Voices at/from the Margins: Articulating the ‘Consequences’ of International Business
Special issue call for papers from critical perspectives on international business
Deadline for Submissions
1 February 2014
Scope and Mandate of Special Issue
The corpus of international business (IB) research has largely adopted a positivist orientation, and has habitually returned to quantitative methods to empirically approach germane research questions (Doz 2011). This poses myriad implications for both social responsibility and knowledge construction in the field. In terms of social responsibility, IB has failed to substantively account for the well-being of the broader people and communities that its operations impact (Roberts and Dorrenbacher 2012). With regards to knowledge construction, the epistemological grounding of IB has been, at least to some degree, rendered static and taken-for-granted; consequently, assumptions underlying core IB assertions, such as the relationship between internationalization and performance, have not been subject to appropriate scrutiny (Abdi 2010). A few critically-inclined scholars have recently sought to redress this predicament. For example, in writing their introduction for a special issue on qualitative methods at the Journal of International Business Studies, Birkinshaw, Brannen, and Tung (2011) adamantly call for more grounded methodological approaches to study IB phenomena (also see Mir, Banerjee and Mir, 2008). In their introductory essay of a special issue published in this journal, Banerjee and Prasad (2008) illuminate how postcolonial thought, in particular, offers theoretical resources to subvert systems of neo-colonial hegemony; an idea that has yet to permeate mainstream IB scholarship. In a related philosophical vein, using the case of international management, a group of leading scholars in organization studies reflexively asks: “To what extent is it possible to produce universally valid knowledge about organizations and managerial practice?” (Jack et al. 2013, p. 148). This question begins to critique the structures of unitary knowledge that defines much of IB research.
Extending these critical perspectives, and thereby repudiating the positivist tradition in the field, the aim of this special issue is to establish a forum in which to articulate the consequences of IB by illuminating the voices at and from society’s social, economic, and political margins. In this endeavor, we seek well-crafted empirical and conceptual papers that account for the pejorative outcomes of IB, which specifically considers its implications on the lived realities of the most marginalized constituents of society, or what Gayatri Spivak (1988) labels—borrowing from Antonio Gramsci—the ‘subaltern’ (also see Prasad, 2009). We hold a broad understanding as to who legitimately qualifies under this label. We contend that it may include indigenous communities, exploited workers in both the formal and the informal economy, citizens living under (neo-)colonial systems such as occupation, or otherwise those individuals forsaken in the rise of late capitalism, which is characterized by the dominance of IB in the form of the multinational corporation.
Possible topics appropriate for the special issue include, but are certainly not restricted to:
• Critiquing the underlying ontological and epistemological foundations of mainstream IB research, which discursively poses pejorative outcomes to constituents situated at society’s margins;
• Problematizing core concepts that undergird the extant IB literature, which either overtly or covertly prioritizes economic objectives (i.e., shareholder profit maximization) over the social good (i.e., external stakeholders);
• Elucidating how IB relationships simultaneously subjugates various groups in the ‘home’ country and the ‘host’ country;
• Illuminating how IB reifies social problems of marginalization, exploitation, and cultural and economic hegemony of historically disenfranchised communities;
• Considering the ethical dilemmas associated with multinational corporations operating in the developing world;
• Bringing attention to those aspects of IB that have been ignored or otherwise silenced in the mainstream writing in the field;
• Highlighting the need for greater reflexivity from scholars who produce IB research in an effort to better account for the subjectivity of those at the margins;
• Identifing novel and innovative methods that could be employed to better study and ‘hear’ the voices of the subaltern. In this line of inquiry, we would particularly welcome rigorous analysis of how interpretive methods can fruitfully inform the study of IB.
• Using appropriate social theories—including psychoanalytic, postcolonial, postmodernist, poststructuralist, feminist, queer, Foucauldian, or neo-Marxist thought—to conceptualize the relationship between IB and the relegated Other.
Abdi, M. (2010), “Internationalization and performance: Degree, duration and scale of operation”, Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings (CD: 1543-8643). Montreal, QC.
Banerjee, S.B. and Prasad, A. (2008), “Introduction to the special issue on ‘Critical reflections on management and organization: A postcolonial perspective’”, critical perspectives on international business, Vol. 4, pp. 90-98.
Birkinshaw, J., Brannen, M.Y., Tung, R.L. (2011), “From a distance and generalizable to up close and grounded: Reclaiming a place for qualitative methods in international business research”, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 42, pp. 573-581.
Doz, Y. (2011), “Qualitative research in international business”, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 42, pp. 582-590.
Jack, G., Zhu, Y., Barney, J., Brannen, M.Y. Pritchard, C., Singh, K., Whetten, D. (2013), “Refining, reinforcing and reimagining universal and indigenous theory development in international management”, Journal of Management Inquiry, Vol. 22, pp. 148-164.
Mir, R., Banerjee, S.B. and Mir, A. (2008), “Hegemony and its discontents: A critical analysis of organizational knowledge transfer”, critical perspectives on international business, Vol. 4, pp. 203-227.
Prasad, A. (2009), Contesting hegemony through genealogy: Foucault and cross-cultural management research. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, Vol., 9, pp. 359-369.
Roberts, J. and Dorrenbacher, C. (2012), “The futures of critical perspectives on international business”, critical perspectives on international business, Vol. 8, pp. 4-13.
Spivak, G.C. (1988), “Can the subaltern speak?”, in C. Nelson and L. Grossberg (eds) Marxisim and the Interpretation of Culture. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, pp. 271-313.
Submissions should be made via e-mail on or before the deadline to both of the guest editors: Ajnesh Prasad ([email protected]) and Gabrielle Durepos ([email protected]). Each submission will be initially reviewed by the guest editors to determine its suitability for the special issue. Those manuscripts that pass the original screening will be sent out for double-blind peer review following the journal’s standard process. All authors should ensure that their submissions conforms to the journal’s guidelines, which can be found at: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/products/journals/author_guidelines.htm?id=cpoib
Accepted papers will be submitted through the ScholarOne Manuscripts system at: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/cpoib
For further details or to discuss possible ideas, prospective authors are encouraged to contact the guest editors.
Submission deadline: 1 February 2014
First round decisions announced: 1 June 2014
Authors submit revised manuscripts: 1 August 2014
Final decisions reached: 1 November 2014
Approximate date of publication: Mid 2015
About the Editors
Ajnesh Prasad is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) at the University of New South Wales’ Australian School of Business (incorporating the AGSM) in Sydney. His works have appeared in Human Relations, Organization, Journal of Business Research, Management Learning, Journal of Business Ethics, Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Advances in Consumer Research, and the International Journal of Cross Cultural Management. He previously co-edited a special issue on critical management studies at the Journal of Business Ethics. He earned his PhD from York University’s Schulich School of Business. Prior to arriving at ASB, he was a Graduate Research Fellow at Yale University.
Gabrielle Durepos is an Assistant Professor at the Gerald Schwartz School of Business, St. Francis Xavier University in Canada. Her co-authored book: ANTi-History: Theorizing the Past, History, and Historiography in Management and Organization Studies, uses actor-network theory to address the call for an historic turn in management and organization studies. She is a co-editor of both the SAGE Encyclopedia of Case Study Research and the SAGE Major Work on Case Study Methods in Business Research. Her recent publications appear in Management & Organizational History, Journal of Management History, critical perspectives on international business, and Organization. She previously co-edited a special issue on theorizing the past at the journal Management & Organizational History. She is currently engaged in an organizational history of a provincial museum complex in Nova Scotia, Canada.