chapter

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The Strategy of International Business

McGraw-Hill/Irwin Global Business Today, 5e

© 2008 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business
INTRODUCTION In this chapter, we focus on the firm itself and, in particular, on the actions managers can take to compete more effectively as an international business.

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Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business
STRATEGY AND THE FIRM A firm¶s strategy can be defined as the actions that managers take to attain the goals of the firm. Profitability can be defined as the rate of return the firm makes on its invested capital. Profit growth is the percentage increase in net profits over time.

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Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business
Value Creation ‡ The more value customers place on the firm¶s products, the higher the price the firm can charge for those products ‡ The value created by a firm is measured by the difference between V (the price that the firm can charge for that product given competitive pressures) and C (the costs of producing that product)

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Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Firms can increase their profits: ‡by adding value to a product so that customers are willing to pay more for it ‡ by lowering the costs There are two basic strategies for improving a firm¶s profitability: ‡ a differentiation strategy ‡ a low cost strategy 11 .6 .

Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Strategic Positioning A central tenet of the basic strategy paradigm is that in order to maximize its long run return on invested capital. a firm must: ‡ Pick a position on the efficiency frontier that is viable in the sense that there is enough demand to support that choice ‡ Configure its internal operations so that they support that position ‡ Make sure that the firm has the right organization structure in place to execute its strategy 11 .7 .

8 . marketing. including production. materials management.Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Operations: The Firm as a Value Chain ‡ The firm can be thought of a value chain composed of a series of distinct value creation activities. R&D. and the firm infrastructure ‡ These value creation activities can be categorized as primary activities and support activities 11 . information systems. human resources.

marketing and delivering the product to buyers. and providing support and after-sale service to the buyers of the product Support Activities ‡ Support activities provide the inputs that allow the primary activities of production and marketing to occur 11 .9 .Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Primary Activities ‡ The primary activities of a firm have to do with creating the product.

10 .Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Classroom Performance System All of the following are examples of primary activities except a) Logistics b) Marketing and sales c) Customer service d) Production 11 .

11 . processes. and people.11 . organizational culture. including formal organizational structure. control systems and incentives.Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Organization: The Implementation of Strategy The term organization architecture can be used to refer to the totality of a firm¶s organization.

12 .Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Organizational structure refers to: ‡ the formal division of the organization into subunits ‡ the location of decision-making responsibilities within that structure ‡ the establishment of integrating mechanisms to coordinate the activities of subunits including cross functional teams and or panregional committees 11 .

13 . and orientation 11 . but also the strategy used to recruit.Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business ‡ Controls are the metrics used to measure the performance of subunits and make judgments about how well managers are running those subunits ‡ Incentives are the devices used to reward appropriate managerial behavior ‡ Processes are the manner in which decisions are made and work is performed within the organization ‡ Organizational culture is the norms and value systems that are shared among the employees of an organization ‡ By people we mean not just the employees of the organization. and retain those individuals and the type of people that they are in terms of their skills. compensate. values.

Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business In Sum: Strategic Fit In sum.14 . 11 . for a firm to attain superior performance and earn a high return on capital. its strategy must make sense given market conditions.

PROFITABILITY. AND PROFIT GROWTH Firms that operate internationally are able to: ‡ Expand the market for their domestic product offerings by selling those products in international markets ‡ Realize location economies by dispersing individual value creation activities to locations around the globe where they can be performed most efficiently and effectively ‡ Realize greater cost economies from experience effects by serving an expanded global market from a central location. thereby reducing the costs of value creation ‡ Earn a greater return by leveraging any valuable skills developed in foreign operations and transferring them to other entities within the firm¶s global network of operations 11 .15 .Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business GLOBAL EXPANSION.

16 .Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Expanding the Market: Leveraging Products and Competencies ‡ A company can increase its growth rate by taking goods or services developed at home and selling them internationally ‡ The success of firms that expand in this manner is based not only on the goods or services they sell. but also on their core competencies (skills within the firm that competitors cannot easily match or imitate) ‡ Core competencies enable the firm to reduce the costs of value creation and/or to create perceived value in such a way that premium pricing is possible 11 .

and cultural conditions. including relative factor costs. political. wherever in the world that might be) 11 .17 .Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Location Economies ‡ Firms can benefit by basing each value creation activity at that location where economic. are most conducive to the performance of that activity ‡ Firms that pursue such as strategy can realize location economies (the economies that arise from performing a value creation activity in the optimal location for that activity.

