Globalization: A Cross-Functional Perspective (GLOFUN) is a 1.5 credit course that is meant to focus on and facilitate exploration of the implications of...More >>
Globalization: A Cross-Functional Perspective (GLOFUN) is a 1.5 credit course that is meant to focus on and facilitate exploration of the implications of globalization for business functions. Session 1 will begin by reviewing some basic facts about the globalization of markets and of firms; Session 2 will discuss the differences between countries that underlie observed levels of globalization and provide a simple framework for thinking systematically about them. This focus on differences may seem odd given the common conception of globalization as a leveling force that increases similarities but is strongly recommended by a sample of academic thought leaders across a broad range of functional areas that were surveyed on the topic, for several reasons. The differences that arise at national borders are still very large in their effects. Yet there is a tendency even among people with significant international experience to overestimate similarities and underestimate differences. This induces some predictable biases that must be recognized to be countered, on the basis of a concentrated effort since it usually isn't sufficient just to point out that different countries are different. An overarching emphasis on differences is what is helpful in this regard, even though both differences and similarities are important, of course. Those are empirical arguments for focusing on differences. There is also the conceptual point that fundamental differences across countries are essential for global thinking to have content qualitatively different from single-country thinking. Otherwise, the world could simply be thought of as one giant country! And it is worth adding that to focus on differences isn't purely negative: cross-country differences can be powerful sources of value creation (through arbitrage) rather than just constraints to be adapted to or overcome. Sessions 3-6 will focus on exploring the implications of the difference-driven perspective on globalization presented in Sessions 1 and 2 for four functional areas of business: tentatively, marketing, supply chains, finance and human resources. This list of functions may be modified between now and the actual offering of the course, but will not be changed to include strategy. (This is to avoid overlap with the global strategy elective.) Each of Sessions 3-6 will have assigned readings not cases--for which all students will be responsible. But half of each (double) session will be devoted to student presentations, prepared in groups, that attempt to apply the ideas discussed in the readings to current business practice in the function that is the focus of a particular session at the level of an individual company, a group of companies in a particular region, set of countries (e.g. advanced or emerging economies), or industry, or even more broadly. Each student group will prepare a presentation related to one of the four functions covered in the course. The grading for the course will be based 30% on class participation and 70% on the project/presentation.