Course syllabus


TEK360 TEK360 International business relationships lp4 VT21 (7.5 hp)

Course is offered by the department of Technology Management and Economics

Course-PM can be found here

Contact details

Course examiner

Lisa Melander


Supply and Operations Management: Vasa, Vera Sandbergs Allé 8



Frida Lind


Supply and Operations Management: Vasa, Vera Sandbergs Allé 8


Course administrator

Victor Eriksson


Supply and Operations Management: Vasa, Vera Sandbergs Allé 8


Hannes Lindkvist


Supply and Operations Management: Vasa, Vera Sandbergs Allé 8

Course purpose

The course takes an international perspective on business relationships. The nature and content of international relationships, including their embeddedness in business networks, are thus in focus. By addressing relationships on a firm’s supply side and demand side aspects of international business are considered. Hence, the course aims at providing students with skills and tools necessary to facilitate analysis of international business relationships and their nature, as well as what they permit and preclude. The students shall, after completing the course, be able to:


  • Describe and analyze central features of business relationships with a focus on international aspects
  • Understand business relationships as parts of global networks
  • Discuss the opportunities and challenges faced by firms when involved in international business relationships
  • Formulate and evaluate global marketing and supply strategies




Course literature

A        Articles, Electronic access from Chalmers library (A1 and A20 from Canvas, A19 and A20 through links)

B        Book chapters: available in Canvas



Johanson, J. and Vahlne, J-E. (2009) The Uppsala internationalization process model revisited: From liability of foreignness to liability of outsidership, Journal of International Business Studies, 40, 1411-1431.


Camuffo, A., Furlan, A., Romano, P. and Vinelli, A. (2006) The process of supply network internationalization, Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, 12, pp. 135-147.


Mattsson, L-G (2003) Reorganization of distribution in globalization of markets: the dynamic context of supply chain management, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 8, (5), pp. 416-426.


Hutt, M.D. and Speh, T.W. (2013, 2010) Business Marketing Management b2b. South-Western, Cengage Learning.


Ford, D., Berthon, P., Brown, S., Gadde, L-E., Håkansson, H., Naudé, P., Ritter, T. And Snehota, I. (2002). The Business Marketing Course, John Wiley & Sons, p. 30- 37, p.40-44, p. 48.


Abrahamsen, M.H. and Håkansson, H. (2012) Networks in Transition, The IMP Journal, Vol.6, no. 3, pp. 194-209.


Andersen P.H. and Christensen, P.R. (2005) Bridges over troubled water: suppliers as connective nodes in global supply networks, Journal of Business Research, Vol.58, pp. 1261-1273.


Håkansson, H. and Ford, D. (2002) How should companies interact in business networks, Journal of Business Research,  Vol. 55, pp. 133 – 139.


Kujala and Törnroos (2018) Internationalizing through networks from emerging to developed markets with a case study from Ghana to the U.S.A., Industrial Marketing Management, Vol.69, pp.98-109.


Porter, M. E. and Van der Linde, C. 1995 Green and competitive: ending the stalemate. Harvard Business Review, 73: 120-134.


Chiarvesio, M., De Marchi, V. and Di Maria, E. 2015 Environmental Innovations and Internationalization: Theory and Practices. Business strategy and the environment, 24: 790-801.


Arvidsson, S. (2010) ‘Communication of corporate social responsibility: A study of the views of management teams in large companies’, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 96, pp. 339-354


Tate, W. L., Ellram, L. M. and Kirchoff, J. F. (2010) ‘Corporate social responsibility reports: a thematic analysis related to supply chain management’, Journal of Supply Chain Management, Vol. 46, pp. 19-44.


Bankvall., L., Dubois, A., Lind, F. (2014) Towards a Network-based Business Model Concept and The Case of a truck OEM considering its Business Model in India, The IMP Journal, 8(2), 44-50.


Bankvall., L., Dubois, A., Lind, F. (2017) Conceptualizing business models in industrial networks, Industrial Marketing Management, 60, 186-203.  


Griffin, R.W. and Pustay, M.W. (1999) International Business: A Managerial Perspective, 2nd ed., Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc.


Hofstede, G. (2011) Dimensionalizing Cultures: the Hofstede model in context, online readings in Psychology and culture, 2 (1) 


Hurn, J.B. (2007) The influence of culture on international business negotiations, Industrial and Commercial Trading, Vol.39, No. 7, pp. 354-360.


