Special Issue of the Journal of International Business Studies


Special Issue Editors
• Joseph L. C. Cheng (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
[log in to unmask])
• Julian Birkinshaw (London Business School, [log in to unmask])
• Donald Lessard (MIT Sloan School, [log in to unmask])
• David C. Thomas (University of New South Wales and Simon Fraser
University, [log in to unmask])
Deadline for submission:  January 15, 2013

Tentative publication date: Spring 2014

As an academic field of study, International Business (IB) seeks to develop
comprehensive understanding about the antecedents and consequences of
business activities that cross national borders. Many of these activities
occur at multiple levels of observation and are often deeply embedded in
interlocking layers of differing economic, social, legal, and political
contexts.  Because of this inherent complexity, IB scholars might consider
adopting an interdisciplinary investigative approach that integrates
knowledge from two or more disciplines to develop comprehensive frameworks
that have greater explanatory and predictive power than single-discipline
based models (Dunning, 1989). This emphasis on the integration or mixing of
ideas from multiple disciplines is an important requirement as it
distinguishes interdisciplinary research from multidisciplinary approaches,
in which a series of separate investigations from different disciplines are
conducted independently or sequentially with no effort at integration
(Cantwell & Brannen, 2010; Cheng et al., 2009).

The proposed special issue aims to advance interdisciplinary research in IB
with the goal of developing integrative knowledge and transformative
theories to enhance understanding and improve practice. Our objective is to
provide a forum for IB scholars to showcase their best interdisciplinary
work, debate the merits of different approaches to interdisciplinary
inquiry, and collectively contribute to the development of an
interdisciplinary paradigm to guide future research.   

Building on the existing literature (e.g., Aboelela et al., 2006; Porter et
al., 2006; Rosenfield, 1992; Stokols et al., 2003) and as proposed by Cheng
et al. (2009: 1071), we consider interdisciplinary research to have the
following three defining characteristics:

1. The research draws on ideas and/or methods from two or more academic
disciplines, particularly those based on contrasting assumptions. 
2. As part of the investigative process, these ideas and/or methods are
integrated or mixed in such ways that together they produce something new
and useful (in either solving a problem or advancing fundamental
3. The resulting product and its value-added contribution could not have
been obtained by relying on ideas and/or methods from any discipline alone. 
Examples of interdisciplinary research can be found in Herbert Simon’s
(1945) work on bounded rationality that synthesizes ideas from cognitive
psychology and economics, Douglass North’s (1990) integrative
socio-political-economic analysis of the co-evolution of institutions and
national development, and Oliver Williamson’s (1981) transaction cost theory
that combines ideas from micro economics, contract law, and organizational

We encourage submissions that demonstrate synthetic capabilities for the
development of integrative themes and theories, particularly those that
generate conceptual novelty and variety, not just a better comparative
understanding of established theories or ideas taken from different
disciplines. We also welcome papers that develop interdisciplinary themes
that extend and enrich established IB theories, thus helping to expand their
potential application and usefulness. To be considered for this issue,
papers must address an issue of importance to IB scholars and provide a
clear demonstration of the benefit of the interdisciplinary approach taken
relative to addressing the issue from the perspective of a single

A paper development workshop, for submissions in the revise-and-resubmit
stage, will be held in conjunction with the 2013 AIB meeting in Istanbul,

Specifically, the special issue seeks submissions that synthesize ideas from
two or more academic disciplines to develop and apply interdisciplinary
concepts and/or theories to study important IB phenomena. The phenomena
studied can be existing (old) or emerging (new), single- or multi-layer
embedded, or manifest in any other form as long as they are international or
cross-border in nature and relate to the study domain of the IB field
(please see the JIBS Statement of Editorial Policy at The
following are some illustrative topics suitable for inclusion in the special

