Call for short papers: 38th EGOS Colloquium WU Vienna, Austria, July 7-9 2022 - Global Challenges: An Interdisciplinarity View on the Role of MNEs

Closes:

Submission of Short Papers*

Information on Hybrid subthemes

Convenors:

Mike Geppert Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany [email protected]

Christoph Dörrenbächer Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany [email protected]

Ödül Bozkurt University of Sussex Business School, United Kingdom [email protected]

Call for Papers

Over the past 40 years research on multinational enterprises (MNEs) has provided a rich stock of knowledge on cross-border and cross-cultural management as well as insights into the (re)structuring of MNEs, including their handling of inter- and intra-organizational relationships. Most of this research has been conducted in the highly specialised, self-designated field of International Business and Management (IBM), often in a problematically instrumental, functionalist and managerialist manner. Studies on the social impact of MNEs’ activities on the wider society and non-economic stakeholders inside and outside the unit of the firm remain scarce and scattered over a range of “adjacent”, social science disciplines such as Organizational Theory (OT), International Political Economy, Social Geography, Development Studies, Economic Sociology and Critical International Business (Dörrenbächer & Gammelgaard, 2019). Over time, critical studies on the economic, political and societal effects of MNEs have gained ground in these domains, for example probing the ethically and legally dubious activities and the impact of MNEs on disadvantaged and vulnerable groups such as employees in the Global South and in the platform economy. Critical scholars have furthermore inquired about the ways MNE activities are intertwined with the global financial system, the functioning of welfare states, labour relations in the Global North and South, and climate change and ecological crises.

A recent call has seen the UN, arguably the most recognizable of international organizations, pair up with leading scholars of mainstream IBM scholars to demand more systematic and in-depth research on the ‘grand challenges’ and ‘big questions’ for society as these are related to MNE activities (Buckley et al., 2017; United Nations, 2015). Such efforts are to be lauded as they question the dominant rationalistic conceptual frameworks through which the MNE is typically studied, as well as the prevailing quantitative research traditions through which such research takes place, thereby potentially opening up prospects for novel debates and insights in IBM. Unfortunately, these efforts have largely been thwarted in practice and have not quite triggered a major transformation of in the central preoccupations, conceptualizations and methodologies in the domain of mainstream IBM to date (Bozkurt & Geppert, 2021; Dörrenbächer & Geppert, 2017).

In comparison to IBM, Organization Studies has been considerably more open for interdisciplinary research and continuously developed a more critical understanding of contemporary MNEs as powerful organizations by highlighting their socio-economic constitution, inner political dynamics and role as powerful political actors (Geppert et al., 2016). Research has for instance drawn on institutional theory, discursive approaches, relational perspectives, convention theory, organizational power and politics approaches, social movement theory, industrial relations and cultural sociology (e. g. Brandl & Schneider, 2017; De Bakker et al., 2013; Delmestri & Brumana, 2017; Levy & Reiche, 2018; Moore, 2017; Morgan et al., 2001; Whittle et al., 2016). In short, there is no shortage of critical ideas and approaches in OT, but broader debates about what kind of ‘grand challenges’ we face, how we can deal with them conceptually, methodologically and in practice – as researchers, consultants, customers and employees – have often only taken place inside of narrowly defined academic ‘silos’, such as IBM or OT.

This sub-theme aims therefore to probe interdisciplinary spaces that remain underappreciated and underexplored. We want to respond to various calls for interdisciplinarity when studying the ‘Grand Challenges’ that we face in the economy and society which are often both triggered by and dealt with by the contemporary MNE as well as the powerful key actors within and around it. We call for interdisciplinary contributions that can be conceptually, empirically and methodologically oriented. Foremost, we invite submissions from OT and IBM scholars, but we are also interested in submissions from scholars in neighbouring disciplines who explore how global challenges in its various forms are set off by MNEs activities and how MNEs strategically engage in dealing with them. Our call asks for submissions that touch on this indicative rather than comprehensive list of themes and topics:

  • Theories, conceptual approaches and methods for interdisciplinary work on ‘grand challenges’ in and around MNEs
  • The role of geopolitics and de-globalization on global value chains and the socio-political constitution of the MNE
  •  Climate change, the green transition and the MNE
  •  Migration crisis and the MNE
  • Poverty and the MNE
  • Forms of slavery in contemporary MNEs
  • Precarious work and change of employment relations within and through MNEs
  • Nationalistic movements and challenges for the strategizing of MNEs
  • The effect of pandemics and systemic shocks for the strategizing of MNEs
  • Evolving notions of and struggles related to race, class, gender and other parameters of inequality in and around MNE activities

