​​AIB US-NE 2015 Frontier Conference: Bringing the Political Economy Back In

Call for Papers

We are pleased to announce this year’s Academy of International Business (AIB) Frontier Conference “Bringing the Political Economy Back In”, organized by the US-Northeast (NE) Chapter of AIB – the leading association of scholars and practitioners in the field of international business – together with the College of Management at University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB)<>. The meeting will take place October 22-24, 2015, at the Campus Center of UMB in downtown Boston – a city with a rich cultural and historical heritage, and a global hub for education, science and technology. The conference includes regular sessions, a doctoral consortium and a paper development workshop. Deadline for submissions is May 31 2015. Details can be found below and on the conference website:<>.

Conference Theme

This conference is designed as an interdisciplinary platform for intellectual exploration around the complex relationship between international business (IB) and the political economy. The decisions and operations of multinational enterprises (MNEs) and local firms are affected by institutional, economic, and political structures and processes at multiple scales - local, regional, and global. Moreover, MNEs increasingly participate as political actors as they interact with state and non-state actors around issues such as the natural environment, inequality, labor and gender, human rights, and international trade and investment agreements. In addition, other organizations such as NGOs, non-profits, social enterprises etc. increasingly have transnational impact through their interaction with MNEs and other actors on these issues. To examine these dynamics in more depth, this conference brings together senior and junior scholars from IB, management, sociology, political science, women’s studies, and economics who share an interest in ‘Bringing the Political Economy Back In’.

And it’s about time! Today’s world economy is in turmoil: Greece and the EU are battling over the future of the Eurozone; the Ukraine-Russia conflict is challenging regional stability and global energy security; the proposed Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific trade and investment agreements are keenly contested by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and also challenge China and other emerging economies. The devastating Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2013 has triggered quite different corporate responses in the US and Europe, but substantial risks remain for workers – as well as for corporate reputations. The 2008 Financial Crisis has left a precarious legacy for firms, consumers, workers, and states, without significant steps toward a more secure global financial system.

Guiding Questions and Conference Features

How do – and should - MNEs respond to and affect these political and economic dynamics? What roles do MNEs play as political actors, along with NGOs and other stakeholders, in governance, for example, through corporate social responsibility efforts, standards, lobbying, and in their own resource allocation decisions? Does business participate as a public spirited global citizen, or pursue a narrower conception of corporate interests at the firm or sector level?

We invite you to participate in this exciting conversation. The conference will feature a Doctoral Consortium and Paper Development Workshop, special panels and keynote speeches, and topic-centered sessions, as well as lunch and dinner events. In addition to the main theme, the conference will also address more conventional IB topics. Participants will be invited to submit their work to a special issue on IB and political economy in a major international business journal; the conference will also allow an opportunity to interact with the editors of the special issue and inquire about more details.

Hosting Team, Special Guests and Panels

The Frontier conference will be hosted by faculty and students of the UMB Organizations and Social Change (OSC) Research Group​<>: Alessia Contu, Chacko Kannothra, David Levy, Banu Ozkazanc-Pan, Suhaib Riaz and Chris Whynacht, in collaboration with the AIB NE Chapter, chaired by Stephan Manning, and faculty from other UMB departments, including Economics and Political Science.

Several well-known scholars from International Business, Sociology, Economics, Women’s Studies, and Political Science will participate - as keynote speakers, panelists, track chairs and mentors for the Doctoral Consortium and Paper Development Workshop. We look forward to welcoming Jonathan Doh (Villanova U, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of World Business), Ram Mudambi (Temple U, Incoming President of AIB) and Mona Makhija (Ohio State U, Senior Editor of Journal of International Business Studies / JIBS) to assist with the Doctoral Consortium and to join as panelists and keynote speakers. For the main conference, Cynthia Enloe (Clark U) and John Cantwell (Rutgers U, Editor-in-Chief of JIBS) will give keynote addresses.

We are also planning some exciting panels, including two on October 22 for the Doctoral Consortium – on conducting high impact research in IB, and managing dissertations and job search; as well as four panels on October 23/24 on political economy challenges to IB research; global governance and the role of multinational enterprises; international development, violence and gender; and climate change, IB and global politics of energy. Panelists include beside the ones above (in alphabetical order) Frank Ackerman (Tufts U), Cornel Ban (Boston U), Elora Chowdhury (UMB), Kade Finnoff (UMB), Dirk Matten (York U), Craig Murphy (UMB) and Ravi Ramamurti (Northeastern U).

Short Paper Submissions

We invite submissions of ‘short papers’ (around 3,000 words) for individual presentations that link, in interesting and novel ways, various aspects of the local and global political economy to international business. We also invite submissions that bring in institutional and political aspects to more conventional IB topics, such as theory of the MNE; managing geographic and institutional distance; international joint ventures and alliances; political risk, lobbying, and corruption; international expansion, sourcing and foreign entry modes; learning and knowledge management; and managing in cross-cultural contexts. We are interested in both theoretical and empirical work, using either qualitative or quantitative methods. We are open to a broad range of theoretical approaches, both critical and traditional, from IB, organization theory, sociology, political science, international political economy, and other perspectives.