• Original research that integrates basic assumptions and theoretical
arguments from economics (e.g., agency theory or transaction cost) and
sociology (e.g., institutional theory or social network) to study foreign
market entry and subsidiary management.
• Investigations that synthesizes ideas from economics, political science,
and international relations to study global governance issues and how MNCs
respond to the new globally coordinated, regulatory environment resulting
from the 2008 global financial crisis.
• Research that draws on linguistics, cognitive theory, or social identity
to link cultural context to the behavior of managers and employees in the
complex and dynamic environment of the multinational enterprise.
• Interdisciplinary empirical investigations that triangulate qualitative
and quantitative techniques in unpacking multiple layers of interrelated
contextual processes that affect MNCs operating in national settings with
differing economic, political, social, and cultural systems.
• Research that conceptualizes and delineates the salient dimensions
(economic, political, social, and cultural) of the changing global business
environment since the 2008 global financial crisis and their likely effects
on the international competitiveness of firms from emerging economies.
• Studies that examine the interdependence between formal
(political/legal/economic) and informal (social/cultural) institutions and
how their co-evolution over time affects organizational form and business
practice in different nations and societies.
• Interdisciplinary inquiries into the role of religion in the “new
terrorism” (Enders & Sandler, 2006) and how it affects international
business and MNCs’ response to security threats against foreign investments
and subsidiary operations.

Please note that the special issue will not publish submissions that merely
show a cataloguing of (or a causal diagram outlining) the various concepts
or theories from different disciplines that could explain the phenomenon
under study (see discussion of “kitchen sink papers” in Buckley & Lessard,
2005). To be accepted, the paper must include a detailed analysis and
delineation of how these concepts or theories are actually synthesized or
mixed to develop integrative knowledge that provides a clear value-added
contribution to the literature. 

Submission Process
All manuscripts will be reviewed as a cohort for this special issue.
Manuscripts must be submitted in the window between January 3, 2013, and
January 15, 2013, at All submissions
will go through the JIBS regular double-blind review process and follow the
standard norms and processes. 

For more information about this call for papers, please contact the Special
Issue Editors or the JIBS Managing Editor ([log in to unmask]). 

Aboelela, S. W., Larson, E., Bakken, S., Carrasquillo, O., Formicola, A.,
Glied, S. A., Haas, J., & Gebbie, K.M. 2006. Defining Interdisciplinary
Research: Conclusions from a Critical Review of the Literature. Health
Services Research, 42(1), 329–346.
Buckley, P. J., & Lessard, D.  2005. Regaining the edge for international
business research. Journal of International Business Studies, 36(6):

Cantwell, J., & Brannen, M. Y. 2011. Positioning JIBS as an
interdisciplinary journal. Journal of International Business Studies, 42(1):

Cheng, J. L. C., Henisz, W., Roth, K., & Swaminathan, A. 2009. Advancing
interdisciplinary research in the field of international business:
Prospects, issues, and challenges. Journal of International Business
Studies, 40(7): 1070–1074.

Dunning, J. H. 1989. The study of international business: A plea for a more
interdisciplinary approach. Journal of International Business Studies,
20(3): 411–436.

Enders, W., & Sandler, T. 2006. The political economy of terrorism.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

North, D. C. 1990. Institutions, institutional change and economic
performance. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Porter, A. L., Rosessner, J. D., Cohen, A. S., & Perreault, M. 2006.
Interdisciplinary research: Meanings, metrics and nurture. Research
Evaluation, 15(3): 187–195.
Rosenfield, P. L. 1992. The potential of transdisciplinary research for
sustaining and extending linkages between the health and social sciences.
Social Science and Medicine, 35(11): 1343–1357.
Simon, H. A. 1945. Administrative behavior. New York: Free Press.
Stokols, D., Fuqua, J., Gress, J., Harvey, R., Phillips, K.,
Baezconde-Garbanati, L., Unger, J., Palmer, P., Clark, M. A., Colby, S. M.,
Morgan, G., & Trochim, W. 2003. Evaluating transdisciplinary science.
Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 5: S21–S39.
Williamson, O. E. 1981. The economics of organization: The transaction cost
approach. American Journal of Sociology, 87(3): 548–577.

About the Guest Editors
Joseph L. C. Cheng is Professor of International Business at the University
of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  He is also Principal Investigator and
Founding Director of The CIC Center for Advanced Study in International
Competitiveness sponsored by the Committee on Institutional Cooperation
(CIC), a university consortium of the Big Ten Conference members and the
University of Chicago with a combined annual R&D budget of over $7.5
billion.  During the 2011-12 academic year, Cheng is on sabbatical visiting
at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and the Shorenstein
Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University.

