin, and Marc Homsy. "Emaar: The Center of Tomorrow, Today." Harvard Business School Case 216-051, March 2016. View Details
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