Academic writing on international business brings traditional business studies scholarship into the context of contemporary international business strategy, examining the various constraints, catalysts, and dynamics of international trade. Broadly speaking, then, the topic is concerned with the economic, social, and political dimensions, the challenges and advantages, of doing business across national boundaries. International business writing is thus concerned with the related opportunities for firm expansion in a global context. As a result, a core concern of an international business essay will be the operational demands of modern business in relation to foreign cultures and the way this impacts upon economic relations. These concerns include the underlying principles of internationalisation and how these influence business strategy, in addition to theoretical approaches toward international trade and multinational enterprise. Writing an international business essay accordingly requires engagement with multiple areas of enquiry, such as international relations, globalisation, economics, and business studies; thus multiple analytical methods are in order. A successful international business essay marshals all the above elements into one coherent line of investigation.
The key to a successful essay is in good planning. Because international business, as a subject, is inseparable from geopolitical concerns, one needs to demonstrate a clear understanding of the various distinctions which obtain within different national markets and polities. This includes the sociocultural determinants that impact upon market behaviour. Hence you need to establish what cultural characteristics about a particular market will have a determining effect on your selected business domain, and be able to accommodate such. For example, following the catastrophic 2008 Sichuan Earthquake disaster in China, many multinationals pursued a global corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy, donating predetermined sums; in contrast, domestic firms donated far greater amounts. This led to a severe public backlash against foreign multinationals, which were seen as stingy and thus dubbed “iron roosters” (a bird that refuses to give up a single feather). Affected firms consequently suffered mass boycotts, public condemnation, and enormous losses. In response, foreign multinationals doubled (some even quadrupled) donations; but the “iron rooster” tag was hard to shake. This singular event motivated the global business community to reappraise its entire outlook on CSR. The problem was that foreign multinationals did not accurately assess the cultural climate within the context of a Chinese socialist market economy: a system in which the division between the private and public sectors is not seen to be as separated as it is in Western analogues. Chinese consumers held that firms with a large market presence in China accordingly owed more to the people, on an ethical and economic level, than would be usual in the Occident. Failure to understand this was hugely damaging for “rooster” firms. Such issues are precisely the focus of international-business studies. A first rate essay will be able to delineate business phenomena with respect to traditional theories of economic relations, but will also be able to apply such paradigms to the broad diversity of circumstances that obtain in various global contexts. You therefore need to be able to explain: why a given market is different from another; how this functions; the way it affects your specific research interest; and, finally, how you will tackle this issue.
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