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. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. The Impact of Patent Wars on Firm Strategy: Evidence from the Global Smartphone Market

    Yongwook Paik and Feng Zhu

    Strategy scholars have documented in various empirical settings that firms seek and leverage stronger institutions to mitigate hazards and gain competitive advantage. In this paper, we argue that such “institution-seeking” behavior may not be confined to the pursuit of strong institutions: firms may also seek weak institutions to mitigate hazards. Using panel data from the global smartphone industry and recent patent wars among key industry rivals, we examine how smartphone vendors that are not directly involved in patent litigation strategically respond to increased litigation risks in this industry. We find that as patent wars intensify, smartphone vendors strategically shift more of their business toward markets with weaker intellectual property (IP) protection because of institutional arbitrage opportunities. This shift is more pronounced for vendors whose stocks of patents are small and whose home markets have weak IP systems. Our study is the first to examine the relationship between heterogeneity in national patent systems and firms’ global strategies. It provides a more balanced view of firms’ institution-seeking behavior by documenting how they make strategic use of weaker institutions.

    Keywords: patent wars; patent litigation; intellectual property (IP) enforcement; institutions; smartphone; patent thicket; Technology Platform; Patents; Lawsuits and Litigation; Globalized Markets and Industries; Business Strategy; Telecommunications Industry;


    Paik, Yongwook, and Feng Zhu. "The Impact of Patent Wars on Firm Strategy: Evidence from the Global Smartphone Market." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 14-015, August 2013. (Revised March 2016.) View Details
  7. Where in the World are the Workers? Cultural Underrepresentation in I-O Research

    Christopher G. Myers

    Few would dispute that the nature of work, and the workers who perform it, has evolved considerably in the 70 years since the founding of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) as the American Psychological Association's (APA's) Division 14, focused on industrial, business, and organizational psychology. Yet, in many ways the populations sampled in industrial–organizational (I-O) psychology research have failed to keep pace with this evolution. Bergman and Jean (2016) highlight how I-O research samples underrepresent (relative to the labor market) low- or medium-skill workers, wage earners, and temporary workers, resulting in a body of science that is overly focused on salaried, professional managers and executives. Though these discrepancies in the nature of individuals’ work and employment are certainly present and problematic in organizational research, one issue that should not be overlooked is that of adequately representing nationality and culture in I-O research samples.

    Keywords: global organizations; research; industrial organization; Organizations; Globalization;


    Myers, Christopher G. "Where in the World are the Workers? Cultural Underrepresentation in I-O Research." Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice 9, no. 1 (March 2016): 144–152. View Details
  8. Chilli Beans: Peace, Love, and Sunglasses

    José B. Alvarez, Robert Mackalski and Andrew Otazo

    This case illustrates how Chilli Beans became the most popular sunglasses retailer in Brazil and the issues it faced when expanding into the United States.

    Keywords: marketing; sunglasses; Brazil; Sao Paulo; Chilli Beans; watches; fast fashion; supply chain; retail; franchise; international expansion; culture; middle class; fashion; Corporate Entrepreneurship; Global Strategy; Customer Focus and Relationships; Customer Value and Value Chain; Design; Economic Growth; Economic Slowdown and Stagnation; Goods and Commodities; Leadership; Marketing; Operations; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Fashion Industry; Manufacturing Industry; Brazil; China;


    Alvarez, José B., Robert Mackalski, and Andrew Otazo. "Chilli Beans: Peace, Love, and Sunglasses." Harvard Business School Case 516-020, February 2016. (Revised March 2016.) View Details
  9. 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. (Revised March 2016.) View Details
  10. 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. (Revised May 2016.) View Details
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