Leung, K., Bhagat, R.S., Buchan, N.R., Erez, M. and Gibson, C.B. (2005) Culture and international business: recent advances and their implications for future research, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 36, 357-378.


Bhaskaran, S. and Gligorovska, E. (2009) Influence of national culture on trans-national alliance relationships, Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol.16, No.1, pp.44-61.


Melander, L (2019) Customer involvement. in product development: Using Voice of the Customer for innovation and marketing, Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol 27, Issue 1, pp. 215-231


Laage-Hellman, J., Landqvist, M. and Lind, F. (2018) Business creation in networks: How a technology-based start-up collaborates with customers in product development, Industrial Marketing Management, 70, 13-24.


Smith, L. and Ball, P. (2012) Steps towards sustainable manufacturing through modelling material, energy and waste flows. International Journal of Production Economics 140, 227-238.


Villena, V.H. and Gioia, D A.  (2020) A More Sustainable Supply Chain, HBR:



Bové, A-T. and Swartz S. (2016) Starting at the source sustainability in supply chains, McKinsey:



Course design

The course covers business exchange and business processes in international contexts. By definition any business interaction between parties from more than one country is part of international business. International business often differs from domestic business with regard to, for instance, currencies, legal systems, cultures and availability of resources. Thus, involvement in international business may add to the complexity of the business landscape while at the same time providing significant advantages for the firm. The aim of the course is hence to provide students with models and analytical tools that cover business–to-business (B2B) exchange taking place trough interaction in international business relationships. To grasp these relationships three complementary views of business reality are addressed: the activity layer (WHAT is carried out and how individual activities are coordinated), the resource layer(HOW are resources utilized and combined), and the actor layer (WHO is involved in the undertaking of activities and controls the resources, and what characterizes interaction between firms). An individual organization is related directly to various counterparts through its position in these three layers, but it is also indirectly related to numerous other parties through the counterparts’ connections to other actors. Therefore, the development, characteristics and implications of business relationships and their embeddedness in business networks are central in the course.


The course also deals with the driving forces of internationalization, and how an internationalization process may proceed. The course helps students to recognize that planning, whether on the marketing or on the purchasing side, is not a straightforward process that can be undertaken without consideration of the important counterparts and the cultural context. Various ‘themes’ are used in the course to highlight important aspects of international business and the implications of internationalization. Themes such as: ‘Business models in international markets’ and ‘Collaboration in green innovation’ provide in-depth insights of possibilities but also challenges with regard to international business.


Lectures/seminars and project assignment

The course builds on two major blocks: (i) lectures/seminars, and (ii) a project assignment. Lectures have a strong discursive element and students are expected to prepare for class and participate actively in class. Therefore, it must be emphasized that assigned reading should be read before each lecture. Lectures do not only intend to summarize the course literature, but also to discuss issues in relation to the theme. Some lectures also involve case analysis. To the seminars the students are expected to prepare and, in a smaller group, take an active part in the discussion. All in all, the lectures and seminars cover various aspects of conducting business in international contexts. Thus, the course rests on an active learning teaching philosophy, with the aim of developing students’ abilities to synthesize, evaluate, and apply information and concepts learned in lectures and texts in order to improve problem-solving skills.


The aim of the project assignment is to get deeper understanding of the features of business relationships in an international context by conducting a case study. The assignment intends to explore the international position of a firm in a business network, including some important relationships. Students work in groups of 5-6 students. Each group chooses a focal company, and some international business relationships will be covered in the study by visiting the company and some counterparts (i.e. production units, suppliers, customers, sales offices) and conducting interviews. Each group provides a written report and the project will also be presented in a seminar. Course readings are applied for analysis in the project assignment.


Detailed instructions for the project assignment including deadlines are found in the separate document ‘Project assignment instructions’.

Changes made since the last occasion

No major changes have been made since the last occasion.


Examination form

Examination involves two parts:


  • Project assignment Pass/Fail
  • Written examination Maximum score 50 points


Grades: 20+ = 3 30+ = 4 40+ = 5


To pass the course student need a minimum of 40 % of the maximum score of the written examination and to pass the project assignment (written report and presentation). The course has a number of seminars where participation is mandatory.


Home examination: the exam is a home exam (Changed from Digital exam due to change to distance examination).



Wed June 2 2020, at 14.00-18.00 



Course summary:

Date Details Due