Course Synopsis

WB5480 International Business Policy and Decision-Making: Simulation
Professor Hans B. Thorelli

Course objectives

Structured around the International Operations Simulation (INTOPIA), the course provides opportunity for personal and team practice in transnational business strategy and implementation.

In addition, lecturettes and class discussion will focus on issues insufficiently treated in current textbooks, such as coordination problems in the MNC, the relationship between comparative and competitive advantage, networking and negotiations, cooperative advantage, standardization vs. differentiation strategies, small business export, and high-technology management in global industries. Third World development issues will also be highlighted.


Beyond class participation and readings you are expected to prepare a few executive memo-type written assignments around INTOPIA, as described on the "WB5480 Preliminary Agenda." Final exam on readings, class discussions and the INTOPIA experience with closed book and open mind.

If you enroll in this course you are expected to participate in evaluation of your INTOPIA team colleagues. Teamwork outside of class is called for. Your executive team will also make an oral self-audit of the performance of your Company at the end of the course.

25%How well your INTOPIA Company performs in qualitative terms (which may or may not coincide with great profitability or rapid growth). A major part of INTOPIA evaluation is the ability of your company to participate in cooperative systems (networks) with other companies. The amount of administrative assistance and Supplier Credit your company may need for self-imposed decision-making mistakes will also be taken into account. Group executive memos.
16%How you personally do as a team member. One-half of this evaluation depends on your Presidents, one-half on the judgment of the rest of your team (including yourself). In evaluating your own ranking, the performance of your company will also be taken into account.
12%Individual plan and creativity assignments around the simulation.
Final exam, 25%
Rules and theory quizzes, 4% each
14%Class participation (initially a B; many absences = C)


H. Thorelli, R. Graves, S. McDaniel, INTOPIA B2B Executive Guide, (Tichenor Publishing, 2006)
H.B. Thorelli and S.T. Cavusgil, eds., International Marketing Strategy (Pergamon, 1990, out of print)
H.B. Thorelli, R.L. Graves, J-C Lopez, INTOPIA Executive Guide (Prentice-Hall, 1994).

An additional three or four articles and sundry lecture-related handouts may be assigned during the semester. Please schedule your reading over the semester.

Preliminary Agenda

Session 1
Introduction: Course Purpose and Evaluation.
International Business (IB) Theory.
The Strategy, Structure, Performance (SSP) Paradigm.
Read International Marketing Strategy (IMS), Ch. 1. (1998 note: now out of print)
Session 2
INTOPIA briefing and forming INTOPIA teams.
Company Mission and Strategy.
Synergy -- Internal and with Network Partners.
Organization Structuring Approaches.
The FORMIN Program and Demo Disk.
Read Executive Guide.
Indispensable outside activities between Sessions 2 and 3:
At Team Level:
Consider company overall mission, philosophy and objectives.
Elect President.
Cooperative Advantage: Networking!
Begin considering Q1 decisions.
At Individual Level:
Practice FORMIN Demo and read Executive Guide again, focusing on Secs. V-VII and parts of Guide especially pertinent to your job.
Session 3
Q1 Decisions.
One rep. per Co.: attend R&D convention.
Assignment: See between sessions agenda above.
Idea: Try designing a Cash Flow program.
Session 4
Company objectives and organization charts due (G).
Networking, Systems, Strategic Alliances, Role of Trust in IM.
Negotiations. If time: Negotiations and Signaling Opportunity.
Read IMS 5, 6, 26. Deliver any Cash Flow program to Facilitator.
Session 5
Q2. INTOPIA WORLD QUIZ. IB Planning. Contract Clinic.
Read IMS 46, 15, 47.
Idea: If you have no Cash Flow program, buy a program from another company.
Session 6
Q3. Marketing Priorities and Logistics in INTOPIA.
Read Executive Guide again.
Practice your Cash Flow program.
Session 7
Q4. IM Channels talk and convention.
Executive Evaluation for Q1-Q4.
Read IMS 27-29, 39.
Indispensable activities between Sessions 7 and 8:
Rotate management (possible exception: network manager).
Reconsider objectives.
Prepare Q5-Q8 plans (I).
Session 8
MNC Coordination and Inter-Subsidiary Transfers.
Foreign Exchange Exposure and Management.
If time: Joint Ventures in INTOPIA.
Read IMS 41, 45, 49.
Session 9
Q5. Q5-Q8 plans due (I). President submits new organization chart and amended objectives.
Discuss creativity assignment.
Demand Analysis and Marketing Research.
Read IMS 41, 45, 49.
Session 10
To be announced.
Session 11
Q6. Manufacturing Cost convention.
Barter, Countertrade, Counterdistribution in IM.
Read IMS 35, 36.
Session 12
Q7. Small Business Exporting and Export Trading Companies.
Read IMS 7, 8, 44.
Session 13
Q8. Role of Marketing in Third World Development.
Read IMS 18, 20, 23.
Session 14
Creativity assignment due. (I).
Outline Company Performance Review.
Standardization vs. Differentiation Strategies in IM.
Session 15
Company Performance: Self Review (G).
Session 16
Executive Evaluation Q5-Q8.
Inter-Co. Evaluation.
Evaluation of INTOPIA and course.
Instructor comments on INTOPIA run.
Please note time allocated to Final Exam session 4:00-7:30 p.m.

G = Group assignment
I = Individual assignment
IMS = International Marketing Strategy book.
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