ASIAN BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS
2015/2016, Semester 2
School of Business (Dean's Office (Biz))
Modular Credits: 4
In this module, we study how
inning in fast-growing emerging markets in Asia requires companies to tackle institutional voids, including lack of water, health, infrastructure, housing, etc. Institutional voids imply that customers in developing economies have needs which are unique compared with their counterparts in developed countries. Unique needs, coupled with high customer price sensitivity, translate into real challenges for many firms from developed economies. We are seeing the advent of new business models addressing institutional voids by bundling public goods and private goods together. The examples of bundling sewage and policing services along with housing in new Indonesian satellite cities illustrate how firms can make money by providing infrastructures and institutions typically provided by governments.
What makes money, however, is not always socially optimal. The same financial muscles that make it possible for some large firms in emerging economies to compensate for weak institutions also allow these firms to use their resources to prevent robust institutions from emerging. The weaker the state and the greater the concentration of wealth, the higher the possibility for such perverse outcome to occur.
Questions, therefore, still remain: Is it possible to generate sustainable business models that provide both economic and social benefits? How do we save capitalism from capitalists? The module shows that for markets to deliver socially optimal and efficient outcomes in emerging markets there needs to be a state or government strong enough to ensure resources are channeled to those who make the best use of those resources. There also needs to be a vigilant civil society to stop these resources from being channeled into valueless initiatives or from being abused. The influence of governments in many of these economies strongly affects how well firms perform in the long run. This, to a large extent, depends on how good they are at engaging with governments who act as either partners or competitors. The private sector can engage and partner with various stakeholders including governments to scale social benefits and create strong institutions.
Instead of looking for one “right” answer, however, this module encourages debates and discussions. Instead of being overly structured in my teaching, we attempt to leave some rooms for ambiguities that encourage students to take a more pro-active approach to their own learning.
Some students enter business schools hoping to quickly pick up the tricks of the trade, without spending too much energy on the laborious task of thoroughly understanding organizations and their environments. Often, tools and techniques are more highly valued than developing a strategic problem-solving ability. However, this may lead to superficiality as there are no short-cuts to learning to think strategically. Within the field of strategy there are many contradictory paradigms. Frameworks that fit one firm may be useless for another. In this course, the emphasis is not on filling in frameworks and applying standard recipes. On the contrary, students will be expected to challenge recipes, question received wisdom, and exhibit unconventional thinking. These are objectives set for this course:
. To encourage the understanding of the many, often conflicting, schools of thought and to facilitate the gaining of insight into the assumptions, possibilities and limitations of each set of theories and tools;
. To develop the student's ability to think strategically, understand the language of business, craft strategies on paper and verbally in class discussion, critically reflect on existing theories and tools, to creatively combine or develop frameworks and tools and use them where useful;
To provide insights into strategies of Asian companies through cases, speakers and in-class examples, where appropriate.
The format of the course is based on a mixture of lecture, cases, and readings. It is my belief that understanding both practice and theory, and acquiring the skill to apply one to the other, should be the core of this course. Classes will not be used to review readings (students should prepare readings before coming to class), but will be employed to give clarifying examples, and discuss salient questions in management.
In each of the classes the students should come prepared by reading the required materials in advance. The students should be ready to be asked to volunteer to open the discussion, do a short presentation, or answer specific questions regarding the case or other readings.
Active participation from students is a condition for the success of the course.
All course assignments will be automatically checked for plagiarism.
Feel free during the semester to e-mail me or approach me if you have any questions on the topics discussed in class, your individual performance, or if you would like to give feedback on the course.
The final grade for this course will be computed based on the following:
Class participation 20%
Discussion forum participation 20%
Group project & presentation 30%
Final Quiz 30%
Workload Components : A-B-C-D-E
A: no. of lecture hours per week
B: no. of tutorial hours per week
C: no. of lab hours per week
D: no. of hours for projects, assignments, fieldwork etc per week
E: no. of hours for preparatory work by a student per week
Please refer to the syllabus and the reading list uploaded in the "Syllabus and Reading List" folder in the workbin.