The world has seen great technological growth recently. The 20th and 21st centuries are marked by a vast and rapid development in technology and communication (Neelankavil 2015). Innovations in information technology (IT) have affected many areas, one of which is international business (IB). IT tools have offered extra opportunities for improving communication in business. As a result, companies can expand their business to other states.
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Moreover, organisations can create ties with foreign partners. However, IT also has a range of advantages that are yet to be discovered. In addition, using IT may cause challenges to companies in certain cases. Staff members may lack the necessary knowledge or show resistance. Moreover, technology has affected the state economic growth (EG), in general. Thus, the issue needs to be studied in depth.
In general, IT has affected IB on three key levels. These include communication, quality management (QM) and resource management (RM) (Casillas, Barbero & Sapienza 2015). Changes in communication are the most important ones since they define successful QM and RM (Neelankavil 2015). In addition, the use of IT has helped companies to move to the digital market setting (Casillas, Barbero & Sapienza 2015). As a result, firms have started attracting a wider range of customers. However, the observed trends are not the only changes in IB. With IT, the social dimension was finally introduced to IB (Neelankavil 2015). Thus, firms gained a chance to have a better understanding of their target audiences.
The effects of technological innovations on IB have not been studied fully yet. There are numerous advantages to explore. However, one may also face great difficulties when using technology in IB setting. Therefore, it is critical to analyse the effects that IT has on IB. Moreover, one has to outline key trends in the impact of IT on IB. As a result, one will be able to forecast future changes and adjust to them.
The need to analyse the effects of IT on IB is also justified by the links between culture and IT. Innovative technologies have introduced the social dimension to IB. Thus, global companies can analyse their target audiences better. As a result, companies will understand the demands of buyers and meet these demands effectively.
The analysis of the effects that IT has had on IB will inform the further decisions of organisations. Once the impact of IT on IB is located, companies will be able to improve their strategies. Firms will learn the links between cultural, economic, technological and financial factors within a business setting. Thus, innovative approaches for handling common problems will be created.
The goal of the paper is to define the effects of IT and innovative technology, in general, on BI. Both positive and negative outcomes of technology that emerged over the past 20 years have to be examined. It is important to define the opportunities that IT have opened for IB in the global economy. However, it is also important to find the limitations of IT. Thus, an in-depth analysis of the key challenges and opportunities can be performed.
In addition, the paper is aimed at studying the link between It and the EG rates. Specifically, the key trends in the global economy that IT have caused will be examined. Thus, the significance of IT for IB will be defined. The paper will focus on the different effects that IT tools have produced in the IB. For example, economic, financial, social, cultural and technological trends will be studied.
Thus, the aim of the paper is to define the effects of the recent (1990ies-2010s) technology on BI development. The paper seeks to study the nature of changes, the factors that caused them and the effects that they have produced. Furthermore, the current tendencies in IB development with the help of IT will be defined. The outcomes of the analysis will inform the further business development. For example, opportunities in digital marketing, communication and cooperation between industries will be explored.
This paper seeks to answer the following question: “How Has Technology Impacted the Development of International Business and the Countries’ Economic Growth over the Last 20 Years?” By answering this question, one will understand the nature of the changes. In addition, the threats and opportunities that modern businesses face will be outlined. As a result, one will locate the role of IT in BI. The research question will also help one to define the directions for the future development of BI.
This paper is structured in the way that provides an insight into the problem before analysing its impact. The study opens with a literature review of IT in BI. The technology that has emerged over the past 20 years is examined in this section. The literature review also details the changes that BI has experienced due to the technological innovations. The review is followed by the discussion of the selected research method and the analysis of the findings. The study ends with a summary of the findings and recommendations for the future research.
Technology has made a huge leap over the past two decades. With the creation of IT tools, changes have happened to every area of people’s lives. These include communication, healthcare, entertainment and business (Silva, Styles & Lages 2017). Therefore, the economic growth across the world is quite expected. However, the changes that IB has experienced have left many effects. These effects are yet to be studied to define the opportunities and challenges that businesses will face in the global economy.
Therefore, the impact of technology on IB has to be defined. Digitalisation, new tools for data management, rise in social media’s influence and smart tools are the key changes to BI (Hagberg, Sundstrom & Egels-Zandén 2016). These shifts in the use of technology have had the deepest effects on BI. Particularly, the described changes have impacted communication in the BI, causing EG in numerous states. A more detailed analysis of these changes will be needed for a better understanding of their outcomes.
