University of Technology Sydney

21717 Managing in International Contexts

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Business: Management
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject explores many of the fascinating aspects of managing across cultures. It aims to help students develop a range of personal strategies to enhance their ability to understand how managers in different countries conduct business and manage their staff. After completing this subject, students should have greater appreciation of the reasons behind a variety of management practices and cross-cultural interactions, and understand how managers operating in offshore organisations can be more effective. Students gain a more integrated world view which gives them a better basis for decision-making within the international business arena.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
1. Understand characteristics of the global business environment, and how these can influence management, leadership, and careers
2. Appreciate the way in which culture shapes cognitions, behaviours, attitudes and values (ours and others’)
3. Understand how cultural and contextual differences influence core managerial functions
4. Begin to develop a repertoire of knowledge and behaviours that go beyond ‘culture-specific’ and which are transferable to a global context

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject encourages participants to: study how people in other countries go about conducting business and managing their enterprises; ascertain the reasons behind their various management practices; assess their effectiveness; and determine the implications for Australian managers. The subject helps develop an integrated world view to provide a better basis for decision-making within the international business arena.

This subject contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

  • Business knowledge and concepts
  • Critical thinking, creativity and analytical skills

This subject also contributes specifically to develop the following Program Learning Objectives for the Master of Management:

  • 1.1: Critically analyse complex theoretical business concepts and apply them in a global context
  • 2.1: Use relevant information and data to critically analyse complex issues in business management

Teaching and learning strategies

Classes will incorporate a combination of cognitive and experiential learning approaches. Cognitive approaches include theory and knowledge-based learning. Because management as a discipline is strongly influenced by concepts grounded in psychology, seminar content will cover some of the main theoretical aspects of cross-cultural psychology and management in order to help develop general knowledge. This will include exploring the impact of the global business environment to functional aspects of management (e.g. leading, communicating and managing teams). However, one critique of a purely cognitive approach to learning is that it fails to build required skills to become globally agile and alert to long term impacts on communities. It is not possible to review, internalise and memorise all important theories, related reading materials and cultural nuances that students might eventually operate within or with. Therefore we will use interactive-experiential components (e.g. experiential assignments and activities) to help build the critical awareness and skills required to have a global mindset. Ultimately, this course is about your self-definition as an international manager, helping you define and broaden this vision, and moving you closer to that reality.

Content (topics)

  • The global and cultural contexts of international management
  • Understanding one’s own enculturation
  • Practicing stewardship in a global context
  • Managing with a global mindset
  • Global leadership competencies
  • Managing a global career


Assessment task 1: Team project (group)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2, 3 and 4

Weight: 30%

Maximum of 30 minutes

Assessment task 2: Critical reflective portfolio (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2 and 3

Weight: 30%

1-2 pages of written reflection each week (weeks 2 to 12). A final portolio comprising eight (8) sets of weekly reflections comprising approximately 10-16 pages in total will be submitted in the final class as representative of your reflections throughout the session.

Assessment task 3: Quizzes and examination (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2, 3 and 4

Weight: 40%

2 hours (120 minutes) plus reading time.

Minimum requirements

Students must achieve at least 50% of the subject’s total marks.

Required texts

Thomas, D.C., Peterson, M.F. (2017). Cross-cultural Management: Essential Concepts (4th edition), SAGE Publications Inc.: Thousand Oaks, CA (ISBN: 9781506387529)

There are also other required reading materials for each class. Details of these materials can be found in the 'Getting started' Module of Canvas. The required readings for each week (except the Textbook) can be downloaded from appropriate Module of Canvas. They can also be downloaded via the UTS Library website:

The UTS Business Guide to Writing Assignments (2018) can be downloaded here:

Other resources


Like all subjects, there are a series of preparation activities that you are asked to complete before the first class. Please take the time to do these activities, which won't take more that 45-60 minutes in total. The activities are listed below - you can also find this list in the 'Getting Started' Module of Canvas, which you are encouraged to explore:

  • Read and make sure you understand this Subject Outline and the Subject Schedule, our road maps for the semester.
  • Pay particular attention to the assessment items in the Subject Outline … (if this is important to you). If you have any questions or uncertainties about any of the assessment tasks, bring these questions to the first lecture (week # 1).
  • Review the marking criteria for the first two assessment items in the file 'How your assessment items will be marked' (pdf) in the 'Getting Started' Module of Canvas. It is wise to revisit this document at various times when working on your assessment throughout the semester.
  • Visit the 'Getting started' Module of Canvas and read 'Welcome' page. It explains how to use the subject site, how the individual modules are structured and how they complement your learning. Each week you will be introduced a new module which will also be a place where you will be able to download the lecture and tutorial materials each week before class (presentations, reading materials except the Textbook)
  • Complete the ‘About You’ survey at Welcome page of 'Getting started' Module of Canvas … it'll take just a couple of minutes. There is a link for you to click on. We'll share some of this data at the first class, so please complete this as early as possible.
  • Finally, start thinking about your culture and the way it influences you … this is central to the subject (and to your effectiveness as an international manager).


In addition to the weekly Textbook and other essential learning materials the 'Summary' page of appropriate module of Canvas also includes details of relevant additional materials relating to the topics we cover. These include videos, podcasts, news articles, corporate reports, and other bits and pieces that might help you understand and/or apply the core concepts . Feel free to avail yourself of these before or after class (preferably not during class please!).

A range of quality academic journals publish research relating to this subject. Below is an example of these. All of these can be accesses through the UTS Library databases. You are encouraged to explore these during the semester and to access relevant additional articles from these sources as part of your reflections for your written critical reflective portfolio (assessment task 2):

  • Journal of International Business Studies
  • International Journal of Cross-cultural Management
  • Management International Review
  • Journal of World Business
  • International Business Review
  • International Journal of Human Resource Management
  • Journal of Global Mobility
  • International Studies of Management and Organization
  • Multinational Business Review
  • Harvard Business Review
  • California Management Review
  • Sloan Management Review
  • Journal of Management and Organization