Special Issue of the Journal of International Business Studies




Special Issue Editors:


*         Jaideep Anand (Ohio State University, USA, [log in to unmask])

*         Gerald McDermott (University of South Carolina, USA,
[log in to unmask])

*         Ram Mudambi (Temple University, USA, [log in to unmask])

*         Rajneesh Narula (University of Reading, UK, [log in to unmask])


Deadline for submission: November 1, 2018


Tentative publication date: Summer 2020




This special issue focuses on the nature of innovation, within and across
firms, in the context of emerging economies. It follows a recent trend by
scholars increasingly using emerging economies as terrains to explore core
assumptions about FDI, foreign market entry, alliances, and institutions
(Govindarajan & Ramamurti, 2011; Henisz, 2000; Khanna & Palepu, 2000; Morck,
Yeung, & Yu, 2000; Narula, 2012). This issue also seeks to build on work
from fields such as strategy, organizational theory, economic geography, and
economic sociology that has sought to identify the mechanisms that lead to
different patterns of product and process innovations as well as the
breakthrough and diffusion of new technologies and knowledge (Gordon &
McCann, 2005; Henderson & Clark, 1990; Owen-Smith & Powell, 2004; Rosenkopf
& Tushman, 1998). 

Innovation remains a critical component for sustained growth and competitive
advantage for emerging economies and their firms. Over the last two decades,
research at the intersection of innovation and development has increasingly
forced us to reframe some fundamental assumptions about the nature, process
and underpinnings of innovation in all economies. As global value chains
(GVCs) and MNEs link innovation systems in advanced market economies with
those in emerging economies, cross-border opportunities and challenges arise
that were not seen in previous decades. These challenges often relate to
economic development and upgrading at the emerging economy end (Giuliani,
Pietrobelli, & Rabellotti, 2005), whereas at the advanced market end, they
relate to offshoring and rationalization (Leigh & Gifford, 1999).

The dynamics and spread of GVCs and MNEs and their associated innovation
activities has pushed scholars to reconsider the mechanisms and direction
for cross-border transfer of knowledge and technologies (Gereffi, 1999; Zhao
& Anand, 2009, Narula, 2014). Scholars have shown how firm learning often
depends on distinct vertical and horizontal network linkages (Hirschman,
1968; Morris, Kaplinsky, & Kaplan, 2012) as well as the ability of local
firms to generate new absorptive capacities (Mudambi et al., 2017; McDermott
& Corredoira, 2010; Thun, 2006; Vasudeva & Anand, 2011). We see shifts in
the direction of cross-border knowledge creation, as MNEs from advanced
countries are using emerging economy innovation systems to develop new types
products and processes that leverages their GVCs and brings new knowledge
back to headquarters (Brandt & Thun, 2010; Govindarajan & Ramamurti, 2011;
Herrigel et al., 2013). 

These streams of scholarship have led to fresh debates on the fundamental
types of knowledge and skills critical for firms in emerging economies.
Dominant views on innovation, from network analysis to innovation systems to
MNC spillover effects, often place a premium on the necessity of firms
having access to pioneering technologies and societies creating institutions
focused promoting the transfer of pioneering knowledge (Breznitz, 2007;
Nelson, 1993; Owen-Smith & Powell, 2004). However, recent work reveals that
sustained innovation in emerging economies may depend more on access to
diverse applied, experiential knowledge which enables backward firms to
shift to more modern organizational capabilities. (McDermott & Pietrobelli,
2017; Perez-Aleman, 2011; Pietrobelli & Rabellotti, 2011). The vast majority
of emerging economy firms (many of which are small- and medium-sized
enterprises) face large technological gaps, and cannot take advantage of
international standards and technologies. This absence of absorptive
capacity constrains the sequence and nature of learning processes, the shape
of technological advances and the core mechanisms of knowledge transfer.

Concerns about forms of innovation, technological upgrading and knowledge
diffusion are at the center of growing debates at the intersection of
economic geography and MNE strategy, particularly regarding the role of MNEs
in emerging economy innovation systems. Traditionally, the view was rather
pessimistic where MNEs tended to minimize their local linkages, set up value
extracting ¡°islands¡± within poor economies (Narula, 2018). More nuanced
views can be found in cluster analysis that highlights the importance of
social capital in developing linkages to prevent the rise of dualism
(Giuliani, 2006; Schmitz, 2004). However, the debate about the role of MNEs
in establishing innovation connectivity with and in emerging economies is
far from settled and this special issue is an attempt to make progress
toward resolving it.