18 .Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Locating a value creation activity in the optimal location for that activity can have one of two effects: ‡ It can lower the costs of value creation and help the firm to achieve a low cost position ‡ It can enable a firm to differentiate its product offering from the offerings of competitors 11 .

different stages of the value chain are dispersed to those locations around the globe where perceived value is maximized or where the costs of value creation are minimized 11 . multinational firms create a global web of value creation activities ‡ Under this strategy.19 .Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Creating a Global Web ‡ By taking advantage of location economies in different parts of the world.

20 .Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Some Caveats ‡ Introducing transportation costs and trade barriers complicates this picture ‡ Political risks must be assessed when making location decisions 11 .

21 . individuals learn the most efficient ways to perform particular tasks.Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Experience Effects ‡ The experience curve refers to the systematic reductions in production costs that have been observed to occur over the life of a product Learning Effects ‡ Learning effects are cost savings that come from learning by doing ‡ So. when labor productivity increases. and management learns how to manage the new operation more efficiently 11 .

22 . Sources of economies of scale include: ‡ the ability to spread fixed costs over a large volume ‡ the ability of large firms to employ increasingly specialized equipment or personnel 11 .Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Economies of Scale Economies of scale refers to the reductions in unit cost achieved by producing a large volume of a product.

Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Strategic Significance ‡ Moving down the experience curve allows a firm to reduce its cost of creating value ‡ Serving a global market from a single location is consistent with moving down the experience curve and establishing a low-cost position 11 .23 .

Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Leveraging Subsidiary Skills ‡ Managers must recognize that valuable skills that could be applied elsewhere in the firm can arise anywhere within the firm¶s global network (not just at the corporate center) ‡ Managers must also establish an incentive system that encourages local employees to acquire new skills Summary ‡ Managers need to keep in mind the complex relationship between profitability and profit growth when making strategic decisions about pricing 11 .24 .

a) Experience effects b) Learning effects c) Economies of scale d) A global web 11 .25 .Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Classroom Performance System When different stages of a value chain are dispersed to those locations around the world where value added is maximized or where the costs of value creation are minimized. _____ is (are) created.

Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business COST PRESSURES AND PRESSURES FOR LOCAL RESPONSIVENESS Firms that compete in the global marketplace typically face two types of competitive pressures: ‡ pressures for cost reductions ‡ pressures to be locally responsive These pressures place conflicting demands on the firm. 11 .26 .

8.27 .Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Pressures for cost reductions and pressures to be locally responsive are shown in Figure 11. 11 .

Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Pressures for Cost Reductions Pressures for cost reductions are greatest: ‡ in industries producing commodity type products that fill universal needs (needs that exist when the tastes and preferences of consumers in different nations are similar if not identical) where price is the main competitive weapon ‡ when major competitors are based in low cost locations ‡ where there is persistent excess capacity ‡ where consumers are powerful and face low switching costs 11 .28 .

29 .Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Firms facing pressures for cost reductions: ‡ must try to lower the costs of value creation by mass-producing a standard product at the optimal locations worldwide 11 .

30 .Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Pressures for Local Responsiveness Pressures for local responsiveness arise from: ‡ differences in consumer tastes and preferences ‡ differences in traditional practices and infrastructure ‡ differences in distribution channels ‡ host government demands 11 .

Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Differences in Consumer Tastes and Preferences ‡ Strong pressures for local responsiveness emerge when consumer tastes and preferences differ significantly between countries Differences in Infrastructure and Traditional Practices ‡ Pressures for local responsiveness emerge when there are differences in infrastructure and/or traditional practices between countries 11 .31 .

Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Differences in Distribution Channels ‡ A firm's marketing strategies may have to be responsive to differences in distribution channels between countries Host Government Demands ‡ Economic and political demands imposed by host country governments may necessitate a degree of local responsiveness 11 .32 .

Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Classroom Performance System Pressures for local responsiveness come from all of the following except a) Excess capacity b) Host government demands c) Differences in consumer tastes and preferences d) Differences in distribution channels 11 .33 .

Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business CHOOSING A STRATEGY Firms use four basic strategies to compete in the international environment: ‡ global standardization ‡ localization ‡ transnational ‡ international 11 .34 .

35 . learning effects.Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Global Standardization Strategy ‡ A global standardization strategy focuses on increasing profitability and profit growth by reaping the cost reductions that come from economies of scale. and location economies ‡ The strategic goal is to pursue a low-cost strategy on a global scale ‡ This strategy makes sense when there are strong pressures for cost reductions and demands for local responsiveness are minimal 11 .