Technology in International Business: Key Innovations
Transfer to the digital setting. Nowadays, most IBs have to transfer their operations to the digital market. Therefore, digital technology, in general, can be seen as one of the key changes to technology over the past 20 years. Digital technology made modern IB move to the digital market and accept the digital culture. The use of digital tools allows embracing a wider range of customers. As a result, companies can expand. The opportunity to grow is especially important for BI. For instance, BI can enter foreign markets once they use digital tools to attract customers from all over the world.
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Cloud services and big data. The significance of information has risen over the past two decades. Data has started to emerge in larger amounts. Therefore, with the rise in the data size, the need to store it in larger spaces appeared. Moreover, companies started to need constant access to information. For modern IB to work, every staff member has to be able to access corporate data. Without it, a firm will work out of sync and will finally fail. Cloud services have been created to address this issue.
According to a recent study, a cloud service (CS) is the “software system running in the cloud” (Bermbach, Wittern & Tai 2017, p. 12). There are several types of platforms for CS. These are the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a service (SaaS) (Bermbach, Wittern & Tai 2017). The types of CS mentioned above help to understand the basic concept of CS. However, they are also often seen as outdated (Bermbach, Wittern & Tai 2017). For this reason, the definition of CS is expanded and generalised.
Big Data (BD) is another important innovation that has affected IB. BD is defined by its volume and speed of transfer (Gandomi & Haider 2015). Traditionally, its three characteristics (velocity, variety and value) are mentioned (Gandomi & Haider 2015). The use of BD helps companies perform a detailed analysis of external and internal factors. As a result, firms can define their strengths and weaknesses, their place in the competition and their competitive advantage.
Social media and networks. Another important innovation that has changed IB is social media (SM). In the BI context, SM is the tool for building relationships with customers (Goel 2015). Therefore, SM refers to any technology that allows creating and sharing user generated content (Goel 2015). A social network (SN), in turn, is an online software that helps people to use SM.
SM has produced a huge effect on the development of IB. With the creation of SM and SN, product promotion has become much more effective. In SN, companies can communicate with potential buyers and market their services directly to them. Thus, organisations and especially BI can gain greater [popularity and become well known across the globe.
Smart services. IT tools also help to introduce smart services to the industry. Companies can use smart tools to control quality. In addition, smart services help to respond to customers’ needs fast (Liu et al. 2016). Therefore, the described advantage is an important benefit that modern technologies provide.
Technology-Associated Changes in International Business
The technologies described above have produced a great effect on IB and its development. While IT changes have created both opportunities and challenges, companies could use new options to succeed. Improvements were made on a local and global level.
Supply chain management. To create an effective business model, companies need a good flow of its services. The identified process is known as supply chain management (SCM). IT, in turn, has created chances for improving SCM in IB. The increase in SCM efficacy will also cause economic growth within organisations and state economies.
Sustainable use of resources. IT also helps IB to improve resource management techniques. IT allow reducing the levels of waste. Thus, companies will have a lesser negative impact on the environment. Improved recycling and resource allocation will also help to address sustainability concerns. Companies need to ensure safety and environmentally friendly practices, Modern technology, in turn, will help IB in managing this task.
Knowledge sharing techniques. The emergence of CS and the related technologies has helped to encourage knowledge sharing (KS). As a result of the increase in KS practices, numerous companies do not need the physical presence of their staff, instead, employees are able to work remotely. Thus, organisations can hire staff from any corner of the world. The identified change is important for several reasons. First, companies can cut the costs for renting a physical space. In addition, organisations can hire staff from all over the world. This opportunity makes the workforce much cheaper.
In addition, KS helps to avoid numerous cases of data misuse. Without KS, information can be misinterpreted. Moreover, employees may fail to deliver important data to other departments. Thus, a company can suffer great losses without a KS technique. IT, in turn, has offered many opportunities for KS.
By including IT in the IB setting, one can create the culture of KS. As a result, people will remain informed about the slightest changes made to their organisation. The KS philosophy will help organisation members to improve their decision-making process. With all data being available, people will make informed decisions.
To enhance the process of data sharing and introduce the culture of KS to an organisation, one should consider using Office 365 and similar software. Office 365 gives a chance for people to create and share knowledge (Cano-Kollmann et al. 2016). Due to the CS system, Office 365 is perfect for companies. It helps manage corporate data, keep it safe and help all employees to view it. Office 365 helps to introduce order and control to data management. Therefore, IT such as Office 365 are very important for IB. It allows IB to hire remote employees from all over the world. As a result, companies cut expenses and use highly skilled employees.
