Journal of International Management (JIM) Focused Issue on Distances – Call for Papers

The Concept of Distance in International Management Research

Special Issue Guest Editors:

Björn Ambos – WU Vienna
Lars Håkanson – Copenhagen Business School

Since the inception of the field, ‘distance’ has been central to international business research, both in terms of its possible direct impact on international management activities and as a control variable. For two decades, the predominant practice has been to approximate country differences with a single measure, the ‘cultural distance’ index proposed by Kogut and Singh (1988). Summarizing country differences in the cul tural dimensions defined by Hofstede (1980), the Kogut and Singh index has become the paradigmatic ope rationalization of both managers’ ex ante perceptions of foreign countries prior to entry and the ex post ease or difficulty of operating in a foreign environment as well as a mediating influence for a range of other phe nomena. However, following Shenkar’s (2001) seminal critique, a range of articles have questioned the reliability and validity of the index to an extent that has made its employment seem increasingly untenable.

It is against this background that this call for papers should be seen. The aim of this focused issue of JIM is to contribute both towards a better theoretically founded understanding of relevant dimensions of country distances and towards new, more valid and reliable operational constructs of distance that can feasibly be employed in empirical research.

To this end, this call for papers includes both theoretical contributions and empirical applications of distance related concepts and in international business research. The following list of issues is suggestive, rather than exhaustive:
What are the relevant dimensions of distance in IB research? How do these differ depending on whether you study ex ante decisions regarding, for example, export market selection or entry modes, or the ex post performance of subsidiaries and joint ventures?
How stable are distance perceptions and measures thereof over time and between different individuals?
Which distance measures (cultural, geographic, psychic, institutional, etc.) are relevant for which purposes? Can these be operationalized in ways that are not only practical and convenient but also valid and reliable?
What are the implications of abandoning the analogy with geographical distance as a nodal/dyadic concept with symmetric and linear properties? What does it mean to say that distances are sometimes asymmetric?
How can configurational measures of distance, such as those developed in social network analysis, be applied to the study of international business phenomena, such as the properties of MNE subsidiary networks or multinational teams?
How are distance perceptions formed? What are the theoretical and empirical links between subjective perceptions and ‘objective’ measures of distance?
Submission Instructions
The deadline for submission of manuscripts is January 31, 2012.  

Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with Journal of International Management’s Style Guide for Authors: Manuscripts should be electronically submitted to: Please be sure to note “Special Issue on Distance,” when submitting your manuscript.

Please direct any questions regarding the Special Issue to one of the guest editors.
Björn Ambos: [log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Lars Håkanson: [log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
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