Course Title: Italy and the European Union

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Italy and the European Union

Credit Points: 24

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


625H Economics, Finance & Marketing



Course Coordinator: Mr Rod Crane

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 5858

Course Coordinator

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

General:The internationalization of business has become increasingly important over the past three decades. From the relatively uncomplicated import and export transactions that primarily characterized ‘international’ business in the 1950’s and 1960’s, to the complex world of international financial and management practices currently undertaken by multinational companies, the business environment has evolved into a challenging, and often unpredictable, setting.
Notwithstanding the international nature of business, individuals often see the world from an ethnocentric perspective. Their view of the rest of the world is tinted by their experiences in their home country, in their home city. As a result, business practices may be one-dimensional, lacking the depth and expertise of a global standpoint.
One of the major objectives of this course is therefore to sensitize students to ethnocentrism and develop students’ understanding of cross-cultural differences. They will expose students to an environment that is significantly dissimilar to that of Australia and /or Asia. It will encourage students to see the world from different academic and business perspectives. As students, they will experience a university system that is unlike to that they know, while as potential business graduates, they will encounter practices that will broaden their knowledge and skills.

Specific:The establishment of the European Union (EU) and the introduction of the euro have transformed the international monetary system and the operation of international business. The EU represents more than 304 million inhabitants (cf. 284 million for the US and 127 million for Japan, 21% of world gross national income (cf. 31% for the US and 14% for Japan) and it is the second largest economy and financial market after the US. As a consequence, the unification of Europe has transformed the nature international business.
From an EU Member State perspective, the introduction the euro has provided several benefits. First, the euro has been beneficial for the States’ economies, bringing in particular stability, low interest rates and zero exposure exchange rate risk. Second, the euro has cut the cost of doing business and simplified cross-border trade. Third, the euro has resulted in greater competition and a wider choice of goods and services, stable prices and lower interest rates for the consumer. Finally, the euro has made traveling cheaper and easier by eliminating currency exchange charges.
Australia has significant interest in developments in the EU since it is Australia’s largest economic partner. Due to the increased economic stability in Europe, the EU is now a better trading partner. It provides new and easier trade opportunities for Australian companies and subsidiaries of Australian firms operating in the euro zone benefit from the absence of transaction costs and foreign exchange risk.
The combination of one market and one currency has greatly increased business opportunities in the EU by both broadening access to the EU market and by simplifying operating rules and costs. The expansion of the EU to include several countries from Central and Eastern Europe will result in a consumer market of over 480 million people. This will again increase trade opportunities for Australian firms.
Another major objective of this course is to enhance and broaden students’ knowledge and understanding of the European Union. In order to successfully attain this knowledge and understanding, students will study various aspects of the German economy, the country’s political and financial system and its cultural development, as well as the development and evolution of the European Union. Through a series of seminars, presentations by industry leaders and site visits, students will gain a profound insight into Germany and the EU.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Students will develop the following capabilities:

· Identify cross-cultural differences in business practices.
· Recognise ethno-centric perspective and cultural differences.
· Analyse cross-cultural encounters from an individual and business perspective.
· Identify situations when skilled responses and cultural interpretation may be required.
· Investigate the effect of their own assumptions and practices on others.
· Identify the characteristics and assess the significance of European political, economic, business and financial systems.
· Collaborate with others.

The Learning Outcomes of this course include:

· Analyse culturally variable business practices using an appropriate analytical model.
· Analyse your own attitudes, values, beliefs and prejudices.
· Identify potential barriers in cross-cultural communication.
· Assess the influence of cultural factors on the individual, on business and on professional behaviour.
· Analyse economic, business and financial systems.
· Ability to work effectively in multi-disciplinary teams.

Overview of Learning Activities

Specifically the Learning Activities are:

· Identify and investigate selected aspects of Australian business practices and compare these to European business practices.
· Record observations and reflect on personal experiences identifying similarities and differences in the cultural approaches and interpretations of social and teaching and learning practices.
· Reflect upon the processes of cultural and social adjustment involved in living and studying in another culture
· Investigate their cultural assumptions and their practices, and identify their effect on others.
· Report on an analysis of the destination country in context of the European Union, incorporating both a cultural and business dimension.
· Attend and participate in lectures and/or Site Visits in European location.
· Participate in workshop discussions and/or online discussions.

Overview of Learning Resources

There is no prescribed textbook for this Program. However the following textbooks may be useful in undertaking this course:

Hill, Charles W. L., International Business: Competing in the Global Marketplace 4th ed. Boston, Mass., McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2003.
Mahoney, Trigg, Griffith, Pustay, International Business: a Managerial Perspective 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ, Prentice Hall, 2001.
Lewis, Richard D. When Cultures Collide: Managing Successfully Across Cultures London; Naperville, Ill., Nicholas Brealey, 2003.

Useful Websites

This website is a useful resource for your assessment tasks. In particular the Ebsco, Proquest and Science Direct databases contain a wide selection of journals and articles.
· - The Social Science Research Network contains thousands of research articles.
· - International Business Resources On The www.
· - A guide to international business culture, business etiquette, customs and protocol in over forty countries
· - The International Business Forum provides information about the international marketplace, including Business Resources, business reports, and the World Fact book. It is intended for companies wishing to export or expand into foreign markets as well as for those interested to acquire products and services from other countries.
· - ’Your Survival Network for The Brave New World Of Business’. This webiste provides access to business, communication, import-export, linguistic, legal, marketing, media, monetary, public affairs, research, technology, trade, and travel information for the world level resources.
· - Gateway to the European Union
· - Comprehensive Euro website
· - The European Central Bank
· - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
· - The International Monetary Fund
· - Chambers of Commerce (Australia)
· - The German Embassy (Australia)
· -The German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce
· - The Italian Embassy (Australia)
· - The Italian Chambers of Commerce website
· - The French Embassy (Australia)
· - The Danish Embassy (Australia)

Overview of Assessment

Assessment Task 1 (25% of final grade) - Business Report with Group Presentation
Assessment Task 2 (20% of final grade) - Reflective Journal (min 2,000 words)
Assessment Task 3 (15% of final grade) - Individual Essay: 1,500 to 2,000 words
Assessment Task 4 (40% of final grade) - Examination
Students will undertake one or two examination(s) prepared by the European partner university. This task is designed to assess students’ understanding of the theoretical and practical issues explored and developed during the European study experience.