Business and Politics in Europe
Full course description
Given the continuously growing impact of the European Union on business, attention to politics is warranted in international business studies. At the same time, governance in the EU is far from straightforward, as it is based on a very complex mixture of political principles, structures and institutions. Future business leaders in Europe should be aware of these complexities, understand how they have an impact on the organization of markets, and know how to handle them in developing a successful business strategy.
Hence, this course looks at the wider institutional environment of the firm. This is an important, but often neglected element of strategic management. While the topic is of obvious importance for large, international companies, it also has relevance for small and medium sized companies (mostly through intermediation of business associations). The course is indispensable for students aspiring to work for non-governmental organisations (NGO’s), as these operate exactly in the interface of business, society and politics.
This course provides a sound background for doing business in Europe and is indispensable for anyone aspiring to become a leading business practitioner in Europe. A creative, multidisciplinary approach is taken, using original and challenging literature from the literature on international business, comparative politics and comparative economic systems. The course material will help you in understanding past and current changes in the broader European business & politics landscape.
The (content) learning objectives of this course are to understand…
• the role and function of the main EU institutions in the EU legislative decision making process,
• different (national) political systems and how they facilitate interest mediation between actors from government, business and civil society,
• how politics impacts business and the importance of a corporate political strategy
• why and how business (can) influence the EU legislative decision making process, for instance through lobbying
• the political and economic background, causes and consequences of the Euro crisis
• the importance of legitimacy for a functioning European democracy and how this is challenged by populist parties and the Brexit
• the corporate social responsibility and ethical issues of doing business in Europe
The academic skills that you will develop in this course are:
• To develop and structure your own arguments, based on existing academic, theories, knowledge and facts, and to present those in writing (essay & paper) and speaking (discussions & presentation)
• To analyse complex societal issues from various perspectives in order to create new insights and knowledge (rather than simply re-producing, concepts, definitions and arguments as presented in the literature)
• To develop open-mindedness for other people’s perspectives & contradicting views
• To read, critically reflect on and integrate the insights and arguments as presented in journal articles (rather than academic textbooks)
• To navigate and master (challenging) inter-disciplinary readings from various social science disciplines (political science, sociology economics, business & management)
• To lead and contribute to open discussions which do not always lead to a single answer
• To effectively work together with students from other cultural and academic backgrounds
- Two years of study in (International) Business and/or (International) Economics at a level comparable to SBE.
- Very good working knowledge of English (reading, writing, speaking).
Special remarks follow for:
- Exchange Students;
- SBE Economics students.
Note for Exchange Students
- The course is strongly recommended to exchange students satisfying the prerequisites (see also below). Given the aims of the course, it would be very beneficial to have students from different national backgrounds, including students from outside Europe. Participation of exchange students in this course is usually greatly appreciated, both by themselves and by the regular students.
- In the past, advanced writing skills in English have proven to be critical for exchange students. If you are unsecure about your writing skills, you are advised to follow trainings in writing skills prior to or parallel to this course.
- You should be prepared and motivated to digest a wide range of topics and issues in a short time and apply these in a project together with students of different backgrounds.
- The course is NOT open to students in subjects like Political Science (including International Relations), Psychology, European Studies etc. A sound prior knowledge in International Business or International Economics is a strict requirement.
Note for SBE Economics students
As the course focuses on the institutional environment of business it fits very well into the SBE Economics curriculum. Compared to the standard Economics courses at SBE it has a more applied character. Special attention is paid to political aspects of the Euro crisis on the level of the EU. The course is especially recommended for people aspiring positions at regulatory agencies and international organisations in Europe, or at research positions within large international firms.
Articles to be collected by students from the electronic library. Combination of fundamental papers with very recent literature.
- L.S. Figge