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. AKB48: Going Global? (A)

    Juan Alcacer, Kotaro Sasamoto, Tee Chayakul and Mayuka Yamazaki

    After a remarkable success in Japan, the producer of the Japanese female singing group AKB48 evaluates market opportunities overseas for his artistic creation. This case introduces the business model behind the AKB48 concept and allows students to identify what geographic market – China, Indonesia, Taiwan, The Philippines, Thailand or South Korea – is more suitable for AKB48’s first move overseas. During the discussion, students also identify the geographic limits of a product and what changes, if any, should be done to adapt it to a chosen market. Given high levels of piracy in the music industry, students are not only able to explore the value creation aspects of AKB48 but also the value capture features of its business model.

    Keywords: brand building; brand extension; Culture-based products; Global products; Expansion; differentiation; intellectual property; international business; Local products; strategy; value creation; Value Capture; Market Entry and Exit; Music Entertainment; Business Model; Global Strategy; Global Range; Brands and Branding; Value Creation; Expansion; Music Industry; Japan; China; Indonesia; Taiwan; Philippines; Thailand; South Korea;


    Alcacer, Juan, Kotaro Sasamoto, Tee Chayakul, and Mayuka Yamazaki. "AKB48: Going Global? (A) ." Harvard Business School Case 717-445, May 2017. View Details
  2. Taj Hotels: Leading Change, Driving Profitability

    Krishna Palepu, Anjali Raina and Rachna Chawla

    Rakesh Sarna, MD and CEO of the Indian Hotels Company ltd (IHCL) was faced with the challenge of leading and embedding changes in IHCL to turnaround its trajectory. IHCL and its subsidiaries, headquartered in India, were a venerable hotel chain, collectively known as Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, and colloquially referred to as Taj Hotels. Taj Hotels, revered across India for their values and renowned for their hospitality, had been plagued with performance challenges since Dec’08. It was August 2016, nearly two years since Sarna had been recruited from the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, with a mandate to revive the flagging fortunes of Taj Hotels. Having introduced a number of changes, Sarna reflects on progress made and next steps required.

    Keywords: turnaround; Hospitality Industry; Leadership; Brands and Branding; Marketing; Strategy; Globalization; Leading Change; Accommodations Industry; India;


    Palepu, Krishna, Anjali Raina, and Rachna Chawla. "Taj Hotels: Leading Change, Driving Profitability." Harvard Business School Case 117-061, May 2017. View Details
  3. Yushan Bicycles: Learning to Ride Abroad

    Christopher A. Bartlett and Paul S. Myers

    Yushan Bicycles, one of Taiwan's leading bicycle manufacturers, is pursuing an international expansion strategy by increasing demand for its range of traditional and electric bicycles and shifting its product mix toward higher-margin models sold through specialty bicycle retail shops. However, the manager of its new Australian subsidiary has taken a different approach that focuses on selling lower-priced models through large sporting-goods retailers. The manager's strategy has yielded disappointing financial results so far, and he and company executives disagree on the cause and next steps. The Yushan case was specifically developed for international management and international business courses, but it can also be used in competitive strategy, corporate strategy, and general management programs. It is especially useful for analyzing situations in which issues of strategy, organization, and management converge.

    Keywords: Globalized Firms and Management; Growth and Development Strategy; Competitive Strategy; Conflict Management; Learning; Bicycle Industry; Taiwan; Australia;


    Bartlett, Christopher A., and Paul S. Myers. "Yushan Bicycles: Learning to Ride Abroad." Harvard Business School Brief Case 917-539, April 2017. View Details
  4. Monetary Policy and Global Banking

    Victoria Ivashina and Falk Bräuning

    Global banks use their global balance sheets to respond to local monetary policy. However, sources and uses of funds are often denominated in different currencies. This leads to a foreign exchange (FX) exposure that banks need to hedge. If cross-currency flows are large, the hedging cost increases, diminishing the return on lending in foreign currency. We show that, in response to domestic monetary policy easing, global banks increase their foreign reserves in currency areas with the highest interest rate while decreasing lending in these markets. We also find an increase in FX hedging activity and its rising cost, as manifested in violations of covered interest rate parity.

    Keywords: global banks; monetary policy transmission; cross-border lending; Capital Markets; Globalization; Banks and Banking;


    Ivashina, Victoria, and Falk Bräuning. "Monetary Policy and Global Banking." NBER Working Paper Series, No. 23316, March 2017. View Details
  5. Global Marketing Management: A Casebook

    John A. Quelch

    During the last quarter century, international business was shaken by a revolution in global competition unlike any previously experienced. As companies move through the twenty-first century, they need to be aware of the range of powerful, dynamic, and often conflicting forces shaping the emerging competitive environment. The globalization of markets, the increasing homogeneity of customer needs worldwide, the impact of the digital economy, and progressively falling tariffs in the face of occasional protectionist reversals together mean that few companies can afford to remain focused on their domestic markets.

    Managers responsible for marketing in a multinational or global enterprise must design appropriate marketing programs for each national market. To some extent, each country must be treated as a separate marketplace, because each has its own legal requirements, cultural traditions, and business methods, and most have their own currencies. The dramatic changes in strategic thinking and organizational relationships have made the boom in alliances, consortia, and strategic partnerships a worldwide phenomenon.

    Sensing, analyzing, and developing appropriate responses to the complex new demands of the expanded, global marketplace is difficult, and the greatest challenge comes in developing the organizational capabilities and managerial competencies to implement a clearly defined strategic intent. This book of cases provides real examples of these challenges.