Digital marketing. The creation of the digital economy (DE) has opened new ways of meeting buyers’ needs. Digital marketing (DM) has affected IB deeply since it has helped to attract a huge number of customers. By its nature, DM allows targeting as many people as a company can afford. DM introduces an organisation to the global economy. Therefore, the tools such as CS have helped organisations to grow. By using BD, many companies have succeeded in attracting new buyers. Digital marketing has helped them to reach new target clients.
Another change that IT have brought is economic efficiency. There has been a rise in organisational performance in IB. As a result, companies have become very efficient in the global market (Temiz & Gökmen 2014). The described change has caused the economic growth across the globe (Temiz & Gökmen 2014). Developed countries with strong IB have expanded, thus experiencing economic growth. With IT and modern media, new opportunities for businesses to grow have emerged. As a result, the GDP rates have risen in many states.
A similar situation can be seen in developing countries. While they do not have large IB, they offer cheap labour force and resources. Thus, they can profit by offering cheap services to large IB. Therefore, the economic growth happens globally due to innovative technology (see Fig. 1). Research shows that the past 20 years have shown especially rapid economic growth (Temiz & Gökmen 2014). Due to the use of IT, BI have expanded into the global market. Thus, all states can improve their economic situation. Moreover, IT has proven to increase productivity. Therefore, IT affects the state economy positively. With IT, there are much more opportunities for the consistent growth.
Key Challenges Associated with Technological Concerns
At first, IT innovations may seem as fully positive for IB. Indeed, IT helps IB to use information more effectively and rationally. However, there are certain obstacles for companies to overcome. These obstacles include mostly HR-related problems. However, technological issues may also happen in the IB setting.
Resistance to change. As a rule, people face changes with suspicion. It is difficult for staff members to adjust to new standards. In addition, staff members often fear failure (Shermon 2017). Therefore, employees may develop resistance to change (RC). To integrate IT successfully into the IB, one will have to reduce RC. A change in the HRM approach and leadership strategy are typically used to handle the problem (Shermon 2017). Specifically, one has to consider tools for motivating employees. It is critical to show staff members that they are valued. Thus, they will not fear failing and losing their job.
Introducing workplace benefits is also an important approach toward managing RC. Organisations should focus on creating a comfortable setting in which staff members feel safe. In addition, BI should focus on building trust and loyalty in its staff. Building a strong support system for employees is necessary. Thus, they will feel financially and emotionally secure (Shermon 2017). As a result, the levels of RC will drop. Moreover, staff members will want to learn new skills.
The Transformational Leadership style (TL) is typically used to address RC. TL helps to shape employees’ corporate values and inspire them to improve their skills (Shermon 2017). Thus, the staff gains the support needed to accept changes.
Addressing the resistance to change among employees also requires the understanding of its stages. As Hamidianpour, Esmaeilpour & Zarei (2016) explains, there are four key elements of RC. These include “initial denial, resistance, gradual identification and devotion and contingent liabilities” (p. 85). With the use of TL, one will be able to start negotiating with employees faster. Thus, one will reach a compromise easier and address the issue of RC successfully.
Non-incremental innovations. Non-incremental, or disruptive, innovations (NIIs) offer both huge opportunities and great challenges. On the one hand, NIIs help change IB drastically. As a result, significant improvements can happen and companies will gain a chance to increase product quality. On the other hand, NIIs demand an immediate and drastic chance. Companies have to adjust to an entirely new principle of working. The described change may be too large for minor firms to survive.
For this reason, a general shift in the philosophy of IB will be required. Organisations will have to accept innovations as an important part of their value system. Innovations will need to become an element of the corporate philosophy. As soon as companies learn to accept change, a major improvement in the IB system is expected. Thus, change has to become a part of the organisational culture. Companies will have to accept the idea of endless change as a corporate philosophy.
Opportunities That New Technologies Provide
In addition to numerous challenges, IT offer many chances for organisations to succeed. These include remote collaboration, improvement in communication quality and enhanced public relations. Thus, BI will thrive and the economic growth will take place. Therefore, the technology that appeared over the past 20 years not only affects the current practices. It also defines the further economic development on a corporate and global scale.
Remote collaboration. Employing remote staff members is an important strategy in IB. the use of remote staff helps companies to cut costs greatly (Shermon 2017). Thus, it is critical for firms to use IT tools for remote work. In addition, remote work helps to enhance collaboration. Once everyone has the access to company data, people can cooperate more productively. Therefore, IT offer opportunities for IB to expand. Moreover, the use of remote staff helps to advance the economy. With the use of remote collaboration, one can use cheaper workforce options.
