Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)

In the mid-1970s, and in the wake of the Watergate scandal, stories began to surface about U.S. corporations paying officials in foreign countries for favors.

Foreign Credit Insurance Association (FCIA)

The Foreign Credit Insurance Association (FCIA) is an independent association of insurance companies that issues export insurance to exporters of American goods. The FCIA was established in 1961 and its policies insure receivable accounts of American exporters in the event their foreign customers default on their payments.

Foreign Exchange

Foreign exchange (FX) is the process of trading the currency of one country for the currency of a another. This process is necessary for international trade to take place in a world of different currencies.

Foreign Investment

Direct foreign investment is investment in real assets, rather than financial assets such as securities. This investment may take the form of joint ventures with foreign firms, formation of foreign subsidiaries, or the acquisition of existing foreign firms.

Foreign Trade Zones

Free trade zones are known in the United States as foreign trade zones. A foreign trade zone (FTZ) is a location within the United States where goods from foreign countries, either parts or assembled pieces, are considered to be in international commerce.

401(k) Plans

A 401(k) plan is a tax-deferred, defined-contribution retirement plan. The name comes from a section of the Internal Revenue Code that permits an employer to create a retirement plan to which employees may contribute a portion of their wages on a pretax basis.


The primary trade association for franchising issues, the International Franchise Association, defines franchising as a "continuing relationship in which the franchisor provides a licensed privilege to do business, plus assistance in organizing, training, merchandising, and management" in exchange for fees and royalties from the franchisee. In other words, franchising is the process of expanding a business whereby a company (franchisor) grants a license to an independent business owner (franchisee) to sell its products or render its services.

Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac is a private corporation but one chartered by the U.S. government.

Free Trade

Free trade refers to the absence of restrictions on international trade between two nations. As a commercial policy affecting international trade, free trade is the opposite of protectionism.

Free Trade Protection and Agreements

The international free trade systems that exist today—under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and various regional free trade groupings such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the European Union—developed in large part from the experience of the Great Depression and World War II. The prevailing belief at the end of World War II was that war had found its roots in the Depression, and that the dire economic conditions of the Depression had been exacerbated, if not caused, by national policies that placed protectionist trade barriers between nations.

Futures/Futures Contracts

A futures contract is a commitment to make or take delivery of a specific quantity of a commodity or other financial obligation at a predetermined place and time in the future. All terms of the contract are standardized and established beforehand, except for the price, which is determined by open outcry in a pit or ring on the exchange trading floor of a commodity exchange.

Game Theory

Game theory is the study of cooperative and noncooperative approaches to games and social situations in which participants must choose between individual benefits and collective benefits. The games or hypothetical situations involve scenarios where participants must make decisions that affect not only the individual participants but also all the other participants as well.

Gender and Leadership

Gender and leadership is a subject that is concerned with two main questions: (1) What are the determinants of male/female differences in who assumes leadership positions and in leadership behavior? and (2) How is leadership a gendered concept?

Gender Discrimination

Gender or sex discrimination in the United States has a long tradition, partaking of a much wider phenomenon of discrimination against women that is both ancient and global. Only recently have social movements and laws in the industrialized countries recognized the right of women to own property, vote, marry whom they choose, limit the number of children they will bear, or have equal opportunities in the workplace.

General Accounting Office (GAO)

The General Accounting Office (GAO) serves as the investigative arm of Congress. Its overall mission is to examine and report on all matters relating to the receipt and disbursement of public funds.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is one of several major international agreements that seek to liberalize trade by removing protective tariffs, quotas, and other barriers. GATT is only concerned with merchandise trade; other agreements address services and intellectual property.

General Services Administration (GSA)

The General Services Administration (GSA) is a central management agency of the U.S. government.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Geographic information systems (GIS) are systems of computer hardware, attendant software, and digitized spatial data combined for the purpose of storing and subsequently displaying the spatial data in a cartographic format. GIS thus graphically display the spatial relationship that exists between various features of the earth's physical and cultural landscape.

German Economic, Monetary and Social Union (GEMSU)

The German Economic, Monetary and Social Union (GEMSU) was one of four accords that brought about the reunification of the German state. Signed May 18, 1990, it represented an economic, monetary, and fiscal agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).

Glass Ceiling

"Glass ceiling" is the term used to describe barriers that prevent women and minorities from advancing to management positions in corporations and organizations. The phrase was first used about 1985 or 1986.

Global Strategy

Global strategy on the micro level pertains to the allocation of a company's resources in a manner that will take advantage of profit opportunities outside of domestic markets. In its broadest interpretation, that definition encompasses activities such as overseas manufacturing, foreign investing, and importing.

Global Warming

Many businesses view "global warming" or "global climate change" with a mixture of skepticism and trepidation. The potential for new laws and regulations is evident, particularly since the Kyoto Protocol of 1997.


There are competing definitions of globalization, some favorable and others less so. From the perspective of business, it is a process of worldwide economic integration.

Goal Setting

A goal is whatever an individual or a group is trying to accomplish. Consequently, goal setting is the process of setting targets for accomplishment.

Going Concern

One of the most basic accounting assumptions is the concept that a business is a going concern. Unless there is significant evidence to the contrary, it is assumed that a specific business enterprise will continue to operate for an indefinite period, or at least for the "foreseeable future"—long enough both to meet its objectives and fulfill its commitments.

Going Public

The term "going public" describes the process through which a privately held company issues shares of stock to the public for the first time. Also known as an initial public offering (IPO), going public transforms a business from a privately owned and operated entity into one that is owned by public stockholders.

Gold Standard

A gold standard is a monetary system under which pure gold is the standard of value for the currency of a country. In other words, a country's standard unit of exchange—a pound, a dollar, or a franc, for instance—is pegged to or defined in terms of a set price for gold.

Golden Parachute

A golden parachute is an employment contract between a corporation and one of its top executives that provides the executive with a large sum in compensation in the event that he or she is dismissed as a result of a change in ownership of the corporation. Like most executive level severance agreements, a golden parachute is intended to provide the manager with a source of income while he or she searches for a new job.