Long Energy Transitions: 

The Global Energy Industry, Investors, and the International Firm


Special Joint Initiative: The Grand Challenge of Energy Transitions

Journal of International Business Studies and the British Journal of


For the last decade, the global energy mix has significantly shifted towards
renewables.  However, the scale and scope of adoption has varied greatly
from one national context to the other, and also in terms of firm-level


At a national level, there is a growing body of evidence that within the
developed common law, in liberal market economies, the national policy
framework remains relatively favourable towards supporting the hydrocarbons
industry (Brown and Hess 2016; Boersma and Johnson 2012; Jacoby et al. 2011;
Chasek 2007). Conversely, within many developed civil law coordinated
markets, the policy agenda has significantly shifted to renewables (Renn and
Marshall 2016; Szulecki et al. 2016; Reiner et al 2006; Chasek 2007).
Related to this is the investment ecosystem (Toke and Lauber 2007; Szulecki
et al. 2016). Although seemingly significant, US and UK investment in
renewables has been rather more modest in proportionate terms, and the
policy environment much more challenging than in the case of a number of
more coordinated markets (Sawin et al. 2010; Reiner et al. 2006.
Hydrocarbon-focused firms have been increasingly associated with high levels
of debt leverage (Gevorkyan and Semmler 2016; Lehn and Zhu 2016) and their
interests have coincided with highly mobile, short-term investors seizing
advantages conferred by speculation and unrealistic expectations (Frynas et
al. 2017). In contrast, renewable energy has high set-up costs, but lower
longer-term maintenance expenditures, and would seem suited to the interests
of patient investors (Salm 2017).  In emerging markets, policy responses
have typically been less coherent, although major nation-states, such as
China, have increasingly looked towards promoting a greater usage of
renewables, and have fine-tuned industry incentives accordingly.


An additional complexity is that many large multinational enterprises active
in the energy sector have diversified product and geographic activity
portfolios (Grant 2003; Verbeke 2013). These companies operate in many
markets, thereby often spanning conventional and renewable energy related
activities, and covering a wide range of institutional domains, where they
face a variety of relevant stakeholder groups.  These stakeholder groups may
be embedded in the firm's governance structure (as with state-owned
enterprises), or organized in social networks of varying strength and
density (Bass and Chakrabarty 2014; Hiatt, Grandy and Lee 2015). These firms
therefore need to navigate multiple, contradictory environmental pressures,
some of which may facilitate the conduct of business, whereas other ones
impose constraints on existing operations and require novel resource
combinations, as well as creative institutional work (Escobar and Vredenburg
2011; Pacheco, York and Hargrave 2014).  One critical challenge for energy
firms is whether to respond pro-actively, when non-market actors attempt to
'impose' innovations on industry  (Backman, Verbeke and Schulz 2017;
Verbeke, Osiyevskyy and Backman 2017).


The aim of the themed section is to showcase new and pathbreaking work that
engages with these great questions of our current age.   Papers should aim
to link structural changes in the global energy mix and the associated
investor ecosystem to developments at organizational level; the primary
focus should be international and comparative.  


We invite papers that provide new empirical evidence, and engage with
salient bodies of theoretical and applied knowledge.  We are open to a wide
range of different methodologies and theoretical starting points, but would
expect studies of a scale and scope at par with work normally published in
leading scholarly journals.  We are not looking for purely conceptual
papers, review articles or entirely theoretical contributions.  Authors of
shortlisted papers will be required to present their work at a paper
development workshop, which will be held at a leading international
conference.  Final accepted papers will be allocated to whichever of the two
journals provides the best fit.  


In the first instance, authors should submit proposals of a maximum of 1,000
words, plus short author biographies.  Proposals should include the key
research question,  theoretical underpinnings, empirical foundations, and
expected key contributions. 




Closing date for submission of proposals: 15 January 2018. 

Closing date for submission of papers based on accepted proposals 31 July


Contact Details


Paper proposals should be submitted to  <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
[log in to unmask], with "JIBS/BJM Special Joint Initiative" in the subject


Authors wishing to discuss ideas for paper proposals should consult Alain
Verbeke ([log in to unmask]) or Geoffrey Wood
([log in to unmask]).




