2013 SYSBS International Management Symposium
 Innovating Business Models for Global Competition

Guangzhou, China
December 7-8, 2013

Organized and Hosted by
Sun Yat-Sen Business School (SYSBS), Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China

Sun Yat-Sen Business School (SYSBS) is pleased to announce its third International Management Symposium to be held in Guangzhou, China, on December 7-8, 2013. Each summer and winter, the School organizes a series of advanced research methods and frontier theories in international management. This winter’s IM symposium focuses its theme on business model innovation for global competition. It will bring strategy, management, and business scholars from China together with their global counterparts to co-learn and co-develop emerging theories and winning strategies on how firms, local or foreign, can better develop and execute innovative business models in and for global competition.

This symposium also corroborates with the Special Issue of Global Strategy Journal (GSJ) in the manner that submitted proposals, presentations or papers with good potential and fit are encouraged to submit completed manuscripts to this special issue whose deadline is December 31, 2014.

ABOUT SYMPOSIUM: This symposium aims to advance research on business models in global competition. International firms, whether long-established MNEs or emerging market new ventures, create and capture value through business models that are undergoing a radical transformation worldwide. A business model describes a formula of unique value creation. It typically consists of a unique customer value proposition and profit-making scheme, as well as key resources and processes coupled together as a system to operationalize value creation. The quest for building global competitive advantages in today’s market landscapes, such as the permeating use of information technologies, increased reliance on emerging markets, heightened threats from low-cost rivals, and growing pressure to be locally resilient yet globally integrated, prompts business model innovations. Emerging opportunities, including those at the middle income level and bottom of the pyramid in developing countries, and new challenges, such as the economic slowdown in the developed world, put additional pressure on international firms to innovate with their business models. In global competition, the business model describes how the firm creates value distinctively in the global marketplace by combining technology, capital, products, brands, brainpower, and value-creation activities that suit peculiarly well foreign or global market needs, resulting in an advantage over its global rivals and sustained profitability. As business activities reach out internationally, a business model will have extended and enhanced ramifications for MNE performance at both global and local levels. Transnational operations also imply that business models may vary across different countries in which the MNE operates and competes.

While “innovating business models” suggests many potential research questions, this symposium emphasizes presentations and discussions that span theoretical boundaries and disciplines to create new perspectives or frameworks that improve our understanding of the processes, forces, paths, evolution, outcomes or contextualized factors associated with developing, innovating, or executing business models for global competition by multinationals from developed and developing countries.

EXAMPLE TOPICS: The Symposium will focus on the global relevance or global process of business models adopted by international companies. Below are some examples of topics that fall under the domain of this symposium, which are illustrative at best and are not intended to define the boundaries of this special issue:

  1.  Research on creating new business models for global competition is a multidisciplinary, multi-functional and multilevel effort. The business model relates to and intersects with several academic communities beyond IB, such as operations management, management science, economic geography, developmental sociology, and environmental ecology, to note a few. How do such (traditionally portrayed) non-IB areas bring in novel perspectives enlightening our knowledge of business model creation and innovation for multinationals? What are the new theories from these non-IB fields that elucidate the conditions, rationale, and processes of business model development? What are new conceptual and theoretical frameworks that underpin the reorganization, reconfiguration and realignment of the range of activities (including R&D, marketing, IT, management, finance, logistics, supply chain) in a multitude of countries involving business model innovation?

  1.  After several decades of entering and operating in foreign emerging markets, most MNEs have shifted their principal strategies in order to respond to their changing competitive and regulatory environments. These new strategies have resulted in a status shift, where these companies are no longer merely "foreign investors". They have become "strategic insiders" who view their large-scale operations in these markets as key to their overall global success. They are propelled to develop new business models for their growth. How do they initiate, formulate, and implement these models? How do they depart or evolve from the old business models? What are compelling forces that spark MNEs to revamp existing business models? How do competition and cooperation with local firms affect an MNE’s new business model and underlying strategies? How do new business models (e.g., reverse innovation, multi-tier marketing, co-evolution, adaptive diversification, resilience building) used by western MNEs actually work in emerging markets?

  1.  Business models are more global than ever before because of the growing integration of world economy and many companies are alleged to be “born global” today. They hunt for the world’s best locations because political and economic barriers have fallen and vast quantities of information are at their fingertips. They also scout for talent across the globe, tap investors wherever they may be located, and learn to manage operations from a distance from the moment they go into business. At the same time, offshoring and outsourcing are changing the nature of the firm, presenting internalization/externalization decisions for international managers and producing unprecedented international relocation of economic activity. What are the specific conditions at the global, regional, national, industry- and firm-levels that make MNEs shift their dominant business models? How does resource heterogeneity across different MNEs affect the creation of new business models? In what ways do MNEs build a virtuous cycle between existing strengths and new business model and between their business model and new competitive advantage? How do institutional environment pressures (coercive, normative and cognitive) shape or reshape business model innovation? Why do some MNEs prefer the use of a similar business model in many foreign markets while other MNEs opt for different business models for different markets?

  1.  Unlike domestically run firms, MNEs have many more corporate-level factors to think through when innovating business models. In particular, they will have to consider parent-subsidiary links, global coordination and integration, existing organizational structure, internal differentiation between subunits in various countries, and global governance and compliance. Will business model creation or innovation depend on an MNE’s international strategies (multi-domestic, transnational, and global)? Will geographically dispersed and internally differentiated MNEs tend to use more localized business models aiming at host country market penetration whereas globally integrated and centrally controlled MNEs prefer unified business models based on certain global platforms and the pursuit of global economy of scale and mass standardization? How do contextualized forces, such as local culture, business practice, existing rivalry, government regulation, demand conditions, and supporting industries influence business model creation and evolution? How do MNEs coevolve their business models with shifting conditions of macro- and micro-business environments surrounding them? Do MNEs differ from local and international rivals competing in the same host country in terms of business models, and if so, why and how?
KEYNOTE SPEAKERS: With an intention to provide an academic platform that nurtures research on business models in global competition and further leads the discourse on some fresh perspectives on designing and innovating business models for multinational companies, this symposium will be featured with keynote speeches by internationally recognized scholars in the area, such as Peter Buckley, Yadong Luo, Klaus Meyer, Jeff Reuer, Oded Shenkar, and Stephen Tallman, among others.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: Invited submissions are proposals (7-10 pages) or work-in-process papers (per GSJ format) relating to the symposium theme. Only original, unpublished work is sought. The academic committee of the symposium will select and invite those proposals or papers that fit the theme to be presented in the symposium.

Deadline for submission: November 1, 2013. Please send submission or inquiries to Ms. Josephine Gan at [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>.

ABOUT SYSBS: Established in 1985, Sun Yat-Sen Business School (SYSBS) was the first business school in mainland China instituted by an overseas foundation. As one of the oldest and leading business schools in the nation, SYSBS has earned triple accreditations (AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB). Its EMBA was ranked #11 (2012) and Master’s in Management #44 (2013) worldwide by FT. In 2013, its business administration programs at undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels was tied with Tsinghua U. for the second best nationwide awarded by the central government.

SYSBS is located in Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong Province, China, also adjacent to Hong Kong and Macau. Guangzhou is the third largest city in China. Visitors have been drawn to the metropolitan glamour and excitement of Guangzhou for the diversity and richness of economic, cultural and social life found here.

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