Special Issue of the Journal of International Business Studies




Special Issue Editors

*	Jonathan Doh (Villanova University, USA, [log in to unmask])
*	Suzana Rodrigues (Erasmus University, The Netherlands, and FUMEC
University, Brazil, [log in to unmask])

·         Ayse Saka-Helmhout (Radboud University, The Netherlands,
[log in to unmask])

·         Mona Makhija (The Ohio State University, USA,
[log in to unmask])


Advisor to the Special Issue

·         Tarun Khanna (Harvard University, USA) 


Deadline for submission: October 20, 2014


Tentative publication date: Spring/Summer 2016



Nature of the Special Issue

The notion of institutional voids, relating to underdeveloped capital
markets, infrastructure, intermediary markets, regulatory systems,
contract-enforcing mechanisms or other institutions (Khanna & Palepu, 1997),
has come to play an important role in understanding how firms make strategic
choices in emerging markets. ‘Void’ refers to the absence of mechanisms that
bring buyers and sellers (of products, talent, ideas, capital, and so on)
together.  To varying degrees and in varying ways, firms are thought to
‘internalize’ functions that are typically carried out by external markets
or public authorities and/or rely on alternative forms of contracting such
as trust that emanate from customs and traditions (e.g., Narayanan & Fahey,
2005). Although institutional voids are dominantly associated with emerging
markets in the literature, developed markets also vary in the quality of
their institutional conditions which in turn require specific strategic
adaptations (see, for example, the discussion in Khanna and Palepu (2010)
pertaining to institutional voids in the US subprime lending market), yet
this is rarely considered in this literature.  The term ‘institutional
void,’ often taken to suggest a missing institution, may reflect a less
developed, inefficient or poor-functioning form that can exist in any type
of market. A broader conceptualization of institutional voids can thus allow
for more detailed consideration of the nature of such voids and stimulate
thinking on a greater variety of approaches different types of actors can
take to respond to them. It may be for this reason that researchers have
thus far tended to stress only a few such approaches, such as increased
horizontal scope in business groups structures (Chang & Hong, 2000; Elango &
Pattniak, 2007; Fisman & Khanna, 2004; Khanna & Palepu, 2000, 2010; Makhija,
2004; Peng et al., 2005), geographical clustering (Lundan, 2012), and
allying with foreign firms (Siegel, 2004), as potential market responses to
institutional voids by local firms.  In addition, other types of actors,
such as those related to the state (e.g., Musacchio & Lazzarini, 2014),
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), interest group coalitions and
multinational enterprises (MNEs) also formulate market and nonmarket
strategies to ‘manage’ around, or substitute for, institutional voids
(Cantwell et al., 2010; Child et al., 2012; Mair et al., 2012; Teegen et
al., 2004; Meyer & Nguyen, 2005), yet attention to such actors as well as
the nature of nonmarket strategies has been limited. We have at present
little understanding of how specific actors deal with, shape, or remedy
institutional voids as they seek to enter and operate in foreign markets.


The goal of this Special Issue is therefore to encourage research that (a)
broadens our understanding of institutional voids by considering their
relevance for a variety of contexts ranging from developing to developed
markets, and (b) deepens theoretical insight into how institutional voids
are addressed by actors, including the nature of market and non-market
strategies employed.  We particularly welcome manuscripts that can stimulate
a dialogue among different scholarships within and outside of IB on the
nature and viability of different approaches in relation to specific
institutional voids. Indeed, IB research often draws on more than one
discipline to explain the conduct of business in differing contexts.  For
example, prior research has drawn on both political science and
international business perspectives to show how firms’ relationships with
the state change the form and content of public regulations (Boddewyn &
Brewer, 1994; Deeg; 2005; Makhija, 1993; Robinson et al., 2006; Ramamurti,
2005), as well as the influence of the state on business strategy through
close business-state relationships (Aldrighi & Postali, 2010; Child & Tse,
2001; Li et al., 2013), policies and their incentives (Chacar et al., 2010;
Makhija & Stewart, 2002), and preferential treatment through loans and
compensation for market failures (Cuervo-Cazurra & Dau, 2009; Inoue et al.,
2013). Similarly, sociological and anthropological approaches have been
integrated with strategic and economic perspectives to explain non-market
and market development processes (Doh et al., 2012; Mair et al., 2012).
While interdisciplinary approaches are well known in IB research, they have
not yet been applied as much to institutional voids. For this Special Issue,
we encourage differing disciplinary approaches that can help foster
discourse on how different actors respond to institutional voids, and in
particular, the conditions under which nonmarket strategic choices are most




With these goals in mind, we aim to attract submissions from scholars who
draw on different theoretical streams, adopt diverse empirical approaches,
and examine multiple levels of analysis to better understand institutional
voids and strategies used in relation to them. While not exhaustive, the
following list suggests possible topics and research questions that would be
appropriate for this special issue, including those that:


·                     Draw upon or develop theory that facilitates
understanding of how specific types of institutional voids emerge and
develop in specific contexts. Combining historical or sociological
perspectives with traditional IB approaches can help to gain greater depth
in accomplishing this objective.  

·                     Compare institutional environments in terms of
specific political, legal and social aspects that influence the nature of
institutional voids and the organizational responses to them.

·                     Compare the nature of institutional voids in emerging
and advanced economies, and differences in MNEs’ strategies for responding
to them.  How can we best assess and measure the extent and character of
these voids?

