ECM79: Contemporary Issues In International Business

Module Provider:


Number of credits:

20 [10 ECTS credits]



Terms in which taught:

Autumn and Spring

Module Convenor:

Prof R Narula



Modules excluded:

Module version for:


To make students aware of current and contentious issues in International Business, both from the perspective of the MNE and the policy environment, through a seminar series in which decision-makers and academics are invited to present on their areas of expertise. The module is interdisciplinary, with presentations in the fields of economics, politics, strategy, and sociology.
Students will have an opportunity to develop their research skills by conducting a critical review of the literature in a specifically defined area of economic policy/theory, and both gain an in-depth knowledge of current issues and develop critical thinking, presentation, research and writing skills.

Assessable learning outcomes:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the literature relevant to a well-defined area of international business policy/theory
  • a properly structured and coherent research proposal;
  • a thorough and succinct analysis of relevant theoretical and empirical literature;
  • Originality in the presentation of the material, for example in bringing together the literature and information in a new way; deriving new lessons, insights or implications from the literature review, interpreting the literature in a novel manner.

  • Additional outcomes:
    Students will learn about contemporary issues in international business from a variety of perspectives. Thus they will be required to think outside of any one discipline or narrow area of specialization.. Students will also develop the ability to work on their own initiative and learn to organise their work on a longer term project within a tight schedule.

    Outline content:
    The seminar series will consist of seven 2-hour sessions in which invited speakers present on a contemporary issues in International Business, from leading academics and policy makers. The topics are wide-ranging and speakers are drawn from a variety of disciplines and occupations. In addition three 2-hour sessions will be reserved for student presentations based on their term paper and research projects.

    Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
    The format of the seminar is a two hour interactive presentation including questions from students. A member of the teaching staff of the Centre for International Business and Strategy moderates the question period. Students are encouraged and expected to ask questions. The interaction with speakers will require students to think critically about the material. Invited speakers will distribute a compulsory reading list prior to the session.
    Students will also deepen their knowledge and understanding of a topic by researching and writing a 5000 word research project on an assigned topic. The topic chosen must be directly related to at least one speaker's presentation. Students will submit a research proposal detailing:

  • the project title;
  • An introduction to the topic, providing a justification and preamble of why this subject is interesting. background to the topic, i.e., historical/causative events that have combined to form the nature of the issue being researched; the expected value of the research in terms of possible outcomes;
  • A research question stating precisely what the primary (and if necessary, secondary) areas of enquiry are. When writing your project, you should continuously refer back to the research question to see if you are indeed answering the question you have set for yourself;
  • The relevant theoretical framework/s within which your research question will be studied. Appropriate academic references should be included at the end of the proposal.
    Students will be required to make a short presentation of their paper during the sessions reserved, and be able to respond to questions from staff and students.

  • Contact hours:

      Autumn Spring Summer
    Tutorials/seminars   5 x 2 hours  5 x 2 hours 
    Other contact (eg study visits)      
    Total hours   10  10 
    Number of essays or assignments    
    Other (eg major seminar paper)      

    5000 word research paper and an in-class presentation.

    Relative percentage of coursework
    5000 word research paper will account for 90% of the grade. The in-class presentation will account for 10%.

    Penalties for late submission
    Penalties for late submission of course work will be in accordance with University Policy.


    Requirements for a pass
    A weighted average mark of at least 50%.

    Reassessment arrangements
    Resubmission of a new written research paper (on a different topic) in September.

    Last updated: 30/Mar/2007

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