Communication quality. IT also allow improving communication vastly. Therefore, IB will improve information management and KS. Thus, IT should be seen as essential in IB. Moreover, enhanced communication leads to the economic growth due to the rise in IB. Modern IT tools allow focusing on the dialogue between company members. As a result, organisations deliver better performances. Thus, IT cause the economic growth.
Public relationships. Improvements in public relationships (PR) are also an important opportunity. With the use of IT, IB will reach out to larger groups of customers. Thus, firms will gain greater influence in the global market. As a result, their PR will be more effective and they will attract more buyers. Improvements in PR are important for the economic growth. Leading to a rise in companies’ popularity, they cause a positive change. Thus, firms contribute to the economic growth of a state.
Resource management. The use of IT can also help IB to arrange their assets. Resource management (RM) becomes easier once modern technologies are introduced into the BI setting. For example, HRM processes are simplified due to improved communication. Similarly, PR issues and customer relationships are addressed. Production and promotion issues, as well as SCM, are also handled faster. Finally, BI can handle financial assets more effectively with the use of modern technology. Digital tools are especially useful in the BI setting. Thus, organisations will have to include IT into their environment.
To explore the effects of the latest technological changes on IB and economic growth, one will need a well thought-out research tool. This study will define the effects that technological changes have produced. In addition, current tendencies in IB and economic growth will be identified. Thus, the outcomes of IT influence will be determined.
This paper is aimed at defining the impact of IOT on IB and the economic growth. In this analysis, a certain amount of quantification is implied. Thus, quantitative research is needed. The application of the quantitative analysis will help to identify the connections between the influence of IT and the current trends in IB. Moreover, the tendencies in the economic growth will be evaluated.
However, there is a certain element of qualitative research as well. For example, the types of influences that modern technologies have on IB and the economic growth need to be analysed. Therefore, one should consider applying the qualitative method to the research as well. Specifically, the typology of impacts that IT has on BI and the economic growth will be located.
Therefore, the mixed research method will be used in this study. With the help of the mixed framework, one will study the nature of changes to the BI and the global economy. In addition, the extent of these changes will be explored. Thus, an in-depth analysis of the issue will be performed.
The use of mixed method is quite common in business research. The mixed method represents a compromise between two issues in business. In this case, there is the need to determine the nature of changes to IB and the economic growth caused by IT. The described issue calls for the use of the qualitative method. However, there is also the necessity to assess the extent of change. Thus, the quantitative approach is required. To find a solution to this issue, the mixed method of research is used.
The benefits of the mixed method include the chance to provide a context for the study. The nature of changes caused by IT tools is explored. Moreover, the mixed research method offers a chance to review the problem from different perspectives. Therefore, introducing the mixed research method is essential for the study. The use of the mixed method will allow defining the slightest impacts of IT on IB and the economic growth. As a result, one will locate the connection between the selected IT and the aspects of IB and the economic growth mentioned above. Furthermore, one will identify the current trends in IB and the economic growth. As a result, forecasting future changes will become a possibility. Thus, recommendations for the further development of IT and BI will be offered.
The mixed research method is very complex in its nature. Therefore, a research design that will help to embrace it will be needed. A case study should be seen as a suitable approach since it allows gathering both qualitative and quantitative data. The use of a case study will imply analysing the changes within the context of a particular BI (Thomas & Myers 2015). The proposed research design will provide the results that will inform the further strategies of improving BI and the economic growth with IT tools.
Case studies have been used in similar research for a while. A case study is typically defined as an “in-depth exploration from multiple perspectives” (Thomas & Myers 2015, p. 27). Therefore, the current definition of a case study is quite loose. A case study allows defining the mutual connection between the study variables. However, it also provides a chance to see the effects of multiple factors on the research object.
A case study gives a chance to locate both qualitative and quantitative changes of the studied phenomenon. Consequently, the analysis of changes in the BI and economic growth caused by IT will be complete. Naturally, embracing every single factor will be impossible. In the global economy, the number of factors affecting BI is uncountable (Thomas & Myers 2015). However, a case study helps to single out the most impactful ones and explore them. Thus, the case study design should be used as the basis for the research.
The choice of a case study is justified by the opportunities for data collection. Specifically, the case study design implies using not only quantitative but also qualitative tools. For example, interviews can be performed along with surveys. Thus, the platform for the mixed research will be provided. A case study design will provide the setting for an in-depth analysis (Thomas & Myers 2015). The concept of IT changes in BI and the economic setting will be reviewed fully. Each aspect of the problem will be studied in depth. Therefore, the use of a case study is crucial.
As stated above, this research implies the use of both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Therefore, different sampling techniques will be needed in each case. In order to perform the qualitative sampling process, one will need to use purposeful sampling. The specified approach will allow selecting the samples that will provide the greatest amount of information (Baran 2016). As a result, the required amount of information will be gathered.
