Global Business Environment


The aim of Global Business Environment (1212) is for students to discover and understand the complexity of the international business environment by studying key economic, institutional and political factors that affect global trade and investment. After completing the course, students will be able to think critically about the global business world and also act independently in it when pursuing their professional interests, management or otherwise.

In practice, the course provides students with knowledge about WHAT environmental factors they must consider when developing and managing their global business projects. As such, it complements International Management (1211), which teaches students HOW to design and implement management strategies when a firm decides to enter the global market.

Students will also develop their analytical, communicational and organisational skills during the course, which will stand them in good stead for the world of work.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Luís Brites Pereira


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language

Portuguese and English


Mandatory Precedence:

- 1101. Principles of Macroeconomics

- 1200. Principles of Management


Course textbook and topics:

Hill, Charles W. L., Global Business Today, 8th ed., McGraw Hill , 2014 (required).

  • Part one: Globalization:

    Chapter 1: Globalization.

  • Part two: Country differences:

    Chapter 2: National differences in political economy;

    Chapter 3: Political economy and economic development;

    Chapter 4: National differences in culture;

    Chapter 5: Ethics in international business.

  • Part three: Cross-border trade and investment:

    Chapter 6: International trade theory;

    Appendix A: International trade and the balance of payments;

    Chapter 7: The political economy of international trade;

    Chapter 8: Foreign direct investment;

    Chapter 9: Regional economic integration.

  • Part four: Global money system:

    Chapter 10: The foreign exchange market;

    Chapter 11: The international monetary system.

Note that the bibliography may be updated regularly (via Moodle) to include additional required readings, namely real-world comment, news and policy analysis. Recall that you are expected to devote at least 1 hour/day keeping up with the course content.

Supplementary books:

Daniels J. D., Radebaugh L. and D. Sullivan, International Business, 15th ed. Pearson, 2015.

Krugman P., Obstfeld M. and M. Melitz, International Economics, 10th ed. Pearson, 2012.

Kissinger and Henry, World Order, 1st ed., Penguin Press, 2014.

The Saylor Foundation, the following three e-books (available at:

International Political Economy: An Introduction to Approaches, Regimes, and Issues;

International Economics: Theory and Policy;

International Business;

International business and news magazines:

  • Business Week;

  • Bloomberg;

  • Financial;

  • Foreign Affairs;

  • Fortune;

  • Forbes;

  • The Economist;

  • Time;

  • Wall Street Journal.

Teaching method

The course focuses on the global business environment, which is complex and changing continuously. As such, it is not enough to simply transmit information to you during lectures on the topics covered in the course. Instead, it is more important for you to learn how to find and evaluate information, which you then transform into knowledge to be applied or shared. In other words, you should aim to be more autonomous, communicative and creative, and also capable of solving problems. These are all highly-prized attributes in the world of work.
The course’s teaching approach is thus learning by doing, i.e. “teach you how to fish instead of just giving you the fish”. To this end, you have to do research and communicate your assignments’’ results before the final exam. In doing so, you will receive feedback during the tutorials or consultation periods (as per the evaluation grids provided beforehand) or upon written request.
The teaching and learning methods are a blend of theoretical lectures, class discussion of readings and relevant research by students, both at an individual and team level. English is the language of instruction and all assessment. The course comprises two theoretical lectures/week (1.5 hours each) and one tutorial lecture/week (1.5 hours). In addition to these 4.5 contact hours, the course also comprises at least 7 independent study hours/week during which students read & summarise, prepare for class discussions, research & write an essay.
Theoretical Lectures
The theoretical lectures closely follow the course textbook, which covers theory, empirical evidence and also policy. Guest lectures will address relevant course topics drawing upon the
guest-lecturers’ professional expertise. Note that classes are designed to be interactive and student participation is expected whenever possible. Students are thus encouraged to ask pertinent questions (especially in relation to guest-lectures) and also actively participate in class discussions on readings. These actions will allow students to create and manage perceptions regarding their abilities and mind-set, as is also often the case in the working-world. Finally, students are expected to arrive on time for classes and will be asked to leave the room if their behaviour is deemed to be disruptive by the lecturers.

Evaluation method

The course assessment comprises the assignments and weighting scheme detailed in the table below. You will be provided with precise guidelines and/or instructions for all assignments, which you should fully comply with. Please note that you are also expected to submit and/or undertake all of them. Failure to comply implies a grade of zero for any component that you do not deliver. The calculation of the course final grade is based on the absolute (i.e. non- rounded) grades of the subcomponents, where applicable.

Continuous Assessment
Readings, presentation and discussion
Two analytical essays
Final examination

*Regarding the weight of the final examination:

  • 1. For both the regular and resit exam periods, the final course grade is always calculated using the above weighting scheme;

  • 2. For grade improvements, however, only the examination is taken into account and so the respective grade has a weight of 100%.

Readings discussions: (20%)

Students are expected to prepare, present and discuss the course readings during the tutorial class. To obtain a grade for this assignment, students (organised in two-person teams) are expected to fulfil the following (cumulative) criteria:

  • 1. Take on the role of presenter in order to present and lead the discussion of one reading, as determined by the TAs; AND

  • 2. Take on the role of discussant in order to assess and challenge another group’s presentation of one (other) reading, as determined by TAs; AND

  • 3. Attend at least 50% of the tutorial classes during the semester. Note also that this assignment’s grade will raised by 10% if you attend at least 80% of the tutorial classes (while its weighting in the overall scheme of evaluation remains unchanged).

Please consult Moodle for detailed instructions and also the specifics of how this assignment will be evaluated in practice (available as a separate document).

Analytical essays: (30%)

Students are required to write two essays comprising 1500-2000 words each. Note that plagiarism will be severely penalised. In practice, this implies a grade of zero for any essay without proper citations and/or which also scores 35% or more using plagiarism-detecting software. Moreover, offending students will be reported to Nova SBE’s Teaching Council for possible further sanctions. Please consult Moodle for detailed instructions, the evaluation criteria and also the essay question itself (available as separate documents).

Final examination: (50%)

As per faculty norms, the final examination is mandatory and covers all course content (theoretical and practical), for both the regular and resit exam periods.

As for the regular and resit examinations themselves, the following norms apply:

  • 1. The exam is open book (no digital/electronic media - hard-copy materials only);

  • 2. The exam contains one essay question to be answered in 2h15 minutes;

  • 3. The exam has a 35% minimum grade (i.e. 7 out of 20 points).

    On exam day, please bring all the course materials you may need to answer the essay question.

Subject matter

What topics does the course cover ? It addresses the following five inter-related topics:

  • 1. Global relations - Discuss the political, economic and cultural relationships that may characterize the interactions between two or more nation- states;

  • 2. Globalisation and governance - Discuss globalisation and its drivers, merits and drawbacks. Address also globalisation’s impact on income, growth & development policies and discuss possible governance solutions;

  • 3. Global political economy - Discuss country differences and how they affect country competitiveness, growth & business-friendly policies. Consider also international relations to discuss the current geopolitical environment as well as Portuguese foreign policy;

  • 4. Global trade and investment - Review international trade and investment theories, and discuss their implications for global business;

  • 5. Global monetary system - Review exchange rate theories, monetary policies and the international monetary system, and discuss their implications for global business.


Programs where the course is taught: