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Competitive Productivity (CP): Advancing the Competitiveness Paradigm

Special issue call for papers from Cross Cultural & Strategic Management

The submission portal for this special issue will open September 1, 2019

Chris Baumann, Macquarie University, Sydney Australia, and Seoul National University (SNU), Korea
Michael Cherry, Macquarie University, Sydney Australia, and Raffrey, Sydney, Australia
Wujin Chu, Seoul National University (SNU), Seoul Korea
Hume Winzar, Macquarie University, Sydney Australia
Doris Viengkham, Macquarie University, Sydney Australia

Recent social and economic developments on the global stage indicate that competitiveness is more important than ever, not only for nations operating at the macro-level, but also for firms and individuals at the meso- and micro-levels, respectively. Despite its importance, one question that persists is what is the essence of competitiveness, and how can we capture it, and what determines it? While formal measures have been well established such as Porter’s (1980; 1985; 1990; 2003) frameworks, Rugman and Cruz’s (1993) " double diamond" model of international competitiveness, or that of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) pillars (Schwab and Sala-i-Martin, 2013), they may not fully capture the true level, or multifaceted drivers, of competitiveness in today’s era of dynamic activities. For example, high-school students in East Asian countries outperform the West academically, and Korean latecomer brands such as Samsung (electronics), Hyundai and Kia (automobiles) are some the most valued brands in the world while some of those of the West have stagnated. Despite the rise in fierce competition over the years, official global competitiveness rankings do not always reflect this performance, likely because they were designed in a Western context, and do not capture the nuances attributed to cultural differences—among other factors—that shape their competitiveness. Such dynamic shifts in performance between East vis-à-vis West present an opportune time to revisit the concept of competitiveness, both theoretically and empirically, by investigating its antecedents, consequences, and interplay across multiple levels.

In a recent development, the concept of Competitive Productivity, or CP (Baumann, Cherry and Chu, 2019; Baumann and Pintado, 2013), was introduced to advance the understanding of competitiveness, by combining the constructs of ‘competitiveness’ and ‘productivity’ which were largely considered in isolation of each other. Together, CP reflects a way of thinking and acting, or in short, an attitude and behaviour directed at outperforming the competition through pragmatism. Further development of CP may allow for more effective benchmarking, and allow steps to be taken for continuous improvement and enhanced performance.
We invite submissions to this special issue of Cross Cultural and Strategic Management focussing on the meaning, measurement and applications of the Competitive Productivity concept.

Submissions might explore the CP of employees/students (micro), firms/institution (meso), or nations (macro), investigate how all three interrelate as a top-down, bottom-up, or bi-directional process to explain performance. Though it is crucial to explore contributing factors such as education and role of institutions, culture, operating practices, and policies as some determinants, we invite scholars to push the boundaries and entertain novel theories that are inter-disciplinary, or not usually found in the literature, especially in the domain of cross-cultural and strategic management. For example, should we revisit the systems view of competitiveness? Walton (2017), and Heene and Sanchez (1997) have borrowed from biological systems theory to examine the interplay of organisational and industry structures. In this special issue we could ask, to what extent is competitiveness, and more particularly Competitive Productivity, an emergent property of system components?

Competitiveness and productivity research in business and management, and related disciplines, is not new, yet warrants ongoing investigation because the tides of global activity are constantly changing, and the newly introduced CP paradigm combining competitiveness and productivity warrants empirical verification and theoretical probing. This will help us to advance our stock of knowledge. In recent years, there has been a transition from “West leads East” to “East meets West” (Chen and Miller, 2010), and the implications for examining CP during this time of change might assist with developing strategies, comparing processes, and recognising the different factors that drive performance across societies. The recently introduced Confucianism, Discipline and Competitiveness CDC paradigm (see Baumann, Winzar and Viengkham, 2020) pointed in the direction of higher discipline levels in the Confucian Orbit associating with stronger academic performance and ultimately more global competitiveness. To what degree CDC and CP link should be explored to better understand the true nature of CP at the three macro/meso/micro levels, with likely drivers being cultural values (such as Confucianism) and also education and varying pedagogical approaches, e.g. discipline.