Based on short paper submissions, we will group accepted papers into tracks and select paper discussants within each track. The following list of topics and questions is not meant to be exclusive, but gives a flavor of what we are looking for in addition to or combined with more regular IB themes:

Local and global institutions; Governance, collaborative and contested; CSR and shared value; MNEs as political actors; Interactions between MNEs, states, and civil society; MNEs and development; Emerging varieties of capitalism; Transnational crime, from human trafficking to money laundering; Gender, race, and ethnicity in MNEs and the global economy; Political and institutional risks; Climate change responses; Sustainability standards; Global financial system issues, including tax havens, shadow banking and other controversial industry practices; Intellectual property rights; Labor and human rights; Migration and transnational networks; Conflict, violence, peacemaking and reconstruction; Economic and social inequality; Transnational movements, communities and networks; Post- and neocolonial relations.

Short papers should be submitted through the Conference Website (up to three submissions allowed per author):<>. All submissions will be double blind reviewed by scholars with expertise in the respective field. The Best Student Paper as well as The Best Paper on the Conference Theme will receive an award at the end of the conference. Submitters are expected to also sign up as reviewers. We will issue a Best Reviewer Award.

Deadline for submission of short papers is May 31 2015.

Full paper submissions are invited, upon the acceptance of short papers, by August 31. They will be presented by authors and discussed by domain experts at the conference.

Applications for Doctoral Consortium and PDW

Doctoral students are invited to submit 3-page proposals to the doctoral student consortium on October 22. Proposals should be submitted through the conference website:<>. The format of the Consortium will facilitate a constructive discussion among the doctoral students and the participating faculty on topics related to political economy issues in international business. Applications for the Doctoral Consortium should include:

  1.  Abstract of the dissertation proposal (not to exceed 3 pages, single spaced): Please include title, author information, abstract, keywords, and dissertation research summary. Diagrams, tables, and references should be provided at the end of the document but do not count towards the 3-page limit. The extended abstract should succinctly cover the research question, theoretical background, proposed research design, and intended contribution.
  2.  Resume (not to exceed 1 page): Highlight your academic and work experience, along with publications including manuscripts under review.
  3.  Letter of nomination: The student's dissertation advisor should send a nomination letter to the Consortium Co-Chairs. The letter should discuss the progress of the student in the program and his/her academic performance and potential.  If the student is enrolled in a doctoral program that does not have a formal proposal defense, the dissertation advisor's statement of approval of the proposal will suffice. Please e-mail the nominations for the Doctoral Consortium to co-host Chacko Kannothra (subject "AIB Doctoral Consortium"): [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> .

Deadline for applications is May 31 2015.

The best proposal will receive a Doctoral Student Best Proposal Award.

In addition, there will be a half-day paper development workshop (PDW) on October 22, following the Doctoral Consortium. This workshop is designed to facilitate general feedback and a one-on-one feedback session with a well-known scholar on a particular paper. Both PhD students and more senior scholars can participate. For this purpose, please submit a short paper version of 3,000 words. Deadline is May 31 2015. Full papers shall be submitted, based on acceptance of the proposal, by August 31 2015.

Conference Registration

Registration for the AIB US-NE 2015 Frontier Conference is now open at:<>. The registration includes three lunch events, two dinner receptions and one gala dinner. If you have a question regarding registration, please email co-host Chacko Kannothra: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>.

Registration Rates
        Early-bird Registration (up to July 31, 2015)   $280

        Regular Registration (after July 31, 2015)      $320
Student Early-bird Registration (up to July 31, 2015)   $130
        Regular Registration (after July 31, 2015)      $170

Note: Students need to attach a proof of student status to attend.

Cancellation Policy
Cancellation by August 31, 2015: Refund less a $50 processing fee.
Cancellation after August 31, 2015: No refunds available.

Conference Venue and Hotel Accommodation

The conference will take place at the Campus Center of UMass Boston, 100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston MA 02125, near the JFK/UMass Metro Stop. For those who would like to stay close to the campus, we recommend accommodation at the Double Tree Hotel close to the conference venue. Details on booking and conference rates will be available on the conference website:<>.

For any inquiries about the Call for Papers please send emails to conference co-host Chacko Kannothra: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>. Updates on the Call for Papers, registration and hotel accommodations can be found on the conference website.

We are looking forward to your submissions and to welcoming you to the AIB US-NE 2015 Frontier Conference at UMass Boston in October!

Stephan Manning
Associate Professor of Management
University of Massachusetts Boston
College of Management
100 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125-3393, USA

Senior Editor of Management and Organization Review (MOR)<>
Chair of Academy of International Business (AIB)​<> US-Northeast Chapter
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