Dynamics of International Business

Comparative Perspectives of Firms, Markets and Entrepreneurship

By Andrea Colli

© 2016 – Routledge

212 pages | 18 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415559171
pub: 2016-01-27
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About the Book

The Dynamics of International Business offers a comparative, chronological overview of the strategic and structural evolution of international firms.

Organized around eras of global economic development, the text synthesizes research on the internationalization of firms, highlighting crucial turning points in the evolution of the international economy. A particular emphasis is placed on the relationship between historical evidence and the theoretical frameworks available for its interpretation. Each period is illustrated by a selection of short case studies from a variety of industry sectors, including the Levant Company, Nestlé, Singer, Saint Gobain and NEC.

An essential textbook for courses in business and economic history, this book will also be a valuable resource for scholars and students of international business more generally.


'Andrea Colli has written a splendid history of the multinational enterprise from medieval Europe to present day business. Practically every chapter has a case study illustrating the theme of the chapter. These case studies accent the evolving forms of multinational enterprise through the centuries. Colli shows with great skill how the organizational and administrative forms of multinational enterprise have altered through time. His book puts the multinational enterprise into the context of the changing world order.' - Mira Wilkins, Professor, Florida International University, USA

'A convincing presentation of the historical roots of today’s most dynamic economic actor: International business. Colli understood to combine major trends with illustrative detail. A masterpiece on economic history.' - Harm G. Schröter, Professor, University of Bergen, Norway

'This is the textbook I was looking for when I set up a new history course on International Business and Nation States. It gives the students a much needed long-term perspective on the development of international business.' - Ben Wubs, Associate Professor, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands

'Andrea Colli has skilfully produced an innovative book which brings together the role of markets, firms and entrepreneurs to explain the past and current challenges and dynamics of international business in the global economy. It will be of great interest to those studying or teaching international business and its history.' - Teresa da Silva Lopes, Professor, University of York, UK

'This is a very personal, fresh new narrative that intelligently integrates theories of international studies, and organization, in the historical description of key periods of change in world business history from medieval times to the present day. There are vivid case studies that will appeal to readers with an appetite for real history, as well as are synthetic integration of many debates and theories for audiences that want analysis and concepts. A welcome, much needed contribution that should be required reading in any international business history course.' - Paloma Fernández Pérez, Senior Lecturer, University of Barcelona, Spain

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. International Business before the Industrial Revolution 1.1 The Adventures of Pietro Querino 1.2 Long-distance Trade before the Industrial Revolution: Relevance 1.3 Long-distance Trade before the Industrial Revolution: Geographies 1.4 Risk Management in Pre-Industrial International Business 1.5 Avoiding, Preventing and Mitigating Risk 1.6 Transaction and Information Costs in Long-distance Trade before the Industrial Revolution 1.7 The Persistence of Market Exchange in the Pre-industrial Period 2. The Age of Companies 2.1 New Organisational Devices 2.2 Nature and Rationales 2.3 Structural Features 2.4 Organisational Structures 2.5 Internalising International Competitive Advantages: Opportunities and risks 3. International Business in the First Industrial Revolution (1800-1870) 3.1 Eighteen-Thirty-Three A.D. 3.2 International Business in the First Industrial Revolution: Migrating entrepreneurship 3.3 The Information and Communication Revolution 3.4 Global Migration in a Global World 3.5 Input Mobility 3.6 Forms of Enterprise in the First Global Economy: Merchants and Traders 3.7 Forms of Enterprise in the First Global Economy: Free-standing companies 4. Enterprises and Entrepreneurs in an Age of Globalisation (1870-1914) 4.1 A Nineteenth-Century Born Global 4.2 The Second Industrial Revolution and the Rise of Big Business 4.3 Big Business and the ‘Modern Multinationals’ 4.4 Integrating Backward 4.5 Integrating Forward 4.6 Why Produce Abroad? 4.7 Where to Invest, and How? 4.8 Varieties of Multinationals 5. International Entrepreneurship between Crisis and Rebirth (1914-1954) 5.1 The Clay Pot Breaks 5.2 The Wars: Stimulating internationalisation 5.3 The War: The negative effects 5.4 The End of Globalisation 5.5 Global Entrepreneurship in the Interwar Years 5.6 International Cartels and Co-Operative Agreements 5.7 Governance and Organisation 6. International Entrepreneurship in a New Global Economy (1945-1990) 6.1 Rebuilding the Global Economy: opportunities and threats 6.2 The Unstable Framework after the Second World War 6.3 The Origins of American Supremacy 6.4 The Recovery of the Global Economy 6.5 The European Challenge 6.6 The Japanese Challenge 7. Epilogue: The Last 25 Years in the Light of the Past 7.1 Foreign Investments in the New Global Economy 7.2 Multinational strategies in the New Global Economy 7.3 Corporate Architectures in the New Global Economy

About the Author

Andrea Colli is Associate Professor in Economic History at Bocconi University, Italy. He is co-author of the textbook Business History: Compexities and Comparisons with Franco Amatori (2011, Routledge)

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / International / General