Call for papers: Special Issue of International Business Review (IBR) Micro-foundations and Ambidexterity in International Business and Innovation Guest Editors: Yipeng Liu, Newcastle University, UK, [log in to unmask] Sir Cary L. Cooper, Manchester Business School, UK, [log in to unmask] Simon Collinson, University of Birmingham, UK, [log in to unmask] Daniela Baglieri, University of Messina, Italy, [log in to unmask] Deadline: Sept. 2018 Background and rationale for the Special Issue Ambidexterity has (re)gained considerable scholarly attention as an approach for understanding how organizations and the decision-makers within them manage trade-offs between different resource investments and outcomes involved in exploration and exploitation activities (O'Reilly & Tushman, 2013; Raisch & Birkinshaw, 2008; Simsek, 2009). It also sits at the heart of recent scholarly discussions which place a strong theoretical emphasis on paradox-based rather than contingency-based approaches (Schad, Lewis, Raisch, & Smith, 2016). However, research in international business, which has increasingly incorporated concepts and studies of innovation, has not drawn extensively on recent theoretical advancements in ambidexterity. International business research is concerned with multiple decision-making and organizational trade-offs that relate to internationalization, many of which relate to exploration and/or exploitation. Since it has been usually conceived as the firms’ ability to compete in mature technologies and markets and also in new technologies and markets (O’Reilly & Tushman, 2013), ambidexterity can serve as a useful lens to advance research on multinationals, SMEs and innovation in both emerging and advanced economies (Collinson, Narula, & Rugman, 2017). At the heart of the internationalization process are a set of decisions concerned with balancing the dual need for exploitation (of current assets and capabilities) in current markets and exploration (of resource input and sales opportunities) in foreign markets. Different kinds of innovation-related and organizational assets and capabilities are required for each of these and both must evolve in tandem (Collinson & Liu, 2017; Collinson & Narula, 2014). From the innovation point of view, exploration and exploitation need to be balanced to orchestrate resources, build capabilities, so as to deliver innovation outcomes and ensure long-term survival (March, 1991). On the one side, the most innovative firms pursue internationalization strategies and enlarge the market potential to fully capture the rents of their innovations and capitalize their investments in R&D (Kyläheiko, Jantunen, Puumalainen, Saarenketo, & Tuppura, 2011). On the other side, firms dispersing R&D activities geographically foster their technological capabilities by building a network able to explore and exploit knowledge on a global scale (Lam, 2003). MNEs often belong to innovative ecosystems and platforms where the modularity of products and services and the affordability of communication costs influence the exploration and exploitation activities. In any case, internationalization requires innovation, to adapt products, services and organizational structures and cultures to expand successfully from domestic to foreign markets (Ghemawat, 2007). The microfoundations movement in strategy and management research (Felin, Foss, & Ployhart, 2015) provides an additional lens with which to understand the underlying decision mechanisms used to cope with the exploitation-exploration tension in firms. We believe that exploring the social mechanisms and illuminating the multi-faceted human factors of microfoundations in an international context can advance management and organization studies in important ways. A nuanced and micro-level understanding of individuals, their behaviors and social interactions in international organizations is instrumental for explaining processes and macro-level outcomes and thereby important for scholars, managers and policymakers to tackle societal and economic challenges facing the global economy today (Liu, Sarala, Xing, & Cooper, 2017). For instance, MNE microfoundations and routines are conducive in building a legitimate and sustainable position in emerging markets (Elg, Ghauri, Child, & Collinson, 2017). Topics for the Special Issue With this call, we invite papers to bridge two literature streams in particular, international business and technological innovation, with the purpose of fostering cross-fertilization, stimulating scholarly debates and generating novel insights for theory, practice, and policy (Baglieri, Cesaroni, & Orsi, 2014). Furthermore, we encourage a cross-cultural comparative international management approach (Liu & Almor, 2016; Luo, Sun, & Wang, 2011) to obtain a more nuanced and contextualized understanding of ambidexterity in international business and innovation research. The goal of this special issue is to solicit empirical, meta-analytical, review and theoretical research, in order to provide significant theoretical and empirical contributions to the understanding of micro-foundations of ambidexterity affecting international business and/or innovation. We encourage scholars to explore the antecedents, processes, consequences, and contingencies associated with ambidexterity practices, which in turn may foster or hinder innovation activities and/or international business activities in multinationals and SMEs. Furthermore, we welcome the submission of research studies involving different levels of analysis or cross-disciplinary perspectives, or that actively seek to integrate interdisciplinary and multi-method approaches. We hope to stimulate the intellectual debate to explore the social mechanisms and interrelationships between micro-foundations of ambidexterity, international business and innovation in both emerging markets and advanced economies. Some questions and topics that prospective contributions might address, among others, are: What are the antecedents, moderators/mediators, and outcomes of ambidexterity affecting international business and innovation, including multinationals and SMEs? What impact do different