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University of Colorado Boulder

International Business and Culture

University of Colorado Boulder via Coursera


In this course, learners develop a solid understanding of how national cultures shape international human resource management, international marketing, and international business generally. The course provides an overview of international culture, human resource management (HRM), and marketing. This may seem like a peculiar grouping of topics, but successful international HR management and marketing are highly dependent on national culture. Without understanding a people’s culture, managing and selling to those people is fraught. In the first module, the many determinants of national culture are explored as well as the dimensions or characteristics of a nation’s culture. In the next module, we review the various organizational structures appropriate for international business before turning to the HR challenges of managing a diverse population of international employees. In the final two modules, we explore the many challenges of international marketing across nations and across cultures.


  • Managing Culture
    • National cultures have a profound influence on the conduct of international business. The first lesson defines what we mean by “culture,” and then explore several of the many determinants of a national culture, such as language,
      communication styles, religion, social stratification patterns, and religion many determinants of culture. In the second lesson, we introduce six widely used dimensions of national culture, which are power distance, individualism, competitiveness, uncertainty avoidance, time orientation, and indulgence. Understanding these dimensions provides powerful insight into national cultures for international managers.
  • Managing Human Resources
    • In this module we discuss the important topics of international organizational strategy and international human resource management (IHRM). Organizations are, of course, humans working together – individually, in teams, and in large organizations – toward common goals and objectives. Coordinating these efforts domestically is hard, but is even more so when working across borders, cultures, economic domains, and legal systems. In this module we will attempt to sort out some of important ways to manage the international aspects of this human complexity.
  • Global Marketing
    • This module addresses the important topic of international marketing. We will see how standard marketing models such as the 3Cs, 4Ps, and segmentation are used in international settings, and how they help to define target markets, national marketing mix strategies, promotion strategies, branding strategies, and strategic international marketing strategies. Businesses cannot survive without customers, so understanding how international marketing differs from domestic marketing is paramount for successful international business management!
  • B2B Marketing
    • In this module we tackle the very important topic of international B2B marketing. Business-to-business (B2B) marketing addresses businesses selling to other businesses, rather than businesses selling directly to consumers (B2C). We argue that most cross-border trade is B2B and not B2C, so the study of B2B marketing is relevant for a most businesses engaged in international trade. We first define B2B commerce and demonstrate its inherent complexities. We next present the SAVE model of B2B marketing, which is a substitute for common B2C models. We conclude with an examination of factors important for successful international B2B marketing efforts.
  • Managing Cultures: HRM and Marketing

Taught by

Stephen R. Lawrence

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