Assume that you are a manager in a multinational corporation that needs to send a team of three to five people to Saudi Arabia for about two weeks to investigate the possibility of selling your products there. What advice should you give them to help assure that cultural problems do not impede their success in this task?

Session Module/Topics Readings and Assignments
        2 Comparative Frameworks:

Cultural, Ethical Environments


Objective 2: Understand the effect that country and regional culture, ethics and law have on the business practices of global companies.


Objective 3: Assess risks and opportunities in terms of economic, social and environmental forces in global business planning.


Competencies:   Critical thinking, effective

Required Reading

Meyer, E. (2015). When Culture Doesn’t Translate. Harvard Business Review, 93(10), 66-72.

(This article is available by searching at the Harvard Business Review.  Licensing terms prohibit providing a direct URL to the article.)

Ali, A. J. (2009). Conducting business in Saudi Arabia: A brief for international managers. Global Business & Organizational Excellence, 28(6), 64-84. AN=43988554&site=edslive&scope=site

Gaál, Z., Szabó, L., & Kovács, Z. (2007). Competition of cultures in the era of globalisation. Management Horizons: Visions & Challenges, 115-131. AN=31452682&site=edslive&scope=site

Ho, F., Wang, H., & Vitell, S. (2012). A Global Analysis of corporate social performance: The effects of cultural and geographic environments.  Journal of Business Ethics, 107(4), 423-433.



  communication, information literacy/research (Read pp. 423 – 426 only!) AN=74713922&site=edslive&scope=site

Parrenin, A., Rau, P. P., & Zhong, R. (2015). Impacts of Cultural Differences in a Business

Environment for French Companies in China. Global Business & Management Research, 7(1), 93-108

(Read pp. 93 – 97 and 103 – 106 only!) AN=103267166&site=edslive&scope=site

Fifka, M. S. (2013). Corporate citizenship in Germany and the United States – differing perceptions and practices in transatlantic comparison. Business Ethics: A European Review, 22(4), 341-356. doi:10.1111/beer.12027

(Read pp. 341 – 346 only!) AN=90465481&site=edslive&scope=site

Seshadri, D. R., Raghavan, A., & Hegde, S. (2007). Business Ethics: The Next Frontier for Globalizing Indian Companies. Vikalpa: The Journal For Decision Makers, 32(3), 61-79. AN=27536119&site=edslive&scope=site

Walt, V. (2015). The List. (cover story). Fortune, 172(3), 61-74. AN=109031544&site=edslive&scope=site


    Required Media

Michael Porter: “Why business can be good at solving social problems.” TED Talks, October 7,

2013. (16.28 minutes)

Porter’s video transcript available in 25 languages

at: oblems/transcript?language=en

World Economic Forum, “The new sustainability champions,” 2012, (3.49 min.)


Recommended Reading

World Economic Forum, (2014). White paper on business sustainability: What it is; and why it matters.

( hitePaper_2014.pdf)

Porter, Michael E., and Mark R. Kramer. “Creating Shared Value: Becoming a

Movement.” Shared Value Leadership Summit, FSG, New York, NY, May 13, 2014 (

KPMG, GRI, UNEP, and Centre for Corporate Governance in Africa, (2013). Carrots and sticks: Sustainability reporting policies worldwide—today’s best practices, tomorrow’s trends(



Discussions: Individual Activity

Topic 1: Giving Local Culture Its Due?


Discuss: Assume that you are a manager in a multinational corporation that needs to send a team of three to five people to Saudi Arabia for about two weeks to investigate the possibility of selling your products there. What advice should you give them to help assure that cultural problems do not impede their success in this task?

    Assume your company is from North America or Europe and considering establishing an office in Saudi Arabia. Which additional operating costs might it have to assume because of the Saudi culture?

What industries tend to be particularly subject to cultural differences? Why?

Be specific. Support your views with references to the required course materials. Provide concrete examples of both cultural elements and specific countries!


Topic 2: Balancing Profitability and Corporate Social Responsibility in International BusinessDirections

1.             Complete the required readings and view the posted videos.

2.             Select two multinational corporations where the MNCs are different industries (e.g., manufacturing/Ford and pharmaceutical/Merck). The choice of MNCs is yours. It is first-come, first-served. “Reserve” your two MNCs quickly. Post a response in Discussions to Topic 2. In the “Subject” box/line state the MNCs you selected. You must pick different MNCs.

3.             Go to the two MNCs’ websites and locate their most recent CSR reports, also often called corporate citizenship, sustainability, or corporate responsibility reports. To locate the reports: Go to the Global Reporting Initiative’s superb database,670 reports from 7,114 organizations), enter organization’s name in search box. Or  and

and scroll down to “latest case studies” or or use “Google” to locate the reports.

4.             Compare and contrast the information provided by the two companies’ reports.

•       Are there differences between the two reports in terms of the range of issues dealt with and the depth of coverage on specific issues, risk areas (labor, environment, human rights, supplier relationships, bribery, corruption, health, animal testing, etc.)? Do you think these differences can be explained by industry differences or the national origins of the MNCs or by the location of their foreign operations?

•       Emerging markets present both opportunities (generate profits, create societal value) and risks (pose challenging operating environments) for MNCs. Are there examples in the two reports you chose of the companies going beyond their legal responsibilities to

    creating shared value, of how they are achieving the perception of being socially responsible by the local communities in the foreign countries where they operate? Be sure to apply Porter’s framework in your analysis.

Support your arguments in all posts with the data and concepts from the readings, videos, and scholarly / reliable non-scholarly research!

Topic 3: In the News!

Post one news source in Session 2 – In the News! and explain briefly how the news story bears on this Session’s course topics.

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