Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 9 x 3 hour sessions combining lecture, case study and group work


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Coursework based on study visit 3,000 words  Coursework based on study visit 3000 words  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Examination  50%
Supplementary Assessment Repeat failed elements or equivalent  Resit or resubmit failed elements  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Repeat failed elements or equivalent  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Explain key concepts in political risk management and non-market strategy.

Outline the distinction between market and non-market strategies and their respective roles in integrated strategy

Demonstrate an understanding of methods and practices associated with corporate political activity.

Critically analyze how firms interact with political authority and civil society.

Evaluate approaches to political risk assessment and management.

Apply the above learning outcomes in political risk analysis and strategy development.


Topic 1: International Business and the New Insecurity

The international business environment has seen a dramatic `return of the state? with government intervention and activity increasingly prevalent. This relates not merely to the financial crisis that began in 2007, but to differing conceptions of the role of the state in a world of increased competition for resources. This opening session explores some of the roots of the `backlash? to globalisation. Why is the United States now so ambivalent about liberalisation in the world economy? Do stable authoritarian states with developing economies challenge our traditional understanding about the evolution of the state-economy relationship? How should firms respond to the increased politicisation of the international economy?

Topic 2: Introduction to Political Risk

What is `political risk?? How does it differ from other types of risk that firms face in their international operations? What are the sources of political risk, what forms does it take and what tools are available to manage political risk? What are the origins of the political risk `industry? and how has it evolved? Finally, what is the role of political risk at the nexus of foreign investment and economic development?

Topic 3: Developing a Political Risk Assessment

How do firms and governments undertake political risk analysis? This section of the course looks at the `how? of political risk analysis and links it to the market strategy of the firm. It will also look at the role of government agencies in the political risk market. Many states have extensive export-credit operations that rely on political risk assessments to inform the decision to support a specific export.

Topic 4: Non-Market Strategy

Firms are used to crafting and implementing market strategies designed to gain competitive advantage in the marketplace. However, success can often depend on how the firm uses the non-market environment (government, civil society) to its advantage. This session explores the concept of non-market strategy as a way to integrate political risk analysis into strategy development. We consider how corporate political activity (CPA) is used to implement non-market strategy. What are the components of non-market strategy? How does political risk inform the development of the non-market strategy?

Topic 5: International Corporate Political Activity: International Lobbying

Most studies of lobbying concentrate on the European Union and ? especially ? the United States. In both those economies there are well established patterns of corporate political activity. This session begins with an exploration of the EU and US lobbying system and seeks to understand the differences between the two. It then moves to consider how corporate political activity evolves in emerging markets. How does CPA differ between Europe, America and emerging economies? To what extent do non-market strategies `travel? between established and emerging markets?

Brief description

We will explore the various sources of political risk companies face in their global operations and survey the tools at their disposal to minimise, mitigate and manage such risk. The ongoing process of globalisation has dramatically transformed and given new emphasis to political risk management. Several decades ago, large capital investments ? for oil exploration or infrastructure projects ? in often unstable political environments prompted companies to think systematically about how to manage their exposure to `non-commercial risk? such as nationalisation, currency inconvertibility, or war. Since then, a sophisticated political risk management industry has sprung up, including some of the world'r largest insurance providers, rating agencies and leading consulting firms.

As companies have learned to deal with macro-risk, other sources of political risk ? including sudden policy change, activist pressure and global terrorism ? are posing new challenges that require new tools and strategies. Political risk is often associated with emerging markets; yet we are witnessing increased political risk in developed economies. Successful companies have developed comprehensive nonmarket strategies to manage political risk, engage in corporate social responsibility to enhance their legitimacy and employ scenario planning to prepare for an uncertain future.

We will treat the issue of political risk management comprehensively, considering it from the perspective of investing firms, financial intermediaries, local governments and international organisations. Besides studying the management of political risk at the company level, we will also analyse the links between political risk, foreign direct investment and economic development at the national level.


This course introduces students to the theory and practice of political risk analysis and its importance to the implementation of an integrated strategy. Much strategic management literature does not consider the external environment when analysing strategy development and implementation. This course will develop students? abilities to identify political risk and develop mitigation strategies.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number The course has no formal quantitative element but it can be expected that students may use basic quantitative skills as a means of preparing their assessment. Note too that students will be exposed to methods of political risk analysis that do rely on metrics and quantitative analyses.
Communication The sessions will be very interactive, with a premium placed on group work and concomitant discussion.
Improving own Learning and Performance The course is designed to encourage students to learn independently, both through case preparation and the research undertaken for the written assessment.
Information Technology All students will be expected to utilize the latest information technology in support of their assessment and class preparation.
Personal Development and Career planning At the end of the course, students will be able to prepare and analyze political risk assessments and understand how these contribute to the integrated strategy of the firm. Students thus significantly enhance their value to prospective employers.
Problem solving Case work in seminars and assessments will develop students’ ability to identify problems and draw on tools and techniques to solve these.
Research skills In sessions students will be expected to draw on a range of external sources to address the case questions. The coursework assessment will also require significant additional research to prepare.
Subject Specific Skills In this course students will learn to prepare a form of political risk assessment based on cases and research. They will also understand how the political risk industry works but learning about the key actors and their relationships. They will critically evaluate various approaches to political risk assessment and political risk management.
Team work Group work in the sessions will develop team working skills.


This module is at CQFW Level 7