Cheng received his PhD in Business Administration from the University of
Michigan.  His current research interests include strategy and organization
design for transnational firms, global competition and multinational
management, foreign R&D investment, national innovation and technology
policies, and Asian economies. He has published in leading U.S. and European
academic journals, including the Academy of Management Journal,
Administrative Science Quarterly, European Journal of International
Management, Human Relations, Journal of International Business Studies,
Journal of Management, Management International Review, Management Science,
and Organization Studies, among others.  

Cheng is a former Chair of the Academy of Management International
Management Division, and currently serves as a Consulting Editor for the
Journal of International Business Studies and a Senior Editorial Consultant
to the European Journal of International Management.  He was the lead
Co-Editor of the research annual Advances in International Management during
1996-2009, and received the 2009 Leading Book Series Editor Award (with Mike
Hitt) from its publisher Emerald Group Publishing. 

Julian Birkinshaw is Professor and Chair of Strategic and Entrepreneurship
at the London Business School, and co-founder of the Management Lab.  He is
a Fellow of the Academy of International Business and the Advanced Institute
of Management Research (UK).  He has PhD and MBA degrees in Business from
the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, and a
BSc (Hons) from the University of Durham.   

Birkinshaw’s main area of expertise is in the strategy and management of
large multinational corporations, and on such specific issues as corporate
entrepreneurship, innovation, subsidiary-headquarters relationship,
knowledge management, network organisations, and global customer management.
He is the author of eleven books, including Reinventing Management (2010),
Giant Steps in Management (2007), Inventuring: Why Big Companies Must Think
Small (2003), and Entrepreneurship in the Global Firm (2001), and over fifty
articles.   His research has also been published in such journals as
Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Academy of
Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies, and Harvard
Business Review.

Donald Lessard is the Epoch Foundation Professor of International Management
at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He studies project management, global
strategic management, and international finance and teaches courses on
global strategy and strategic opportunities in the energy sector.  
Currently on sabbatical, Lessard has just completed his term as co-chair of
the MIT Energy Education Task Force, which has just launched an
Institute-wide energy minor for undergraduates that spans science,
technology, and the social sciences and management; and as the faculty
director of the Sloan Fellows Program and the newly launched MIT Executive
He has published extensively on risk management, global strategy, and
international corporate finance. His most recent book is Strategic
Management of Large Engineering Projects: Shaping Institutions, Risks, and
Governance (with Roger Miller, MIT Press, February 2001).  Lessard is a
graduate of Stanford University (BA Hispanic American Studies), MBA, and PhD
(Stanford Business School) and has been on the faculty of MIT since 1973
David C. Thomas is currently Professor of International Management and
Director of the Centre for Global Workforce Strategy at Simon Fraser
University, Vancouver, Canada. In 2012 he will take up a Professorship in
the Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales, Sydney,
Australia.   He received his PhD in International Business from the
University of South Carolina.
Thomas is the author of eight books including the best selling Cultural
Intelligence: Living and Working Globally (2009, Berrett-Koehler Publishers,
with Kerr Inkson). His book Cross-Cultural Management Essential Concepts
(2008, Sage Publications) was the winner of the R. Wayne Pace Human Resource
Development book of the year award for 2008. In addition, he has recently
edited (with Peter B. Smith and Mark Peterson) The Handbook of
Cross-Cultural Management Research from Sage Publications. His research on
cross-cultural interactions in organizational settings has appeared in
numerous journals. 
Thomas is currently the Cross-Cultural Management Area Editor of the Journal
of International Business Studies and serves on the editorial boards of the
Journal of World Business, Journal of Organizational Behavior, and European
Journal of Cross-Cultural Competence and Management. His previous academic
postings have included positions at The Pennsylvania State University and
The University of Auckland, New Zealand, where he was also Director of the
Master of International Business Program. He has held visiting positions at
Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, the
University of Hawaii, Massey University, New Zealand, and ESCEM, Tours,

Anne Hoekman
Managing Editor, Journal of International Business Studies
JIBS Editorial Office
Academy of International Business
Michigan State University
Tel: +1-517-481-3518
Fax: +1-517-432-1009
Email: [log in to unmask]
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