In turn, the context of emerging markets offers a growing opportunity to
evaluate how innovation systems or broader innovative capacities emerge in
ways to create sustained advantage. Emerging economy industry leaders are
forced to generate new organizational and institutional constellations in
order to overcome technological gaps with the advanced world (Mair, Marti, &
Ventresca 2011). Understanding the process of innovation in emerging
economies opens the door to exploring new networks, mechanisms and
alternative institutional resources to improve access to this knowledge and
implement ¡°catch-up processes¡± (Vasudeva & Anand, 2011; Bartholomew, 1997;
McDermott & Pietrobelli, 2017; Fu et al., 2011). 

Such discussions naturally lead us to re-examine dominant theories of the
MNE and of capabilities creation. In researching issues of knowledge
creation as well as product and process upgrading in emerging economies,
scholars are exploring the assumptions about internalization theory (Hennart
2012; Narula, 2012), the nature and upgrading of firm-specific advantages
(FSAs) as well as the relative locational advantages for MNE innovation
activities (Mudambi et al., 2018; Madhok & Keyhani, 2012). Recent debates on
the validity of MNE motives to understand strategic-asset augmenting
activity by emerging economy MNEs are also worth exploring (Meyer, 2015;
Benito, 2015; Elia & Santangelo, 2017).

Indeed, innovation in these countries offers an excellent context to study
the creation of new firm capabilities. For instance, MNEs display
considerable variation in the governance modes for organizing their R&D
activities, which in turn impacts the competence creation in subsidiaries
(Palmie et al., 2014). The cross-border transfer of firm level capabilities
via joint ventures, strategic alliances and mergers & acquisitions also
provides valuable research opportunities (Zhao & Anand, 2009, 2013; Narula &
Verbeke, 2015). 


Suggested Topics for Submissions

We encourage research that can address innovation at multiple levels of
analysis, such as the firm, industry, and value chain as well as comparative
analysis of different patterns of firm and institutional strategies across
nations and regions. We encourage submissions that draw on a variety of
theoretical and disciplinary approaches to the study of innovation in
emerging market countries. Suggested topics can include, but are not
restricted to:

*         What types of innovation strategies are emerging market MNEs
creating to penetrate new markets? 

*         In what ways are advanced economy MNEs altering their learning and
alliances strategies with emerging market firms to improve their own
innovative capacities?

*         What types of cross-border network relationships are emerging and
advanced economy firms creating to facilitate and leverage their innovation

*         What types of strategies and organizational forms are emerging
market public and private actors using to improve their absorptive and
innovative capacities?

*         What types of internal and external strategies are SMEs using to
overcome inherited technological and resources gaps in order to participate
in global innovation networks?

*         What sort of institutional rules and resources appear to impede or
facilitate innovation in emerging market countries?

*         What organizational mechanisms provide the best conduit for
knowledge flow into and out of emerging markets?

*         Under what conditions can emerging economy firms take global
leadership in terms of innovation?


Submission Process 

All manuscripts will be reviewed as a cohort for this special issue.
Manuscripts must be submitted in the window between October 18, 2018, and
November 1, 2018, 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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About the Guest Editors 

Jaideep Anand is the William H. Davis Chair and Dean¡¯s Distinguished
Professor at the Fisher College of Business, and the Academic Director of
the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Ohio State University.
He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Emerging Market
Studies at CEIBS. Prior to joining Fisher, he was faculty at the University
of Michigan (Ross) and Research Fellow at the William Davidson Institute.
His interests include corporate growth and innovation, mergers &
acquisitions, and multinational management. 


Gerald McDermott is Professor of International Business at the Moore School
of Business of the University of South Carolina and is Senior Research
Fellow at IAE Business School in Argentina. He specializes on issues of
innovation, risk, and institutional change in emerging market countries. His
books and articles have examined the impact of industrial networks on the
economic governance institutions in post-communist countries; the creation
of innovation clusters in manufacturing and agriculture in South America;
and the impact of transnational regulatory integration on developing


Ram Mudambi is the Frank M. Speakman Professor of Strategy at the Fox School
of Business, Temple University. He is also the Executive Director of the
Temple CIBER. Previously he served on the faculties of Case Western Reserve
University, University of Reading (UK) and University of North Carolina ¨C
Chapel Hill. He is a Fellow of the Academy of International Business (AIB),
an Honorary Professor at the Center of International Business, University of
Leeds (CIBUL), UK, and a Life Fellow of the Academy of the University of
Messina, Italy. His current research projects focus on the geography of
innovation and the governance of knowledge-intensive processes, especially
in the context of emerging economies.


Rajneesh Narula is the John H. Dunning Chair of International Business
Regulation at the Henley Business School, University of Reading, UK. His
research and consulting have focused on the role of multinational firms in
development, innovation and industrial policy, R&D alliances and
outsourcing. He has published over a 100 articles and chapters in books on
these themes. He is an area Editor of JIBS. He holds honorary appointments
at UNU-MERIT, Norwegian School of Business, Urbino University and Oxford


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