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. HNA Group: Global Excellence with Chinese Characteristics

    William C. Kirby, F. Warren McFarlan and Joycelyn W. Eby

    By 2015, the HNA Group had grown from its roots as Hainan Airlines, a small airline founded in 1993 into a global conglomerate that ranked #464 in the Global 500. Much of this success it had achieved by cross-industry expansion within China, but since 2008, it had increasingly looked to expand globally. The HNA Group in general and Hainan Airlines in particular were recognized for their quality of service within China. However, this high reputation had yet to be translated across borders. Would HNA Group be able to bring its unique characteristics that made it successful within China to bear on the global marketplace?

    Keywords: China; aviation and aerospace; airline industry; airlines; globalization; corporate culture; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Global Strategy; Globalized Markets and Industries; Growth and Development; Air Transportation; Air Transportation Industry; China;


    Kirby, William C., F. Warren McFarlan, and Joycelyn W. Eby. "HNA Group: Global Excellence with Chinese Characteristics." Harvard Business School Case 316-013, January 2016. View Details
  2. Uber in China: Driving in the Gray Zone

    William C. Kirby, Joycelyn W. Eby, Shuang Lu and Adam Mitchell

    CEO and Founder of Uber Technologies, Travis Kalanick, had made clear to investors and the public that expansion into China was one of his company's major priorities for 2016. Uber had already demonstrated remarkable capacity for rapid, global scaling, and for operating despite its unclear legal status in many markets. But the China market, while offering Uber unprecedented opportunity in terms of customer demand, presented Uber with a host of new challenges, including a murky regulatory framework and a strong, native incumbent, Didi-Kuaidi, that boasted the lion's share of the ride-hailing market. Could Uber overcome these obstacles and thrive in the China market?

    Keywords: China; Uber; Start-up growth; regulation; transportation; Ride-sharing; Transportation; Business Startups; Growth and Development; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Transportation Industry; Technology Industry; China;


    Kirby, William C., Joycelyn W. Eby, Shuang Lu, and Adam Mitchell. "Uber in China: Driving in the Gray Zone." Harvard Business School Case 316-135, January 2016. View Details
  3. The Globalization of Angel Investments: Evidence across Countries

    Josh Lerner, Antoinette Schoar, Stanislav Sokolinski and Karen Wilson

    This paper examines investments made by 13 angel groups across 21 countries. We compare applicants just above and below the funding cutoff and find that these angel investors have a positive impact on the growth, performance, and survival of firms as well as their follow-on fundraising. The positive impact of angel financing is independent of the level of venture activity and entrepreneur friendliness in the country. But we find that the development stage and maturity of startups that apply for angel funding (and those that are ultimately funded) is inversely correlated with the entrepreneurship friendliness of the country, which may reflect self-censoring by very early stage firms that do not expect to receive funding in these environments.

    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Globalization; Investment;


    Lerner, Josh, Antoinette Schoar, Stanislav Sokolinski, and Karen Wilson. "The Globalization of Angel Investments: Evidence across Countries." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 16-072, December 2015. View Details
  4. Entrepreneurial Imagination and a Demand and Supply-side Perspective on the MNE and Cross-border Organization

    G. Jones and Christos Pitelis

    This article explores the role of entrepreneurial imagination on the international expansion of multinational enterprises. The focus is on supply- and demand-side factors that help explicate cross-border expansion. The article explores how appropriability-informed and legacy-shaped entrepreneurial imagination motivates a process of creation and co-creation of the cross-border business context (such as markets, demand, and supporting infrastructures, including business ecosystems) and, when feasible, the wider institutional, regulatory, and even cultural context that conventional International business literature takes as a datum. This is examined conceptually and by using illustrative business history case examples. The article claims that by focusing on agency, learning, intentionality, and demand-side factors, our approach complements and also challenges extant sometimes static, supply-side, agent-agnostic theories of the multinational and helps appreciate better phenomena such as the creation and co-creation of markets and value, multinationals without firm-specific advantages, and born-global firms.

    Keywords: entrepreneurship; imagination; Globalization; History; Entrepreneurship; Multinational Firms and Management; Africa; Asia; Europe; North and Central America;


    Jones, G., and Christos Pitelis. "Entrepreneurial Imagination and a Demand and Supply-side Perspective on the MNE and Cross-border Organization." Journal of International Management 21, no. 4 (December 2015): 309–321. View Details
  5. On Wealth and the Diversity of Friendships: High Social Class People around the World have fewer International Friends

    Maurice H. Yearwood, Amy Cuddy, Nishtha Lambaa, Wu Youyoua, Ilmo van der Lowe, Paul K. Piff, Charles Gronin, Pete Fleming, Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Dacher Keltner and Aleksandr Spectre

    Having international social ties carries many potential advantages, including access to novel ideas and greater commercial opportunities. Yet little is known about who forms more international friendships. Here, we propose social class plays a key role in determining people's internationalism. We conducted two studies to test whether social class is related positively to internationalism (the building social class hypothesis) or negatively to internationalism (the restricting social class hypothesis). In Study 1, we found that among individuals in the United States, social class was negatively related to percentage of friends on Facebook that are outside the United States. In Study 2, we extended these findings to the global level by analyzing country-level data on Facebook friends formed in 2011 (nearly 50 billion friendships) across 187 countries. We found that people from higher social class countries (as indexed by GDP per capita) had lower levels of internationalism—that is, they made more friendships domestically than abroad.