·                     Develop and/or test a fine-tuned model of how MNEs’
relationships and interactions with local firms, governments and civil
society actors influence their success in that environment.  Since these
relationships require investment of time and resources, how can costs be
assessed relative to benefits? 

·                     Consider in detail the types and characteristics of
institutional voids that require market or nonmarket responses, or both.
How do institutional voids affect entrepreneurship in an economy?
International (as opposed to national) entrepreneurship?  Theories of

·                     Consider the role of institutional voids in
institutional change.  How might states, firms and civil society
organizations introduce new/alternative institutional arrangements to
compensate for institutional voids?  What types of arrangements emerge under
which conditions?  Which institutional voids become constraints or enablers
of institutional change and/or market formation? 

·                     Explain path dependence in the management of
institutional voids.  For example, successful compensation for institutional
voids by a few entrepreneurs can cement dominance by leaving little
opportunity for specialized intermediation to emerge, and in turn, other de
novo entry (Khanna & Yafeh, 2007).  What are the processes by which such
“unhealthy” path dependence emerge? How do they compare with more beneficial
path dependence processes?

·                     Investigate how emerging market MNEs address
institutional voids in other emerging markets and how those compensating
strategies differ from those of developed country MNEs.

·                     Investigate how market and nonmarket responses to
institutional voids present new challenges or opportunities to IB theory and
broader social science theories.


We will hold a special issue conference in Columbus in May of 2015, for
manuscripts moving forward after the first round of reviews.



Submission Process

All manuscripts will be reviewed as a cohort for this special issue.
Manuscripts must be submitted in the window between October 6, 2014, and
October 20, 2014, at  <> All submissions will go through the
JIBS regular double-blind review process and follow the standard norms and


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




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behavior: New theoretical directions. Academy of Management Review, 19:


Boddewyn, J., & Doh, J. P.   2011. Global strategy and the collaboration of
MNEs, governments and NGOs for the provisioning of collective goods in
emerging Markets.  Global Strategy Journal, 1: 345-361.


Cantwell, J., Dunning, J. H., & Lundan, S. M. 2010. An evolutionary approach
to understanding international business activity: The co-evolution of MNEs
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Chang, S. J. & Hong, J. 2000. Economic performance of group-affiliated
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Chacar, A. S., Newburry, W. & Vissa, B. 2010. Bringing institutions into
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Cuervo-Cazurra, A., & Dau, L. A. 2009.  Promarket reforms and firm
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<> Business groups
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Special Issue Editors

Jonathan Doh is the Herbert G. Rammrath Endowed Chair in International
Business, founding Director of the Center for Global Leadership, and
Professor of Management and Operations at the Villanova School of Business.
He is also a visiting professor at Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (Vienna
University of Economics and Business). His research on strategy in emerging
markets, nonmarket strategy, and CSR has been published in Academy of
Management Review, Business Ethics Quarterly, California Management Review,
Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Management, Journal of
Management Studies, Management Information Systems Quarterly, Organization
Science, Organization Studies, Sloan Management Review, and Strategic
Management Journal.  He has authored or edited 9 books, including NGOs and
Corporations: Conflict and Collaboration (with Michael Yaziji, Cambridge
University Press, 2009) and Aligning for Advantage Competitive Strategies
for the Political and Social Arenas (Oxford University Press, 2014).  He has
been or is currently Associate or Senior Editor for Academy of Management
Learning and Education, Business & Society, Journal of World Business, and
Long Range Planning, has served or does presently serve on the editorial
boards of 12 journals, including JIBS. He has or is currently editing
special issues for Business Ethics Quarterly, Business & Society, and
Journal of World Business.


Suzana Rodrigues is Professor of Strategy at FUMEC University, Belo
Horizonte, Brazil, Emeritus Professor of International Business and
Organization at the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University as
well as Visiting Professor at Queen’s University Management School, Belfast,
UK, She is currently developing comparative research on institutional voids
and international joint ventures, specifically in respect of SMEs in
emerging and developing countries and the nonmarket strategies of a
Brazilian MNE. Her research has been published in Human Relations, Journal
of International Management, Journal of Management Studies, Management and
Organization Review, Management International Review, and Organization


Ayse Saka-Helmhout is Associate Professor of Strategic Management at
Nijmegen School of Management, Radboud University. Her research focuses on
the nature of the relationship between MNEs and their institutional
environments to advance debates on institutional change. Her work highlights
how MNEs respond to institutional complexity through translation and
situated practice-based learning processes. She has published on these
issues in journals such as Organization Studies, British Journal of
Management, Journal of World Business, Management International Review, and
is guest editing a special issue on MNEs as a Challenge to Institutional
Theory for the Journal of Management Studies. She serves as a Senior Editor
for Organization Studies and is on the editorial board of British Journal of


Mona Makhija is Professor of International Business at the Fisher College of
Business, The Oho State University.  Her research focuses on how
institutional features of national environments affect the strategies and
structure of firms, nature of competition and behavior of managers. Her work
also examines global strategies of multinational firms and the effects of
organizational control and coordination mechanisms on the management of
knowledge. Makhija has published her research in such journals as Academy of
Management Review, Journal of International Business Studies, Strategic
Management Journal, Organization Science, among others. She is currently
Area Editor for Journal of International Business Studies.  







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