36 . and where cost pressures are not too intense 11 .Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Localization Strategy ‡ A localization strategy focuses on increasing profitability by customizing the firm¶s goods or services so that they provide a good match to tastes and preferences in different national markets ‡ Localization is most appropriate when there are substantial differences across nations with regard to consumer tastes and preferences.

37 . so are pressures for local responsiveness. economies of scale.Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Transnational Strategy A transnational strategy tries to simultaneously: ‡ achieve low costs through location economies. and learning effects ‡ differentiate the product offering across geographic markets to account for local differences ‡ foster a multidirectional flow of skills between different subsidiaries in the firm¶s global network of operations A transnational strategy makes sense when cost pressures are intense. and simultaneously. 11 .

Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business International Strategy ‡ An international strategy involves taking products first produced for the domestic market and then selling them internationally with only minimal local customization ‡ When there are low cost pressures and low pressures for local responsiveness.38 . an international strategy is appropriate 11 .

39 . firms may need to shift to a global standardization strategy or a transnational strategy in advance of competitors ‡ Similarly.Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business The Evolution of Strategy ‡ An international strategy may not be viable in the long term ‡ To survive. but if the firm is simultaneously facing aggressive competitors. and the only way to do that may be to shift toward a transnational strategy 11 . the company will also have to reduce its cost structures. localization may give a firm a competitive edge.

a _______ makes sense.Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Classroom Performance System When pressures are high for local responsiveness. a) Global standardization strategy b) International strategy c) Transnational strategy d) Localization strategy 11 . but low for cost reductions.40 .

41 .Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business STRATEGIC ALLIANCES ‡ Strategic alliances refer to cooperative agreements between potential or actual competitors 11 .

Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business The Advantages of Strategic Alliances Strategic alliances: ‡ facilitate entry into a foreign market ‡ allow firms to share the fixed costs (and associated risks) of developing new products or processes ‡ bring together complementary skills and assets that neither partner could easily develop on its own 11 .42 .

Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business The Disadvantages of Strategic Alliances ‡ Strategic alliances can give competitors low-cost routes to new technology and markets. but unless a firm is careful. it can give away more than it receives 11 .43 .

Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Making Alliances Work The success of an alliance seems to be a function of three main factors: ‡ partner selection ‡ alliance structure ‡ the manner in which the alliance is managed 11 .44 .

to expropriate the firm¶s technological know-how while giving away little in return 11 .45 .Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Partner Selection A good partner has three principal characteristics: ‡ a good partner helps the firm achieve its strategic goals and has the capabilities the firm lacks and that it values ‡ a good partner shares the firm¶s vision for the purpose of the alliance ‡ a good partner is unlikely to try to opportunistically exploit the alliance for its own ends: that it.

Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Alliance Structure ‡ Alliances can be designed to make it difficult to transfer technology not meant to be transferred ‡ Contractual safeguards can be written into an alliance agreement to guard against the risk of opportunism by a partner ‡ Both parties can agree in advance to swap skills and technologies to ensure a chance for equitable gain ‡ The risk of opportunism by an alliance partner can be reduced if the firm extracts a significant credible commitment from its partner in advance 11 .46 .

47 .Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business Managing the Alliance ‡ Successfully managing an alliance requires managers from both companies to build interpersonal relationships ‡ A major determinant of how much a company gains from an alliance is its ability to learn from its alliance partners 11 .

11 . firms must expand internationally if they are to survive.48 . Discuss.Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business CRITICAL THINKING AND DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. and non-trivial differences between nations with regard to factor endowments. no trade barriers. In a world of zero transportation costs.

Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business CRITICAL THINKING AND DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 2.49 . In each case justify your answer. 11 .8 Procter & Gamble. Dow Chemical. IBM. US Steel. Plot the position of the following firms on Figure 11. and McDonald's. Nokia. Coca-Cola.

Re-Read the Management Focus box on Procter & Gamble and then answer the following questions: a) What strategy was Procter & Gamble pursuing when it first entered foreign markets in the period up until the 1980s? b) Why do you think this strategy became less viable in the 1990s? c) What strategy does Procter & Gamble appear to be moving toward? What are the benefits of this strategy? What are the potential risks associated with it? 11 .50 .Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business CRITICAL THINKING AND DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 3.

Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business CRITICAL THINKING AND DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 4. What do you see as the main organizational problems that are likely to be associated with the implementation of a transnational strategy? 11 .51 .

Chapter 11: The Strategy of International Business CRITICAL THINKING AND DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 5. What are the benefits to Cisco and Fujitsu respectively of the alliance? What are the risks to Cisco? How can Cisco mitigate those risks? 11 . Reread the Management Focus box on the alliance between Cisco and Fujitsu.52 .

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