Only few research has explored the ethical components of competitiveness (Mudrack, Bloodgood and Turnley, 2012); individual competitive attitude (Ryckman et al., 1996); trait competitiveness (Wang and Netemyer, 2002); brand competitiveness (Winzar, Baumann and Chu, 2018); the role of secondary education on national competitiveness (Baumann and Winzar, 2016); competitiveness on workforce performance (Baumann, Hamin, Tung and Hoadley, 2016), and the influence of culture (Baumann and Hamin, 2011) and discipline (Baumann and Krskova, 2016; Baumann, Winzar and Viengkham, 2020). Though clear strides have been made, more can be done.

To date, CP is centred on six components:

  1. Benchmarking
  2. Culture
  3. Education/Development
  4. Environment/Infrastructure
  5. Performance
  6. Values

The original CP paper provides specific construct measurements at three levels (i.e. dependent CP variables):

  • National Competitive Productivity (NCP) model (Macro level)
  • Firm Competitive Productivity (FCP) model (Meso level)
  • Individual Competitive Productivity (ICP) model (Micro level)

The CP paper further identifies main components/drivers for each level, namely (i.e. independent variables in relation to CP):

  • Macro/NCP: geographical location and political stability (e.g. Porter, 1990), national culture (e.g. Tung, 2002; Baumann and Hamin, 2011) and a nation’s institutions (e.g. education) and economic policy (e.g. Porter, 1990) are determinants of NCP.
  • Meso/FCP: talent management, resource management, corporate culture, and brand management drive FCP.
  • Micro/ICP: inherited elements (or genes) based on Darwin’s work (1880), personality (e.g. Ryska, 2002) and motivation (e.g. Fülöp, 2004), education (e.g. Pellerin, 2005), nurturing through parents (e.g. Baumrind, 1991; parenting style, and overall life experience (e.g. Mudrack and colleagues, 2012) drive ICP.

A fundamental question is posed in the CP paper that we invite scholars to theoretically, conceptually and empirically explore:

Indeed, there are two views on the components we are proposing for NCP, FCP and ICP: they could be tested as drivers, or antecedents, of NCP, FCP and ICP, but crucially, and alternatively, as composites of NCP, FCP and ICP. In other words, it has yet to be established to what degree the suggested components – and additional future ones – are, or make up, NCP, FCP and ICP. It is, de facto, a “chicken or egg” question.

The aim of this Special Issue is to invite scholars to explore novel concepts and methodologies in line with Competitive Productivity, and to develop a foundation for further research on this important topic. Specifically, further investigations that link CP and outcomes at various levels is needed; Tung and Stahl (2018) point out that, in the literature, there is a “failure to adopt a multilevel approach and insufficient attention to level of analysis”, and more attention should be given to exploring this micro-meso-macro architecture. Scholars are invited to reflect on the antecedents of Competitive Productivity, with the focus of validating specific measures that can be applied to explaining phenomena rooted in the strategies, performance, and growth of various entities. Furthermore, how CP manifests or affects an outcome is likely to be contingent on the context (Baumann and Winzar, 2017; Johns, 2006); in other words, the factors that drive CP are relative, and may become apparent under certain condition, but not others. Tackling such problems will require researchers to engage with both ‘traditional’ and ‘unconventional’ methodologies in how they, for example, “scientifically look at the data” (i.e., Inter-ocular testing; Baumann, Winzar and Fang, 2018), deal with multilevel modelling and the complexity of ecological systems (e.g., Ponge, 2005; Holland, 1998), or assessing how relative values moderate behaviour (i.e., ReVaMB model; Baumann and Winzar, 2017).

For the purpose of cross-cultural and strategic management, we pose the question: is Competitive Productivity a social and psychological framework that varies across societies and cultural groups, or is it a constant that is manifested in different ways according to specific economic and social conditions? It could be that there are certain configurations of factors that determine CP, and that these can be adapted across societies, but it could also be that they are unique to some cultures/societies/subgroups. These and many other questions are a starting point to advancing CP research, and submissions may wish to address these issues through a study of different industries, geographic regions, societies, cultures, and employees in both developed and developing nations.