categories of microfoundations of ambidexterity have on the nature, extent and relevance of different innovation and international business activities? What types of organizational performance outcomes may be encountered, due to each of these categories of microfoundations of ambidexterity? What are the short term and longer term effects of microfoundations on international business and innovation? What are the new methods (both quantitative and qualitative) to assess the antecedents and consequences of ambidexterity? What are the relational mechanisms, antecedents and consequences of inter-firm alliances, networks and other inter-organizational arrangements in IB and innovation? How multinationals, SMEs and institutions engage in turning science into innovation? How can entrepreneurial ventures and established corporations exchange knowledge and cooperate in various value chain activities from an ambidexterity perspective? How can nations/ regions facilitate cooperation within and across industry boundaries? What relational capabilities and inter-organizational processes foster cooperation, competition and technology commercialization? What may be the impact of innovation and internationalization in regional development? From the organizational psychological perspective, what is the impact of leadership practice on employees in the context of global collaborative partnerships, including mergers and acquisitions and entrepreneurial partnerships? What may be the impact of ambidexterity on international entrepreneurship? How does internationalization influence the role and effect of ambidexterity on innovation? What are the managerial actions that capitalize the effect of internationalization on ambidexterity? How does ambidexterity differ across contexts, such as emerging market firms? How do international ecosystems affect the ways through which managers solve the tensions between exploration and exploitation? Submission Process: Between September 1st and September 30th, 2018, authors should submit their manuscripts online via the International Business Review submission system: . To ensure that all manuscripts are correctly identified for consideration for this Special Issue, it is important that authors select ‘SI: Microfoundations’ when they reach the “Article Type” step in the submission process. Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with the International Business Review Guide for Authors available at All submitted manuscripts will be subject to International Business Review’s double blind review process with one or more of the guest editors acting as the action editor. Research Data: Research data forms the backbone of research articles and provides the foundation on which knowledge is built. Researchers are increasingly encouraged, or even mandated, to make research data available, accessible, discoverable and usable. Although not mandatory, the journal encourages authors to submit their data at the same time as their manuscript. Further information can be found at: If you have questions regarding manuscripts, please direct them to the lead guest editor Dr Yipeng Liu ([log in to unmask]) who will oversee managing the special issue on behalf of the guest editorial team. References Baglieri, D., Cesaroni, F., & Orsi, L. 2014. Does the nano-patent ‘Gold rush’lead to entrepreneurial-driven growth? Some policy lessons from China and Japan. Technovation, 34(12): 746-761. Collinson, S., & Liu, Y. 2017. Recombination for Innovation: Performance Outcomes from International Partnerships in China. R&D Management, Forthcoming. Collinson, S., Narula, R., & Rugman, A. M. 2017. International business: Pearson Education. Collinson, S. C., & Narula, R. 2014. Asset recombination in international partnerships as a source of improved innovation capabilities in China. The Multinational Business Review, 22(4): 394-417. Elg, U., Ghauri, P. N., Child, J., & Collinson, S. C. 2017. MNE microfoundations and routines for building a legitimate and sustainable position in emerging markets. Journal of Organizational Behavior: Forthcoming. Felin, T., Foss, N. J., & Ployhart, R. E. 2015. The microfoundations movement in strategy and organization theory. The Academy of Management Annals, 9(1): 575-632. Ghemawat, P. 2007. Redefining global strategy: Crossing borders in a world where differences still matter. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business Press. Kyläheiko, K., Jantunen, A., Puumalainen, K., Saarenketo, S., & Tuppura, A. 2011. Innovation and internationalization as growth strategies: The role of technological capabilities and appropriability. International Business Review, 20(5): 508-520. Lam, A. 2003. Organizational learning in multinationals: R&D networks of Japanese and US MNEs in the UK. Journal of Management Studies, 40(3): 673-703. Liu, Y., & Almor, T. 2016. How culture influences the way entrepreneurs deal with uncertainty in inter-organizational relationships: The case of returnee versus local entrepreneurs in China. International Business Review, 25(1): 4-14. Liu, Y., Sarala, R. M., Xing, Y., & Cooper, C. L. 2017. Human side of collaborative partnerships: A micro-foundational perspective. Group & Organization Management, 24(2): 151-162. Luo, Y., Sun, J., & Wang, S. L. 2011. Comparative strategic management: An emergent field in international management. Journal of International Management, 17(3): 190-200. March, J. G. 1991. Exploration and exploitation in organizational learning. Organization science, 2(1): 71-87. O'Reilly, C. A., & Tushman, M. L. 2013. Organizational Ambidexterity: Past, Present, and Future. The Academy of Management Perspectives, 27(4): 324-338. Raisch, S., & Birkinshaw, J. 2008. Organizational ambidexterity: Antecedents, outcomes, and moderators. Journal of Management, 34(3): 375-409. Schad, J., Lewis, M. W., Raisch, S., & Smith, W. K. 2016. Paradox research in management science: Looking back to move forward. The Academy of Management Annals, 10(1): 5-64. Simsek, Z. 2009. Organizational ambidexterity: Towards a multilevel understanding. Journal of Management Studies, 46(4): 597-624. ____
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