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European business and international competition

Stage 3, optional (compulsory for International Business pathway)

The course examines European business within the European Union (EU) and in the greater global context. Attention is paid to key institutions, policies and processes involved in the widening and deepening of the union, including the theories explaining its development.

The implications for European businesses and for consumers of these are assessed. The interaction between policy-makers and businesses through lobbying and the implications for external relations will also be covered.

Topics covered

  • European economic integration
  • Free movement (The Single European Market-SEM)
  • Economic and Monetary Union – history & theory
  • Lobbying
  • EU enterprise/industrial policies
  • EU competition policies
  • EU consumer policies
  • External relations – 1 and 2
  • EU leadership: environmental and energy policies
  • The future of competitiveness
  • Clusters
  • Collaborative strategies
  • Global value chains
  • Clusters from emerging markets
  • Financing clusters
  • Universities and innovation
  • Migration, entrepreneurship and clusters
  • Building a cluster
  • Competing in difficult contexts

Learning outcomes

  • Critically evaluate how different institutions, policies and processes have shaped the European Union (EU) and the European business environment
  • Critically assess the interaction between policy frameworks and business behaviour
  • Critically evaluate the national, regional and global influences on European business and thereby understand and examine the complex relationships between the EU and major trading partners
  • Critically evaluate theories of clusters, and apply these to the analysis of small and medium enterprises operating in different contexts
  • Compare and critically evaluate different clusters and evaluate the competitive advantages and disadvantages they generate for companies
  • Critically evaluate vertical and horizontal collaborative strategies, and their impact on firms’ capabilities, resources, and performance


  • Essay [2500 words] (40%)
  • Three-hour written examination (60%)