    Keywords: Marketing; Management; Globalization; Competitive Strategy;


    Quelch, John A. Global Marketing Management: A Casebook. 6th ed. Redding, CA: BVT Publishing, 2017. View Details
  6. Globalizing Latin American Beauty

    G. Jones

    This article discusses the growth over time of the beauty industry in Latin America and its bias towards celebrating whiter rather than darker skin. Although alleged Latin American fascination with beauty is regularly ascribed to culture, Latin sensuousness, and machismo attitudes, this article shows that the growth of the industry was historically contingent. It was shaped by corporations, especially Avon and Colgate, that transferred marketing capabilities from the United States and Europe. The industry also grew as the means out of poverty for many women who worked as sales consultants and in salons. Winning beauty contests became the equivalent to winning a lottery. In this respect, the impact of the beauty industry was positive. However it also, as elsewhere, imposed restrictive notions of beauty on generations of women and created cultures in which breast implants and buttocks injections became the societal norm. The industry intensified rather than challenged the deep racism of the region.

    Keywords: Beauty and Cosmetics Industry; Latin America; race and ethnicity; Globalization; Race; Ethnicity; Prejudice and Bias; Beauty and Cosmetics Industry; Latin America;


    Jones, G. "Globalizing Latin American Beauty." ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America 16, no. 3 (Spring 2017): 10–14. View Details
  7. Ant Financial

    Feng Zhu, Ying Zhang, Krishna G. Palepu, Anthony K. Woo and Nancy Hua Dai

    Headquartered in Hangzhou (China), Ant Financial has grown into a fintech “Unicorn.” The fintech empire that the company established spanned verticals such as mobile and online payment (Alipay), money market fund (Yu’e Bao), wealth management (Ant Fortune), digital-only banking (MYbank), credit scoring (Zhima Credit ), and consumer credit portal (Ant Credit Pay) among others. After another sales record during the 2016 11.11 Global Shopping Festival along with Alibaba, Long Chen, Chief Strategy Officer of Ant Financial was contemplating the various opportunities and challenges associated with the firm’s international expansion, inclusive finance in rural regions, and regulatory uncertainties.

    Keywords: Growth and Development Strategy; Global Strategy; Finance; Opportunities; Financial Services Industry; Technology Industry;


    Zhu, Feng, Ying Zhang, Krishna G. Palepu, Anthony K. Woo, and Nancy Hua Dai. "Ant Financial." Harvard Business School Case 617-060, March 2017. (Revised April 2017.) View Details
  8. Globalization in Historical Perspective

    Pankaj Ghemawat and Geoffrey Jones

    This chapter explores the role that firms have played over time in promoting international trade and investment. It takes a chronological perspective and is organized around a first wave of globalization from the mid-nineteenth century until the 1920s and a second wave that started after World War 2, intensified from the 1980s until around the 2008 global financial crisis.

    Keywords: globalization; international business; international marketing; History; Marketing; Investment; Trade; Globalization;


    Ghemawat, Pankaj, and Geoffrey Jones. "Globalization in Historical Perspective." Chap. 3 in The Laws of Globalization and Business Applications, by Pankaj Ghemawat, 56–81. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017. View Details
  9. Godiva Japan: Think Local, Scale Global

    Rohit Deshpandé, Esel Cekin and Akiko Kanno

    This case tracks Jerome Chouchan’s strategies and execution for a successful turnaround of Godiva Japan’s operations, which were experiencing a decline in sales when he became the managing director of the company in 2010. Through various initiatives and innovations, Godiva Japan had targeted a variety of demographic segments in different sales points, acquired new customers, and created a moment of luxurious consumption for all ages. Accordingly, within Godiva’s global enterprise, Godiva Japan had become number two in worldwide sales and number one in profits. It exported made-in-Japan products and concepts to Godiva’s other markets. How could Chouchan keep the momentum and sustain Godiva Japan’s top-line and bottom-line growth going forward? Would he be able to keep the balance between aspirational and accessible? How much of the success in Japan might contribute to the growth of Godiva's global sales?

    Keywords: branding; internationalization; Product; innovation; positioning; customer segmentation; occasion-based segmentation; Execution; Talent; change management; customer-focused strategies; Product Positioning; Globalized Firms and Management; Change Management; Talent and Talent Management; Customer Focus and Relationships; Product; Segmentation; Innovation and Invention; Brands and Branding; Retail Industry; Food and Beverage Industry; Japan;


    Deshpandé, Rohit, Esel Cekin, and Akiko Kanno. "Godiva Japan: Think Local, Scale Global." Harvard Business School Case 517-056, January 2017. (Revised January 2017.) View Details
  10. Africa's New Generation of Innovators

    Clayton M. Christensen, Efosa Ojomo and Derek van Bever

    With a young, urbanizing population, abundant natural resources, and a growing middle class, Africa seems to have all the ingredients necessary for huge growth. Nevertheless, a number of multinationals have recently left the continent, discouraged by widespread corruption, a lack of infrastructure and ready talent, and an underdeveloped consumer market. Some innovators, however, have succeeded by building franchises to serve poorer consumer segments; tapping the vast opportunity represented by nonconsumption; internalizing risk to build strong, self-sufficient, low-cost enterprises; and integrating operations to avoid corruption. The difference, the authors believe, lies in the choice between “push” and “pull” investment. MNCs seek growth by pushing current products onto emerging middle-class consumers. They retain some large portion of their existing cost structure and operating style, and thus set prices that limit market penetration. The winning strategy diverges from this approach in almost every respect. When innovators develop products that people want to pull into their lives, they create markets that serve as a foundation for sustainable growth and prosperity.

    Keywords: Innovation Strategy; Multinational Firms and Management; Economic Growth; Africa;


    Christensen, Clayton M., Efosa Ojomo, and Derek van Bever. "Africa's New Generation of Innovators." Harvard Business Review 95, no. 1 (January–February 2017): 129–136. View Details
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