Why It Matters: Global Environment

Why describe the characteristics, opportunities, and challenges of the global business environment?


Grab your book bag, backpack, briefcase or whatever you carry your school supplies in, and open it up. Sort the contents into two piles: items made in the United States and items made anywhere else. Now, how large is the stack of things made in the U.S. compared to the imported items? Some may be labeled with the store brand and say something like “Manufactured in China for Company X.” Others may simply have a tag that reads “Made in the Philippines.”  How many different countries are represented by the contents of your book bag? Do you realize that you just identified  a small sample of countries that are U.S. trading partners?

You should now have two stacks of items (made in the U.S. and made elsewhere). Now, take everything that is NOT made in the U.S. and put it aside. From this point forward all you have access to are the things left in the “100 percent made in the U.S.A.” stack.  What do you have left? You will be lucky if you have a pencil and an eraser. It is global business and global trade that gives you access to everything else in your backpack.

Understanding the global business environment is critical to everyone who consumes any good, service or resource. Until we understand how the global business environment operates, why businesses and nations trade, and the forces at work in the global marketplace, we are naive consumers. You need to be informed so that you can make decisions about where you will work, who you will work for, who you will vote for, and what foreign policies you will either support or oppose. Without understanding the global business environment, you might find yourself facing daily life with nothing more than a pencil and an eraser.

Learning Outcomes

  • Explain why nations and U.S. firms engage in global business
  • Describe how nations measure global trade
  • Evaluate common strategies used to reach global markets
  • Identify and describe forces that affect global trade
  • Describe global trade agreements and economic organizations that regulate and promote global trade
  • Describe ethical challenges that businesses face in a global environment