International Business in Times of Global Disruption

Call for papers for: Review of International Business and Strategy

Guest Editors:

Dr. Anna Earl, The University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Professor Elizabeth L. Rose, University of Leeds, UK and Indian Institute of Management Udaipur, India

Special Issue Overview:

This special issue aims to stimulate scholarly conversation on the role of global disruption in international business (IB) theory and practice as we re-think theoretical and methodological approaches to IB phenomena and generate new opportunities for research in the context of the strategies associated with IB in a rapidly-changing environment. We seek conceptual, methodological, and empirical papers that advance our understanding of global disruption in research pertaining to doing business across borders.

Contemporary global disruption has changed the landscape of IB-related activities. Restrictions on trade and travel, institutional instability, economic disruption, and political volatility have created global challenges for the transaction of international business, forcing firms – from large MNEs to exporting SMEs – to adapt. Such changes also present challenges to the ways in which we apply traditional theoretical frameworks in our research.

There have been calls for IB scholars to address grand challenges (e.g., Buckley, Doh, and Benischke, 2017), which have changed how internationally-active organizations adapt to uncertain and complex environments (Doh, Tashman, and Benischke, 2019). Global disruption, including the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, certainly increases the complexity of the global environment, with respect to organizations’ domestic and international activities.

Disruption is fundamental to doing business internationally – in terms of both practice and theory. Its relevance to change in cross-border operations has been studied, e.g., from a risk management perspective (Revilla and Sáenz, 2014), considering the organization of global supply chains (Revilla and Saenz, 2017). Much of this literature pertains to the development and application of universal principles for managing overseas supply chains and operations during disruption. However, there is an argument to be made that disruption is a product of change, which calls for a broader focus on the process of change as it applies to international activities in times of disruption. 

The current COVID-19 pandemic brings urgency to the notion of understanding how global disruptions affect the strategies associated with international business, but the issue is much more fundamental than the current crisis. Despite its obvious importance in the increasingly volatile global environment, the issue of how organizations that operate across borders manage in the face of disruptive uncertainty has not been well covered in the international business literature. Some (although surprisingly few) studies have examined the 2007-2008 global financial crisis (GFC) and specific aspects of how it influenced international business (e.g., Aliouche, 2015; Cairns et al., 2009). For example, Rao‐Nicholson and Salaber (2016) considered the impact of the GFC on banking systems, and Aliouche (2015) investigated post-crisis effects on country attractiveness. The role of the GFC has also been touched on in relation to emerging economies and their post-crisis development (e.g., Enderwick, 2009; Marinov and Marinova, 2012; Leavy, 2016). However, the existing literature has not yet engaged in developing a deep understanding of how global disruption affects the processes and strategies that are key to international business. Past and present global crises have re-shaped the world’s business, political, and economic landscapes, with both commercial and social implications. There is scope for scholars to take a careful look at, and potentially re-think, the ways in which large and small firms conduct business across borders, along with the involvement of the state in international business.

In addition, while IB research has emphasized the important role that the government plays in cross-border business (Boddewyn, 2016; Wang, Kafouros, Yi, Hong, Ganotakis, 2020), the strong involvement of states during disruption changes the dynamic relationships between countries, as well as between governments and MNEs, affecting the re-shaping of the international environment in the short, medium, and long terms. This presents an exciting opportunity to examine some global challenges that are especially pertinent in the current environment.

In addition, global disruption, such as the current pandemic, has the potential to change the ways in which we conduct research on international business and strategy. Qualitative research depends on the richness of data that comes from interviews, observation, and longitudinal studies, and the meaning of data evolves in social settings (Cunliffe, 2010; Gioia, Corley, and Hamilton, 2013). Disruption changes many of the social settings in which the data evolve, while potentially restricting the researcher’s physical presence in the field. Quantitative research is not immune; global disruption raises issues such as the quality and cross-national comparability of data, and accounting properly for disruptive events in modelling requires considerable finesse. We need to develop different approaches for accounting for disruption in our research design and adapting our research methods and strategies, without compromising on quality. 