    Keywords: friendships; Social Class; internationalism; Wealth; Relationships; Globalization;


    Yearwood, Maurice H., Amy Cuddy, Nishtha Lambaa, Wu Youyoua, Ilmo van der Lowe, Paul K. Piff, Charles Gronin, et al. "On Wealth and the Diversity of Friendships: High Social Class People around the World have fewer International Friends." Personality and Individual Differences 87 (December 2015): 224–229. View Details
  6. Business Groups Exist in Developed Markets Also: Britain Since 1850

    Geoffrey Jones

    Diversified business groups are well-known phenomena in emerging markets, both today and historically. This is often explained by the prevalence of institutional voids or the nature of government-business relations. It is typically assumed that such groups were much less common in developed economies and largely disappeared during the twentieth century. This working paper contests this assumption with evidence from Britain between 1850 and the present day. During the nineteenth century, merchant houses established business groups with diversified portfolio and pyramidal structures overseas, primarily in developing countries, both colonial and independent. In the domestic economy, large single product firms became the norm, which over time merged into large combines with significant market power. This reflected a business system in which a close relationship between finance and industry was discouraged, but where there were few restrictions on the transfer of corporate ownership. Yet large diversified business groups did emerge, which had private or closely held shareholding and substantial international businesses. This working paper argues that diversified business groups added value in mature markets such as Britain. In the domestic economy, Pearson and Virgin created well-managed and performing businesses over long periods. The much-criticized conglomerates of the 1970s–1990s era such as Hanson and BTR were also quite financially successful forms of business enterprise. The demise of many of them appears to owe at least as much to management fads as to serious financial underperformance.

    Keywords: business groups; business history; Economic History; conglomerates; Entrepreneurship; Globalization; Management; Organizations; United Kingdom;


    Jones, Geoffrey. "Business Groups Exist in Developed Markets Also: Britain Since 1850." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 16-066, November 2015. View Details
  7. Case Study: Is a Promotion Worth Hiding Who You Are?

    Karthik Ramanna

    A manager decides whether he should hide his sexual orientation for an overseas assignment.

    Keywords: case studies; globalization; Career advancement; Leadership Development; Globalization; Technology Industry; Korean Peninsula; United States;


    Ramanna, Karthik. "Case Study: Is a Promotion Worth Hiding Who You Are?" Harvard Business Review 93, no. 10 (October 2015): 123–127. View Details
  8. Doing Business in the Philippines

    Andy Zelleke and Dawn H. Lau

    This case provides an overview of some of the opportunities as well as challenges that those who plan to do business in the Philippines may face. It includes a summary of the current economic, political, and social situation in the country, and offers up-to-date perspectives and insight from individuals who are familiar with the region.

    Keywords: Philippines; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Philippines;


    Zelleke, Andy, and Dawn H. Lau. "Doing Business in the Philippines." Harvard Business School Case 316-073, September 2015. View Details
  9. Turkish Airlines: Widen Your World

    Juan Alcácer and Esel Çekin

    This case tracks Turkish Airlines' transition from regional player to global powerhouse. With an order for 212 aircraft in the first half of 2013, the airline had moved to double its size and become one of the industry's top-ten players. Growing its fleet would allow Turkish Airlines to fly to many more destinations, boost revenues, increase aircraft utilization, and achieve higher cost efficiency. But it would also increase the already intense competition with European giants like Lufthansa, Air France, British Airways, and the fast-growth Gulf airlines Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways. Critical questions faced CEO Temel Kotil and his team: How would Turkish Airlines keep growing without jeopardizing profitability? How would it manage the operational complexities and other external factors? Recruit the best people? Continue to differentiate itself in a fiercely competitive industry?

    Keywords: strategy; corporate strategy; operational complexity; capacity constraints; profitable growth; competition; alliances; subsidiary management; externalities; emerging market; Globalized Firms and Management; Competition; Air Transportation; Alliances; Corporate Strategy; Emerging Markets; Growth and Development Strategy; Air Transportation Industry; Turkey;


    Alcácer, Juan, and Esel Çekin. "Turkish Airlines: Widen Your World." Harvard Business School Case 716-408, September 2015. (Revised November 2015.) View Details
  10. Codes in Context: How States, Markets, and Civil Society Shape Adherence to Global Labor Standards

    Michael W. Toffel, Jodi L. Short and Melissa Ouellet

    Transnational business regulation is increasingly implemented through private voluntary programs—like certification regimes and codes of conduct—that diffuse global standards. But little is known about the conditions under which companies adhere to these standards. We conduct one of the first large-scale comparative studies to determine which international, domestic, civil society, and market institutions promote supply chain factories' adherence to the global labor standards embodied in codes of conduct imposed by multinational buyers. We find that suppliers are more likely to adhere when they are embedded in states that participate actively in the ILO treaty regime and that have stringent domestic labor law and high levels of press freedom. We further demonstrate that suppliers perform better when they serve buyers located in countries where consumers are wealthy and socially conscious. Taken together, these findings suggest the importance of overlapping state, civil society, and market governance regimes to meaningful transnational regulation.

    Keywords: Transnational regulation; Labor standards; Consumer politics; Codes of conduct; Compliance; Governance Compliance; Operations; Globalization; Labor;


    Toffel, Michael W., Jodi L. Short, and Melissa Ouellet. "Codes in Context: How States, Markets, and Civil Society Shape Adherence to Global Labor Standards." Regulation & Governance 9, no. 3 (September 2015): 205–223. View Details
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