This course focuses on the social, political, economic and institutional environment of countries. This environmental context molds the country’s objectives, defines the country’s strategy, programs and policies for achieving objectives, and significantly impacts companies.
The context is affected by historical events, and by the country’s leadership. Many stakeholders shape the environment and the institutions, or “rules of the game”, that affect business. Labor, students, farmers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the military play a crucial role, making the analysis of country environments complex and fascinating.
We will study Japan in some depth, and catch brief glimpses of South Korea, Singapore, Chile, Turkey, India, South Africa and the former Soviet Union, to appreciate the forces that influence diverse country environments, and companies’ strategies.
The course will review aspects of global institutions, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), which set global rules that profoundly affect business strategy and human welfare. It will also explore opportunities and challenges at the bottom of the pyramid, the last frontier for value creation by companies and NGOs.
The course will be three weeks long. The different weeks will focus on the following:
- In-depth analysis of Japan’s social, political, economic and institutional environment
- The contextual underpinning of the economic bubble and how it burst and led to Japan’s Lost Decade of the nineties
- Aspects of the historical context, such as Japan’s relations with China, and how that defines contemporary relations between the two countries
- The role of charismatic leaders, such as former Prime Minister Koizumi, in changing institutions
- The role played by diverse stakeholders, including the mafia
- Challenges faced by contemporary Japan, such as the ageing population, redefining the role of women, stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship, and meeting skill shortages, possibly through immigration
- Prime Minister Abe’s strategy to put Japan on a path of sustainable growth with the three arrows of “Abenomics”
- Framework for country analysis
- Brief review at the South Korean environment after the Second World War and the crisis during the late nineties
- Brief glimpses of the environments of Singapore, Chile and Turkey
- The strategy of a successful global company, McDonald’s, for addressing challenges when entering a turbulent and unfamiliar environment, that of the former Soviet Union
- Company strategies for addressing opportunities and challenges in complex environments
- Case of ITC in rural India
- Case of pricing of AIDS drugs in South Africa
- The role of the WTO and important stakeholders, like NGOs, in shaping the global rules of the game and affecting company strategies and human welfare
- Wrap up