Special issue of Industry and Innovation


“Location, Collocation and Innovation across National Borders:

Connecting the International Business, Economic Geography and Innovation Communities”


extended submission deadline (Full paper): 31 JANUARY 2016


Guest Editors

Ram Mudambi, Fox School of Business, Temple University (USA), Rajneesh Narula, Henley Business School, University of Reading (UK), and Grazia D. Santangelo, University of Catania (Italy)



The distribution of economic value creating activities across space has intrigued scholars since at least the nineteenth century. Over the course of the last century, this phenomenon has been studied from different perspectives with economic geographers and regional scientists leading the trend. The growing interest in geography in the international business community is reflected in a number of special issues in IB journals. This special of Industry and Innovation seeks to expand the understanding of cross-border innovative activities along at least two dimensions.


First, traditionally international business scholars have focused on the organization of economic activities and less so on the characteristics of places (Beugelsdijk et al., 2010). In other words, economic geography has focused on the location, while international business scholars have examined the (multinational) firm. Second, the recent debate on the propensity of firms to collocate innovative activity remains lively. In particular, multinationals face collocation advantages and disadvantages when crossing international borders and selecting host locations (Narula and Santangelo, 20092012). On the one hand, multinationals may wish to collocate with unaffiliated firms (e.g. suppliers, competitors, or customers) to internalize L-advantages in order to enhance and create firm-specific advantages. On the other, firms may either deliberately avoid collocating (Alcacer, 2006) or resort to strategies to monitor collocated partners (Narula and Santangelo, 2009) in order to limit dissipation of unintended knowledge flows. Both collocation advantages and disadvantages are not automatic and critically depend on the public goods nature of the L advantages to be internalized, the level of competition, MNC technological leadership and insidership in the host location (Alcacer, 2006; Alcacer and Chung, 2007; Cantwell and Mudambi, 2011). Embeddedness in multiple local contexts creates opportunities, but also raises challenges, particularly in terms of stressing the bandwidth of managers who must handle the increasing complexity (Meyer et al., 2011). We are still missing a clear picture and a full understanding of the boundary conditions of collocation advantages and disadvantages.


This special issue intends to offer a further forum bridging the international business community with economic geography, and start a new forum where these two communities could connect with innovation scholars. The ultimate aim is to achieve a fruitful cross-fertilization of the three fields in order to gain a more comprehensive knowledge of the organizational and geographical dimension of cross-border innovative activities.


The special issue welcomes both theoretical and empirical contributions, which draw on different theoretical streams. Research adopting a variety of research methodologies is welcome, including qualitative, quantitative, and mixed- method approaches. Empirical studies should explicitly contribute to a theoretical agenda, and preferably be based on novel and exclusive data. Papers that are primarily descriptive are not welcome. Possible topics and research questions that would be appropriate for this special section would include, but would not be limited to, the following list:


1. What are the implications of the rise of knowledge-intensive intangibles for MNEs’ location and organizational strategies? Does this phenomenon provide new advantages for international new ventures? Does the rise of knowledge-intensive intangibles shift collocation advantage in disadvantages and vice versa?

2. Do MNEs exposed to multiple sources of knowledge dissipation need new strategies to protect their ownership advantages? Is modularity a panacea?

3. Would the nature of collocation advantages and/or disadvantages MNEs face in emerging markets be different than in advanced economies? Would the boundary conditions for collocation advantages be different in emerging market clusters?


Submission Process


Manuscripts of a maximum of 6,000 words should be prepared in accordance with Industry and Innovation guidelines and submitted by JANUARY 31, 2016 via the online journal submission system by selecting this special issue title. 



Alcacer, J. 2006. “Location Choices across the Value Chain: How Activity and Capability Influence Collocation.” Management Science 52: 1457–1471.

Alcacer, J., and W. Chung. 2007. “Location strategies and knowledge spillovers.” Management Science 53: 760–776.

Beugelsdijk, S., P. McCann, and R. Mudambi. 2010. “Introduction: Place, space and organization— economic geography and the multinational enterprise.” Journal of Economic Geography 10: 485–493.

Cantwell, J. A., and R. Mudambi. 2011. “Physical attraction and the geography of knowledge sourcing in multinational enterprises.” Global Strategy Journal 1: 206–232.

Meyer, K., R. Mudambi, and R. Narula. 2011. “Multinational enterprises and local contexts: The opportunities and challenges of multiple embeddedness.” Journal of Management Studies 48: 235–252.

Narula, R., and G. D. Santangelo. 2009. “Location, collocation and R&D alliances in the European ICT industry.” Research Policy 38: 393–403.

Narula, R., and G. D. Santangelo. 2012. “Location and collocation advantages in international innovation.” Multinational Business Review 20: 6–25.

Professor Grazia Santangelo
Jean Monnet Chair International Business for European Union (IB4EU)
Department of Political and Social Science
University of Catania
Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 8
95131 Catania

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