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2014/2015  KAN-CCMVV1689U  Foreign Direct Investment and the Multinational Corporation in the Global Economy

English Title
Foreign Direct Investment and the Multinational Corporation in the Global Economy

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Course period Fourth Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Marcus Møller Larsen - Department of Strategic Management and Globalization (SMG)
Administrativ kontakt: Peter Dan Eriksen, mail pde.smg@cbs.dk
Main academic disciplines
  • Globalization, International Business, markets and studies
  • Management
  • Corporate and Business Strategy
Last updated on 20-10-2014
Learning objectives
To be awarded the highest mark (12), the student, with no or just a few insignificant shortcomings, must fulfill the following learning objectives:
  • The student should be able to account for relevant theories that explain foreign direct investment and the multinational corporation in the global economy.
  • The student should be able to discuss the strength and weakness in those theories.
  • The student should be able to apply the correct theory in answering empirical questions around the analysis and assessment of the organization and strategy of a multinational corporation.
  • The student should be able to present argumentation that supports a given action oriented conclusion based on an analysis of a given case.
  • The student should be able to reflect on the consequences of applying different theories on a given issue.
Individual project exam/home assignment.:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration 2 weeks to prepare
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period May/June
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

At the end of the teaching term, the students are required to hand in an individual take-home project exam (maximum 15 pages). There will be no oral examination. The project shall be company centered and have a focus around the analysis and assessment of a company’s international activities. The students are not entitled to supervision during the exam period. Access to library sources and to individual computer is required. The exam will be evaluated in accordance with the learning objectives of the course.

Course content and structure

The aim of the course is to provide an in-depth understanding of Foreign Direct Investment and the Multinational Corporation (MNC). In particular, this course aims to develop an informed and theoretical background on core international investment and strategy theories that will allow for a thorough and critical understanding of the modern MNC. Emphasis is placed on the way the modern MNC organizes its activities, i.e. the role of headquarters, subsidiaries and how  this determines their relations with other firms in forms of strategic alliances, joint ventures, and mergers and acquisitions. Moreover, the course aims to analyze the competitive advantages through which MNCs compete globally with particular emphasis on global innovation strategies

Teaching methods
The course is based on both research-driven and case-based teaching. The eight sessions emphasize the interplay between a theoretical and practical understanding of foreign direct investment and multinational corporations. On the one side, theories and concepts enhancing our understanding of foreign direct investment and multinational corporations are presented, scrutinized and discussed. This is done based on the selected chapters of the textbook (see below) and a series of articles from leading academic journals such the Journal of International Business Studies, Academy of Management Journal, and Strategic Management Journal. As much as possible, the lecturing focuses on a dialogue-based approach. To optimize this, students are expected to prepare the readings in advance, to answer questions in class, and to participate actively in discussions.

On the other side, the course draws extensively on empirical cases and illustrations of foreign direct investment and multinational corporations in real-life contexts. Specifically, representative teaching cases are listed for most sessions. To gain the most benefit from class sessions, students should be prepared to take active part in class discussions by preparing the case studies. We may incorporate small group exercises as interactive components of class sessions to discuss applications of theoretical approaches and perspectives introduced in the readings. Selective groups may also be asked to present their findings / case answers to the class. In these exercises, students may incorporate examples from the readings as well as confront issues the assignments have failed to address. In general, it is important to create an interactive atmosphere in the class which leads to a more effective understanding and assimilation of the course material.
Expected literature

Course textbook


  • Grazia Ietto-Gillies, (2005), Transnational Corporations and International Production. Concepts, Theories and Effects, Cheltenham: E. Elgar

Indicative journal articles



  • Agarwal S, Ramaswami SN. 1992. Choice of foreign market entry mode: Impact of ownership, location and internalization.Journal of International Business Studies23(1): 1-27.
  • Ambos, T; Andersson, U. & Birkinshaw, J. (2010). What are the consequences of initiative taking in multinational subsidiaries? Journal of International Business Studies, 41, 1099-1118.
  • Awate S, Larsen MM, Mudambi R. 2012. EMNE catch-up strategies in the wind turbine industry: Is there a trade-off between output and innovation capabilities?Global Strategy Journal2(3): 205-223.
  • Dunning, J. 1998. Location and the Multinational Enterprise: ANeglected Factor? Journal of International Business Studies29(1): 45-66.
  • Hoskisson RE, Eden L, Lau CM, Wright M. 2000. Strategy in Emerging Economies. Academy of Management Journal43(3): 249-267.
  • Khanna T, Palepu KG, Sinha J. 2005. Strategies that fit emerging markets. Harvard Business Review June 2005: 63-76.
  • Kuemmerle, W. (1999). The drivers of foreign direct investment into research and development: An empirical investigation. Journal of International Business Studies, 30(1), 1-24.
  • Manning, S.; Massini, S & Lewin, A.Y. (2008). A dynamic perspective on next-generation offshoring: The global sourcing of science and engineering talent.Academy of Management Perspectives, 22(1), 35-54.


Last updated on 20-10-2014