References

  • Bozkurt, Ö., & Geppert, M. (eds.) (2021): Research Agenda in International Business Management. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  • Brandl, J., & Schneider, A. (2017): “Headquarters-subsidiary relationships from a convention theory perspective: Plural orders of worth, arrangements and form-giving activities.” In: C. Dörrenbächer & M. Geppert (eds.): Multinational Corporations and Organization Theory: Post Millennium Perspectives. Bingley: Emerald, 295–324.
  • Buckley, P.J., Doh, J.P., & Benischke, M.H. (2017): “Towards a renaissance in international business research? Big questions, grand challenges, and the future of IB scholarship.” Journal of International Business Studies, 48 (9), 1045–1064.
  • De Bakker, F., den Hond, F., & King, B. (2013): “Social movements, civil society and corporations: Taking stock and looking ahead.” Organization Studies, 34 (5–6), 573– 593.
  • Delmestri, G., & Brumana, M. (2017): “The multinational corporation as a playing field of power: A Bourdieusian approach.” In: C. Dörrenbächer & M. Geppert (eds.): Multinational Corporations and Organization Theory: Post Millennium Perspectives. Bingley: Emerald, 325–353.
  • Dörrenbächer, C., & Gammelgaard, J. (2019): “Critical and mainstream international business research: Making critical IB an integral part of a societally engaged international business discipline.” Critical Perspectives on International Business, 15 (2/3), 239–261.
  • Dörrenbächer, C., & Geppert, M. (2017): Multinational Corporations and Organization Theory (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 49). Bingley: Emerald.
  • Geppert, M., Becker-Ritterspach, F., & Mudambi, R. (2016): “Politics and power in multinational companies: Integrating the International Business and Organizations Studies perspectives.” Organization Studies, 37 (9), 1209–1225.
  • Levy, O., & Reiche, S. (2018): “The politics of cultural capital: Social hierarchy and organizational architecture in the multinational corporation.” Human Relations, 71 (6), 867–894.
  • Morgan, G., Kristensen, P.-H., & Whitely, R. (eds.) (2001): The Multinational Firm: Organizing Across Institutional and National Divides. Oxford University Press: Oxford.
  • United Nations (2015): Sustainable development goals. Retrieved from: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/.
  • Moore, F. (2017): “Altered states of consciousness: MNCs and ethnographic studies.” In: C. Dörrenbächer & M. Geppert (eds.): Multinational Corporations and Organization Theory: Post Millennium Perspectives. Bingley: Emerald, 161–189.
  • Whittle, A. Mueller, F., Gilchrist, A., & Lenney, P. (2016): “Sensemaking, sense- censoring and strategic inaction: The discursive enactment of power and politics in a multinational corporation.” Organization Studies, 37 (9), 1323–1351.

Mike Geppert is Professor of Strategic and International Management at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany. His primary research interests are in the areas of Industrial Relations, IHMR, International Management and Organization Studies. Mike is specifically interested in cross-national comparisons of management, work and organizations, socio- political issues in multinational corporations, and institutional change.

Christoph Dörrenbächer is Professor of Organizational Design and Behaviour in International Business at the Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany. His main research subject are multinational corporations, studied from an Organization Theory and Strategy perspective. Christoph currently serves as a Co-editor-in-Chief of ‘Critical Perspectives on International Business’.

Ödül Bozkurt is Senior Lecturer in International Human Resource Management at the Department of Management, University of Sussex Business School, UK. As a sociologist of work she is interested in the global/local dynamic of work experiences for a wide range of workers from the highly skilled professionals to the low skilled in “mundane” jobs such as those in mass retailing firms. Ödül has published on the uses and experiences of mobility in MNE jobs, the gendered outcomes of MNE employment in subsidiary locations, and the hybrid HRM practices of MNEs from emerging economies.

* Short papers should focus on the main ideas of the paper, this means, they should explain the purpose of the paper, theoretical background, the research gap that is addressed, the approach taken, the methods of analysis (in empirical papers), main findings, and contributions. In addition, it is useful to indicate clearly how the paper links with the sub-theme and the overall theme of the Colloquium, although not all papers need to focus on the overall theme. Creativity, innovativeness, theoretical grounding, and critical thinking are typical characteristics of EGOS papers.

Your short paper should comprise 3,000 words (incl. references, all appendices and other material). Please take note of the Guidelines and criteria for the submission of short papers at EGOS Colloquia.