Professor Urmas Varblane

Dr. Urmas Varblane has a PhD in economics, is Professor of International Business, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at University of Tartu in Estonia. His major research areas are: The role of foreign direct investments in the restructuring of transition economy Change in the competitiveness of transition economies after joining with the European Union Internationalisation of Estonian firms Entrepreneurship and sectoral systems of innovation Dr. Varblane has written many academic publications, made presentations at a variety of international conferences as well as being an partner in international projects.

MODULE - Environment for International Business


The course provides students with knowledge about the differences in business environments and helps with the application of this knowledge in creating international businesses.

Short description

The course builds the framework for understanding dynamic business environments, with particular emphases on emerging markets and transition economies. In the first part of the course students are acquainted with the role of cultural differences in international business. It is based on the E. Hall model about the cultural context, G. Hofstede model of cultural dimensions and F. Trompenaars’ models about cultural diversity. The following part of the course is devoted to the political and legal differences in the international business environment of emerging markets and transitional economies. The course continues by giving a brief overview of the institutional and organisational frameworks of the global business environment (the role of WTO, IMF, World Bank, regional blocks). The next part of the course is devoted to the issue of globalisation of the world economy and its impact on the different elements of international business. The subsequent part of the course deals with the analysis of different foreign market entry methods (direct and indirect exporting; contractual agreements like licensing; franchising; managerial contracts; investments). The final part of the course deals with the impact of business environment differences on the international marketing mix (product, distribution, pricing and promotion policies). Students should be able to understand how the cultural, political and legal differences in various countries will affect the implementation of the specific foreign market entry strategies. Case studies are used to support the topics and give examples. During the course students should prepare an example about entry to the foreign market with specific product or services.

Course Structure

Cross-cultural differences, main features and explaining models Getting over cultural differences using marketing and communication strategies Political and legal differences in international business The basics of transitional and emerging market economics Globalisation in the global business environment International organisations Foreign market entry with exporting Foreign market entry with contractual agreements (licensing, franchising, managerial contracts, turn-key contracts etc.) Foreign market entry with investments (majority and minority ownership, joint ventures) How to choose between different foreign market entry methods Adjustments in the product, price, distribution and promotion policies according to the business environment