Ford's philosophy was one of economic independence for the United States. His River Rouge Plant became the world's largest industrial complex, pursuing vertical integration to such an extent that it could produce its own steel. Ford's goal was to produce a vehicle from scratch without reliance on foreign trade. He believed in the global expansion of his company. He believed that international trade and cooperation led to international peace, and he used the assembly line process and production of the Model T to demonstrate it.
He opened Ford assembly plants in Britain and Canada in 1911, and soon became the biggest automotive producer in those countries. In 1912, Ford cooperated with Giovanni Agnelli of Fiat to launch the first Italian automotive assembly plants. The first plants in Germany were built in the 1920s with the encouragement of Herbert Hoover and the Commerce Department, which agreed with Ford's theory that international trade was essential to world peace. In the 1920s, Ford also opened plants in Australia, India, and France, and by 1929, he had successful dealerships on six continents. Ford experimented with a commercial rubber plantation in the Amazon jungle called Fordlândia; it was one of his few failures. In 1929, Ford accepted Joseph Stalin's invitation to build a model plant (NNAZ, today GAZ) at Gorky, a city now known under its historical name Nizhny Novgorod. He sent American engineers and technicians to the Soviet Union to help set it up, including future labor leader Walter Reuther.
The Ford Motor Company had the policy of doing business in any nation where the United States had diplomatic relations. It set up numerous subsidiaries that sold cars and trucks and sometimes assembled them:
- Ford of Australia
- Ford of Britain
- Ford of Argentina
- Ford of Brazil
- Ford of Canada
- Ford of Europe
- Ford India
- Ford South Africa
- Ford Mexico
- Ford Philippines
By 1932, Ford was manufacturing one third of all the world’s automobiles. Ford's image transfixed Europeans, especially the Germans, arousing the "fear of some, the infatuation of others, and the fascination among all". Germans who discussed "Fordism" often believed that it represented something quintessentially American. They saw the size, tempo, standardization, and philosophy of production demonstrated at the Ford Works as a national service—an "American thing" that represented the culture of United States. Both supporters and critics insisted that Fordism epitomized American capitalist development, and that the auto industry was the key to understanding economic and social relations in the United States. As one German explained, "Automobiles have so completely changed the American's mode of life that today one can hardly imagine being without a car. It is difficult to remember what life was like before Mr. Ford began preaching his doctrine of salvation". For many Germans, Ford embodied the essence of successful Americanism.
In My Life and Work, Ford predicted that if greed, racism, and short-sightedness could be overcome, then economic and technological development throughout the world would progress to the point that international trade would no longer be based on (what today would be called) colonial or neocolonial models and would truly benefit all peoples. His ideas in this passage were vague, but they were idealistic.
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International business is a term used to collectively describe all commercial transactions (private and governmental, sales, investments, logistics,and transportation) that take place between two or more regions, countries and nations beyond their political boundary. Usually, private companies undertake such transactions for profit; governments undertake them for profit and for political reasons. It refers to all those business activities which involve cross border transactions of goods, services, resources between two or more nations. Transaction of economic resources include capital, skills, people etc. for international production of physical goods and services such as finance, banking, insurance, construction etc.
A multinational enterprise (MNE) is a company that has a worldwide approach to markets and production or one with operations in more than a country. An MNE is often called multinational corporation (MNC) or transnational company (TNC). Well known MNCs include fast food companies such as McDonald's and Yum Brands, vehicle manufacturers such as General Motors, Ford Motor Company and Toyota, consumer electronics companies like Samsung, LG and Sony, and energy companies such as ExxonMobil, Shell and BP. Most of the largest corporations operate in multiple national markets.
Areas of study within this topic include differences in legal systems, political systems, economic policy, language, accounting standards, labor standards, living standards, environmental standards, local culture, corporate culture, foreign exchange market, tariffs, import and export regulations, trade agreements, climate, education and many more topics. Each of these factors requires significant changes in how individual business units operate from one country to the next.
The conduct of international operations depends on companies' objectives and the means with which they carry them out. The operations affect and are affected by the physical and societal factors and the competitive environment.
- Objectives: sales expansion, resource acquisition, risk minimization
- Modes: importing and exporting, tourism and transportation, licensing and franchising, turnkey operations, management contracts, direct investment and portfolio investments.
- Functions: marketing, global manufacturing and supply chain management, accounting, finance, human resources
- Overlaying alternatives: choice of countries, organization and control mechanisms
Physical and societal factors
- Political policies and legal practices
- Cultural factors
- Economic forces
- Geographical influences
- Major advantage in price, marketing, innovation, or other factors.
- Number and comparative capabilities of competitors
- Competitive differences by country
- Local taxes
There has been growth in globalization in recent decades due to the following eight factors:
- Technology is expanding, especially in transportation and communications.
- Governments are removing international business restrictions.
- Institutions provide services to ease the conduct of international business.
- Consumers know about and want foreign goods and services.
- Competition has become more global.
- Political relationships have improved among some major economic powers.
- Countries cooperate more on transnational issues.
- Cross-national cooperation and agreements.
Studying international business is important because:
- Most companies are either international or compete with international companies.
- Modes of operation may differ from those used domestically.
- The best way of conducting business may differ by country.
- An understanding helps you make better career decisions.
- An understanding helps you decide what governmental policies to support.
Managers in international business must understand social science disciplines and how they affect all functional business fields.
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“International business may conduct its operations with scraps of paper, but the ink it uses is human blood.”
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