We are interested in any and all articles, as long as they address issues that advance the understanding of Competitive Productivity in cross-cultural management and strategy. The CP paper provides a research agenda for Competitive Productivity (CP) and five specific directions for future research as a foundation for research to be considered for this special issue:

  1. Empirical verification of Competitive Productivity construct measurements
  2. Empirical testing of Competitive Productivity components in the context of the ReVaMB model
  3. Competitive Productivity in context
  4. Competitive Productivity and Chance Events (Porter Diamond)
  5. Competitive Productivity interplay among NCP, FCP and ICP

More broadly, topics for this special issue can include:

  • Conceptualisation, measurement, and empirical validation of Competitive Productivity construct measurements at the macro-, meso-, and micro-levels.
  • Empirical testing of Competitive Productivity components and outcomes across various contexts (e.g., cross-national, situations, organisational size, industry or ownership type); testing should factor in the relative values and moderated behaviour (ReVaMB) model which stipulates that certain values can be activated and drive behaviour depending on the circumstance or situation.
  • Examination of Competitive Productivity as a determinant of outcomes (e.g., welfare at the national level, profitability at the firm level, life satisfaction at the employee level) in cross-national contexts.
  • The extent to which Competitive Productivity is the result of deliberate, and controlled choices, or “chance events”, such as luck and fortune, uncontrollable events, or the culmination of certain socio-historical and economic conditions.
  • Empirically testing the interplay of Competitive Productivity among national (macro), firm (meso), and individual (micro) levels; how does each level interact with the next, and how does it form a complex system?
  • Theoretical contributions to the concept of Competitive Productivity.
  • Comparative studies on Competitive Productivity among nations, firms, cultures, etc.
  • Longitudinal studies that examine the trajectory of growth or decline in Competitive Productivity over time.
  • Case study exemplars of Competitiveness Productivity.

All manuscripts will undergo a double-blind peer review process. Submissions should be between 5,000-9,000 words, including references, figures and tables, and follow the manuscript requirement outlined on the journal’s website: The submission deadline is 31 December 2019; the review process will take place in the first half of 2020. Please direct queries to:

Following on from successful conference sessions held at the Academy of International Business (AIB) in the past, a panel session pertaining to the theme of the SI is planned for one of the AIB chapter conferences; for example the AIB Southeast Asia Chapter. Successful authors in the ‘Revise and Resubmit’ stage for this Special Issue will be invited to present their paper at the panel in 2020. Details will be posted on this website once the panel and its member have been confirmed.

Baumann, C., Cherry, M., and Chu, W. (2019), “Competitive Productivity (CP) at Macro-Meso-Micro Levels,” Cross Cultural & Strategic Management Journal. Forthcoming.
Baumann, C., and Hamin, H. (2011), “The Role of Culture, Competitiveness and Economic Performance in Explaining Academic Performance: A Global Market Analysis for International Student Segmentation,” Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, Vol. 21, pp. 181-201.
Baumann, C., Hamin, H., Tung, R.L., and Hoadley, S. (2016), “Competitiveness and Workforce Performance: Asia vis-à-vis the West,” International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 28, pp. 2197-2217.
Baumann, C., and Krskova, H. (2016), “School Discipline, School Uniforms and Academic Performance,” International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 30 No. 6, pp. 1003-1029.
Baumann, C., and Pintado, I. (2013), “Competitive Productivity,” Journal of the Institute of Management Services, Spring Vol. 57, pp. 9-11.
Baumann, C., and Winzar, H. (2016), “The Role of Secondary Education in Explaining Competitiveness,” Asia Pacific Journal of Education, Vol. 36, pp. 13-30.
Baumann, C., and Winzar, H. (2017), “Confucianism and Work Ethic—Introducing the ReVaMB Model” in The Political Economy of Business Ethics in East Asia, pp. 33-60. Chandos Publishing.
Baumann, C., Winzar, H., and Fang, T. (2018), “East Asian Wisdom and Relativity: Inter-ocular Testing of Schwartz Values from WVS with Extension of the ReVaMB Model,” Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 210-230.
Baumann, C., Winzar. H., and Viengkham, D. (2020). Confucianism, Discipline, and Competitiveness. Routledge, New York: NY. (Forthcoming).
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