Moreover, the use of purposeful sampling will lead to a larger number of discoveries. It is necessary to select the participants that are likely to provide a vast amount of data. Thus, the impact of technology on BI and the economic growth will be studied in depth. The use of purposeful sampling may also help to discover the factors that were not identified previously. As a result, the sampling method will allow gaining new insights. There is also the possibility that new variables will be located in the process.
Admittedly, the selected sampling strategy has its problems. For instance, there is a probability of research biases due to the selective strategy. Indeed, once participants are chosen with a specific purpose in mind, the outcomes of the analysis may be shifted toward the expected outcome (Baran 2016). Thus, the use of the purposeful sampling technique may be seen as questionable. However, the purposeful sampling approach can be managed by introducing categories of samples and choosing the same number from each one. Thus, all populations will be represented equally. The qualitative sample will equal 10 samples.
The quantitative framework will be based on the cluster random sampling approach. After the selected sample is split into several categories, each will be featured equally. Thus, research biases related to the representation of the target population will be avoided. The quantitative sample will amount to 50 samples.
The choice of the sample size will also require different approaches due to the use of a mixed method of research. To perform the qualitative analysis, one will need to consider 20 samples since they will provide the needed amount of data. According to Curtis and Drennan (2013), 20-30 samples are typically the most common number of a quantitative analysis. In the case in question, it is important to explore as many factors as possible.
Thus, one will define the effects of IT on IB and the economic growth precisely. However, one should also keep in mind the need to embrace a vast amount of data. Processing a large amount of information is likely to take significant time and resources. Therefore, the sample was reduced to 20 items instead of 30. However, it is also necessary to represent all participants properly. Thus, 20 samples were chosen as the most appropriate number.
One might argue that the sample of 25 items would be the best choice in this scenario. Indeed, Curtis and Drennan (2013) advise to choose 25 rather than 20 sample items when performing the analysis. However, this study seeks to embrace as many factors affecting BI and the economic growth as possible. Since a vast number of IT tools that have emerged over the past 20 years, the analysis may become too lengthy. Thus, the total number was cut to 20 items.
In addition, the sample size for the quantitative analysis needs to be discussed. It was stated that 50 samples would be analysed for this study. This research will accept a 5% margin of error. In this research, the confidence level is 05%. Furthermore, the accepted margin error is 5%. With the response distribution of 50% and the total population of 1,000 participants, around 50 samples is typically deemed as a reasonable number (Curtis & Drennan 2013). The calculation was performed in accordance with the formula suggested by Curtis and Drennan (2013).
Data Collection Tool
In this study, one will need to gather the required information. Therefore, one will require a combination of qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques. Interviews will be used for the qualitative data collection process. It is expected that interviews will provide vast information about changes to IB and the economic growth that IT tools have caused. In the course of interviewing, one is expected to locate an array of factors affecting the changes to IB and the economic growth across the globe.
The use of interviews as the method of data collection will demand managing a vast amount of data. In addition, it is expected that a significant part of this data will be personal opinions. Therefore, it will be necessary to analyse the obtained information carefully to select only the one that is objective. Thus, research biases concerning the credibility of findings will be avoided.
As for the quantitative approach, surveys will be utilised to examine the degree of change. The use of the Likert scale as the means of evaluating the change will be reasonable. Thus, one will obtain crucial information about the impact that recent technologies have had on IB and the economic growth within different states. The process of data collection will require obtaining an informed consent from the target population to participate in the study. Afterward, surveys will be sent to the target population. As soon as the surveys are completed, the responses will be analysed statistically.
Data Analysis Tool
To explore the obtained data, one will have to use two analysis techniques. For the qualitative information, content analysis will be utilised. Thus, the unstructured text will be studied to define key themes in the participants’ responses. The identified themes will be grouped according to their themes. Thus, general trends will be defined. The content analysis technique will also help to locate the themes and trends that are the most important for IB currently.
A vast range of trends is expected to be identified. Specifically, changes in the economic, sociocultural, technological and legal aspects of companies’ functioning are expected to be observed. To embrace these changes, one will need to design a well thought-out classification system based on the findings.
The quantitative information will be processed with the help of the ANOVA tool. By using the proposed approach, one will study the effects of multiple factors on the selected variables. The ANOVA technique will provide an in-depth insight into the issue of IT, IB and the economic growth. By determining the outcomes of the analysis, one will define the magnitude of the effects that IT innovations have produced over the past 20 years. Thus, one will build the platform for encouraging the future positive change.
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