The 2013 Reading-UNCTAD IB Conference:

Contemporary issues in International Business Theory

8 – 9 April 2013


Henley Business School at the University of Reading is delighted to announce the Reading-UNCTAD International Business Conference, taking place in April 2013, organized in collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). This is the fourth in a conference series that takes place biennially. These distinctive conferences have become something of a tradition in the IB community, not only because we seek – as is the tradition at Reading – to look at things from a conceptual, ‘big picture’ level, but also because we emphasise a critical (and we believe, healthy) balance between disciplines.

The debate panels for the 2013 conference

This year’s conference will be built around three distinct but related debate panels:

Panel 1: New techniques of international business research.  Has the study of IB become bogged down by quantitative empirical testing? What is the place of mathematical and statistical modelling in IB? Should we be formulating theories that are more readily testable?

Panel 2: Reconciling dynamic capabilities with the OLI/internalization theory. Can the nature of dynamic capabilities be better aligned to both MNE theory and strategic management thinking?  How do firms manage their dynamic capabilities through off-shoring and outsourcing? Within the context of global value chains and emerging economies, how do dynamic capabilities matter? 

Panel 3: Revisiting Dunning’s classification of motives for FDI activity. Is this classification due for an overhaul? For instance, almost all MNE activity has an efficiency-enhancing aspect to it. Strategic asset-seeking was meant to deal with investment activity intended to upgrade the technological assets of MNEs by acquiring R&D facilities abroad. Dunning did not consider that firms might acquire assets to overcome strategic weaknesses in their portfolio of assets. Others argue that this classification system is static: most FDI activity tends to have multiple motives.  The motivations of MNEs evolve over time. How do FDI motives matter from the perspective of host and home countries, and industrial policy?

Paper submission and registration

The 2013 conference will have both interactive sessions and parallel sessions, and papers are invited that relate to the three primary themes of this conference: dynamic capabilities, global value chains and MNE motives.

For details on submissions and registration, visit:



Rajneesh Narula
Professor of International Business Regulation
Director, John H. Dunning Centre for International Business
Henley Business School
University of Reading, UK

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