Objectives of this Special Issue:
•    To understand how global disruption shapes research in international business and strategy.
•    To incorporate the role of global disruption in the conceptualization of how firms – large and small – undertake international business.
•    To develop better ways to account for global disruption in the practice of IB research.

We invite conceptual, methodological, and empirical contributions that address themes such as – but not limited to – the following: 
•    What is the role of global disruption in theorizing related to IB and strategy?
•    How should global disruption be conceptualized in IB and strategy research?
•    What particular challenges do firms from developed and emerging economies face in times of global disruption? 
•    How can global disruption influence firms’ strategies, including location choice, entry mode selection, etc.? 
•    How does global disruption influence international entrepreneurship? 
•    How does global disruption influence internationally-active firms’ resilience?
•    How do internationally-active firms respond to global disruption (e.g., GFC, SARS, Covid19)?
•    How does global disruption influence states’ distribution of resources to different stakeholders? 
•    How does global disruption change the involvement of states in MNEs’ operations and decision making?
•    How does global disruption influence IB research methods and strategies?

We look forward to your submissions that address the impact of global disruption for international business and strategy. 

Submission Deadline: 30 November 2020

Submission Guidelines:
Submissions should follow the manuscript format guidelines for RIBS, which are found here
All manuscripts should be submitted through the RIBS online submission system

All submitted manuscripts will be subject to the RIBS double-blind review process. 

For more information, please contact the guest editors: 
Dr. Anna Earl, [email protected]
Professor Elizabeth L. Rose, [email protected]

Aliouche, E.H. (2015), “The impact of the global financial crisis on country attractiveness”, Thunderbird International Business Review, Vol. 57 No. 1, pp. 63-83.
Boddewyn, J.J. (2016), “International business-government relations research 1945–2015: Concepts, typologies, theories and methodologies”, Journal of World Business, Vol. 51, pp. 10-22. 
Buckley, P.J., Doh, J.P., and 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, Vol. 48 No. 9, pp. 1045-1064.
Cairns, G., Roberts, J., and Riaz, S. (2009), “The global financial crisis: an institutional theory analysis”, Critical Perspectives on International Business, Vol. 5 No. 1/2, pp. 26-35.
Cunliffe, A.L. (2010), “Retelling tales of the field in search of organisational ethnography 20 years on”, Organisational Research Methods, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 224-239.
Doh, J.P., Tashman, P., and Benischke, M.H. (2019), “Adapting to grand environmental challenges through collective entrepreneurship”, Academy of Management Perspectives, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp. 450-468.
Enderwick, P. (2009), “Responding to global crisis: the contribution of emerging markets to strategic adaptation”, International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 4 No. 4, pp. 358-374.
Gioia, D.A., Corley, K.G., and Hamilton, A.L. (2013), “Seeking qualitative rigor in inductive research: Notes on the Gioia methodology”, Organisational Research Methods, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 15-31.
Leavy, B. (2016), “The next wave of global disruption and the role of China’s entrepreneurs”, Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 43 No. 3, pp. 1-11. 
Marinov, M. and Marinova, S. (Eds.) (2012), Emerging Economies and Firms in the Global Crisis, Palgrave Macmillan, London. 
Rao‐Nicholson, R. and Salaber, J. (2016), “Impact of the financial crisis on cross‐border mergers and acquisitions and concentration in the global banking industry”, Thunderbird International Business Review, Vol. 58 No. 2, pp. 161-173.
Revilla, E. and Sáenz, M. J. (2014), “Supply chain disruption management: Global convergence vs national specificity”, Journal of Business Research, Vol. 67 No 6, pp. 1123-1135.
Revilla, E. and Sáenz, M. J. (2017), “The impact of risk management on the frequency of supply chain disruptions”, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 37 No. 5, pp. 557-576.
Wang, C., Kafouros, M., Yi, J., Hong, J., and Ganotakis, P. (2020), “The role of government affiliation in explaining firm innovativeness and profitability in emerging countries: Evidence from China”, Journal of World Business, Vol. 55 No. 3, forthcoming.