Backman, C.A., Verbeke, A. and Schulz, R.A. 2017. The drivers of corporate
climate change strategies and public policy: a new resource-based view
perspective. Business & Society, 56(4), pp.545-575.


Bass, A. E. and Chakrabarty, S. 2014. Resource security: Competition for
global resources, strategic intent, and governments as owners. Journal of
International Business Studies, 45(8), pp. 961-979.

Boersma, T. and Johnson, C. 2012. The shale gas revolution: US and EU policy
and research agendas. Review of Policy Research, 29(4), pp.570-576.


Brown, K.P. and Hess, D.J. 2016. Pathways to policy: Partisanship and
bipartisanship in renewable energy legislation. Environmental Politics,
25(6), pp.971-990.


Chasek, P.S. 2007. US policy in the UN environmental arena: powerful laggard
or constructive leader? International Environmental Agreements: Politics,
Law and Economics, 7(4), pp.363-387.


Escobar, L. F., and Vredenburg, H. 2011. Multinational oil companies and the
adoption of sustainable development: A resource-based and institutional
theory interpretation of adoption heterogeneity. Journal of Business Ethics,
98(1), pp.39-65.


Frynas, G., Wood, G., and Hinks, T.  2017. The Resource Curse without
Natural Resources: Expectations of Resource Booms and their Impact. African
Affairs. Early online at:
tural-resources .  


Gevorkyan, A. and Semmler, W. 2016. Oil price, overleveraging and shakeout
in the shale energy sector-Game changers in the oil industry. Economic
Modelling, 54, pp.244-259.


Grant, R.M. 2003. Strategic planning in a turbulent environment: Evidence
from the oil majors. Strategic Management Journal, 24(6), pp.491-517.


Hiatt, S.R., Grandy, J.B. and Lee, B.H. 2015. Organizational responses to
public and private politics: An analysis of climate change activists and US
oil and gas firms. Organization Science, 26(6), pp.1769-1786.


Jacoby, H.D., O'Sullivan, F.M. and Paltsev, S. 2011. The influence of shale
gas on US energy and environmental policy. MIT Joint Program on the Science
and Policy of Global Change.


Klass, D.L. 2003. A critical assessment of renewable energy usage in the
USA. Energy Policy, 31(4), pp.353-367.


Lehn, K. and Zhu, P. 2016. Debt, Investment and Production in the US Oil
Industry: An Analysis of the 2014 Oil Price Shock. Available at:


Pacheco, D.F., York, J.G. and Hargrave, T.J. 2014. The coevolution of
industries, social movements, and institutions: Wind power in the United
States. Organization Science, 25(6), pp.1609-1632.


Reiner, D.M., Curry, T.E., De Figueiredo, M.A., Herzog, H.J., Ansolabehere,
S.D., Itaoka, K., Johnsson, F. and Odenberger, M., 2006. American
exceptionalism? Similarities and differences in national attitudes toward
energy policy and global warming. Environmental Science Policy, 40, 7:


Renn, O. and Marshall, J.P. 2016. Coal, nuclear and renewable energy
policies in Germany: From the 1950s to the "Energiewende". Energy Policy,
99, pp.224-232.


Salm, S. 2017. The investor-specific price of renewable energy project
risk-A choice experiment with incumbent utilities and institutional
investors. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. Early online at:


Sawin, J.L., Martinot, E., Barnes, D., McCrone, A., Roussell, J., Sims, R.,
Sonntag-O'Brien, V., Adib, R., Skeen, J., Musolino, E. and Riahi, L. 2010.
Renewables 2011-Global status report.


Szulecki, K., Fischer, S., Gullberg, A.T. and Sartor, O. 2016. Shaping the
'Energy Union': between national positions and governance innovation in EU
energy and climate policy. Climate Policy, 16(5), pp.548-567.


Toke, D. and Lauber, V. 2007. Anglo-Saxon and German approaches to
neoliberalism and environmental policy: The case of financing renewable
energy. Geoforum, 38(4), pp.677-687.


Verbeke, A.  2013.  International Business Strategy.  Cambridge University


Verbeke, A., Osiyevskyy, O. and Backman, C.A. 2017. Strategic responses to
imposed innovation projects: The case of carbon capture and storage in the
Alberta oil sands industry. Long Range Planning.


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