6086 Multinational Enterprise Management
Prof. Tatiana Kostova, Ph.D.
Contact details
  • Type
  • Weekly hours
  • Language of instruction
02/13/19 to 02/22/19
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
Subject(s) Master Programs
Day Date Time Room
Monday 05/27/19 10:00 AM - 04:00 PM D1.1.074
Tuesday 05/28/19 10:00 AM - 04:00 PM D1.1.074
Wednesday 05/29/19 10:00 AM - 04:00 PM D1.1.074
Friday 05/31/19 10:00 AM - 04:00 PM D1.1.074


This course focuses on the management of multinational corporations (MNCs) and consists of five interrelated modules.  M1 discusses the context in which MNCs conduct business abroad including cultural, economic, political, and institutional conditions in different countries, and their impact on MNC management.  M2 focuses on the strategy and organization of the MNC for successful strategy execution.  It includes topics like global strategy formulation, international alliances, organizational structures, and coordination and control mechanisms.  M3 covers topics at the group and individual levels of analysis, which are critical for successful MNC management including managing cross-cultural teams, global leadership, and decision-making in a multinational context.  M4 focuses on best practices in knowledge management and organizational transformation.  M5 discusses unique challenges and opportunities for business in emerging markets and emerging market MNCs.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of the course, students will develop an understanding and acquire critical knowledge for successful careers in international business including:

  • Current trends, benefits, and risks in international business

  • Conducting political risk and comparative economic and institutional analysis

  • Basic cultural frameworks and impact of culture on business

  • Different strategies used by MNCs in global operations and their pros and cons

  • Organizational structures and control mechanisms in MNCs

  • Basic approaches to motivation and how they apply across cultures

  • Cognitive biases and how to avoid them for better decision-making

  • Types of innovation driving MNC competitiveness and managing innovation

  • Best practices in managing organizational change

  • Best global leadership principles and practices

  • Main challenges and opportunities in doing business in emerging markets

Attendance requirements

To pass the course students are not allowed to miss more than two hours of class time.

Teaching/learning method(s)

This is a highly interactive class. It employs a combination of case analysis, discussions, and mini lectures. Students are required to study the assigned readings, and especially the cases, prior to each class sessions (see schedule below) and be ready to actively contribute to class discussion.


The course grade will be determined as follows:

Class participation       20%

Final exam                   40%

Group Project              40%


  • Class participation will be evaluated based on the quantity and quality of individuals’ contribution.  On occasion, without notice, students will be called upon to make the opening statement describing the facts of a case or to address a specific issue during class discussion.  Unexcused absences from any part of the class sessions will affect the participation grade, as will non-class related use of Internet during class sessions.
  • The final exam will be given on the afternoon of Friday, May 31 and will consist of 2-3 short essay questions based on the material covered in class.  Students who regularly attend and actively engage in class sessions should have no problem performing well on the exam.  
  • The group project “Managing a foreign operation of an MNC” will require researching an existing operation of an MNC in a foreign country and analyzing (a) the host country conditions for business, (b) the strategy, organization, and culture of the MNC and its subsidiary in that country, and (c) the potential challenges and solutions in managing that foreign operation.  Groups will have up to 10 days after the completion of the course to submit their reports.  Additional guidelines for the project will be provided in class.

Prerequisites for participation and waiting lists

This course is exclusively offered for students of CEMS/MIM.

Recommended previous knowledge and skills

The teaching cases for the class are compiled into a Custom Casebook “6086 Multinational Enterprise Management” on Harvard Online It will be available for purchase by students after April 1, 2019. In addition, I have included a few Harvard Business Review (HBR) articles in the Syllabus, which are optional and also available for free through the WU library system. 

Availability of lecturer(s)

After classes or by appointment

Unit details

Unit Date Contents
1 May 27, 2019

Introduction to MNC Management

Political, Economic, and Institutional Environments of MNCs

Case:  Wal-Mart in Europe (HBS)
Case:  Wal-Mart in China 2012 (HBS)
Case:  Uber in China: Driving in the Gray Zone (HBS)

National Culture and MNC Management

2 May 28, 2019

Strategies for Doing Business Internationally
Case: Philips versus Matsushita: The Competitive Battle Continues (HBS)
Reading: Porter, The Competitive Advantage of Nations (HBR[1], 1990) (skim)

Organizing the MNC
Case: Kentucky Fried Chicken (Japan) Ltd. (HBS)

Motivating the Global Workforce
Case:  Lincoln Electric: Venturing Abroad (HBS)

[1] HBR – Harvard Business Review article accessible through WU Library


3 May 29, 2019

Decision-Making in MNCs
Case: Ideal Standard France: Pat Paterson (HBS)
Reading: Keeney et al., The Hidden Traps in Decision Making (HBR, 2006) (skim)

Managing International Alliances and Organizational Change
Case: Nissan Motor Company (HBS)

Building a Transnational Organization and Innovation Management
Case: P&G Japan: The SK-II Globalization Project (HBS)

4 May 31, 2019

Emerging Markets and Emerging Market MNCs
Case:  Tata Nano – The People’s Car (HBS) (skim)
Case:  Haier: Taking a Chinese Company Global in 2011 (HBS) (skim)
Case:  Alibaba Going Public (HBS) (skim)

Best Practices and Global Leadership
Case: GE’s Two-Decade Transformation: Jack Welch’s Leadership (HBS)
Final Exam

Last edited: 2019-01-17