A Special Issue to be published in the

Journal of International Business Policy


Paper Submission Deadline: September 1, 2020


Special Issue Editors

Timothy M. Devinney

Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Manchester,

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Christopher A. Hartwell

Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, UK and Kozminski University, Warsaw,

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Jennifer Oetzel

Kogod School of Business, American University, Washington DC, USA

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Paul Vaaler

Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis MN, USA

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The Topic, Its Importance, and Reasons for Having a Special Issue in JIBP

The last fifteen years have brought a fracturing of the relative stability
of the post-Cold War world, an era characterized by the ascendance of free
markets, consumer choice, globalization, and social progress. In the wake of
the terrorist attacks of September 11th and the global financial crisis of
2007 to 2009, the “end of history” and supposed triumph of liberal democracy
(Fukuyama, 1992) has been replaced by a variety of different ideas and
perspectives about how to run a country. This change has seen a move from
global super power politics to a much more disjointed global and local
political landscape where the mixture of players is more fluid and
uncertain. Contemporary threats and alternative viewpoints reflect
fragmentation of power and new competing alternatives of politics,
economics, and business, at both the global and local levels. This has, to
some degree, spawned comparisons with both the recent and far past. However,
the issues today are complicated most obviously by threats relating to
global demographics, population growth, resources, environmental challenges,
and technological change. 

At the end of the 20th century, a complacency arose within international
business research as to the extent to which socio-political factors impacted
upon national economies, policy formation, and global management. To a great
extent, the 1990s were a period in which the benefits of the Western liberal
democratic market system seemed to be on a winning streak. However, the
period post-2001 has highlighted the fractures in the socio-political
structure that perhaps always existed, and with increasing intensity
revealed the extent to which that viewpoint was invalid. This revealed
itself in business realities but also reflected a lack of meaningful and
effective theorizing within the international business (and to a lesser
extent, economics) literature. None of our theories predicted the fall of
the Berlin Wall. None of them predicted the 9/11 attacks. None of them
predicted the political fracturing of many Western democracies and the rise
of populism (e.g., Devinney & Hartwell, 2019). None of them predicted the
degree to which social media could be weaponized so quickly by individuals
and nation-states. In addition, few of our theories – which are based
dominantly on institutional-level analyses and structures that are stable
and rational – provide the guidance needed for policymakers charged with
driving longer term global, national, and regional decisions as well as
addressing the day-to-day and functional operational imperatives of policy.

The issue of socio-political disruption is not just an institutional
phenomenon. As we have seen with anti-immigration sentiment (Chacón, 2016),
citizen tax revolts (Martin, 2008), modern slavery (Crane, 2013), and a host
of other social movements, these issues impact the nature of not just
stakeholder and institutional theory but the actual management and
operations of business. This has arisen not just when CEOs behave badly but
also when there are issues of stakeholder conflict across countries or
questions on the limits of free speech on social media and employment rights
and management of supply chains (e.g., with respect to modern slavery). To
date we have limited theoretical and practical guidance on how to address,
manage, and understand these phenomena in the context of business and
business operations.

Another challenge is that – in many cases – public policy has a direct
bearing on the strategic response options available to business. For
instance, public policy can mitigate or exacerbate socio-political
uncertainty and the impact on business. For this reason, papers that propose
new policy directions for addressing today’s complex challenges are
particularly encouraged. 

As with any set of issues, there are a number of related theories that we as
scholars call on to address the management of socio-political movements and
the implications for policy (Davis et al., 2005), including focusing on
stakeholders (Devinney, 2011; Devinney et al., 2013; Nartey, 2018) and
political institutions (e.g., Murtha & Lenway, 1994; Henisz & Swaminathan,
2008; Tihanyi et al., 2012; Doh et al., 2017). While these theories have
some resonance, they are limited on four dimensions. First, they focus on
the degree to which there is a commonality of purpose that can be found with
respect to stakeholder interests – hence, they avoid issues of stakeholder
conflict, particularly around complex issues, and how this conflict can come
to a head. Second, they operate predominantly in environments where
stakeholders are viewed as having degrees of legitimacy and there is a
non-violent process of arbitration and resolution – hence, they prove less
valuable in autocratic environments in which some stakeholders are declared
illegitimate or in cases where physical violence and intimidation are the
norm. Third, there is a decided lack of acknowledgement of the “sand pile”
nature of socio-political movements and their inherent complexity, in that
long-simmering issues can suddenly explode onto the national scene with
(seemingly) small provocation; understanding this chaotic nature is crucial
for distilling firm and policymaker responses. Finally, existing theories
focus on analysis at a level of abstraction that does not provide either
predictive or normative guidance, treating institutions as black boxes,
equating formal and informal institutions or dismissing the role of informal
institutions, and/or ignoring the role of personalities in galvanizing
movements. In this sense, much of the work is related to what is easily
measured rather than what may be theoretically and practically important.

Hence, we believe there is a need to address these issues via three

*      First, socio-political uncertainty is ultimately manifest in the
behavior/decisions/choices of individuals – e.g., as employees, managers,
consumers, policymakers, and social actors. Hence, it is important to have
more studies that examine behavior/decisions/choices at the individual level
and to examine this across political domains and time. In-depth, historical
case studies, perhaps situated in one country but with resonance across
countries, which are relevant to today’s environment would be particularly
germane. So too would papers utilizing decision theoretic approaches. 

*      Second, by definition socio-political uncertainty operates in complex
environments that exhibit homogeneity and heterogeneity. Hence, studying
socio-political uncertainty also requires comparative analysis to
disassemble the lessons that can be generalized from those that reflect
specific contingencies. Moving beyond comparative capitalism to varieties of
political change and their implications on performance would be critical to
understand the extent to which politics and society interact locally and
globally. Papers that make comparisons between institutional structures,
their utilization by political actors, and natural experiments of policy
initiatives across countries would be valued in this context.

*      Third, the most effective means to build theory in the social
sciences is to triangulate multiple methods simultaneously as a means to
ensure that the development of theory and its subsequent testing is not
simply validating a joint test of theory and method. Hence, it is important
to generate research that looks across levels of analysis to understand the
individual, the organization, the institutional setting, and the larger
global context. Submissions that provide multiple lenses on the phenomenon
being studies will ensure greater confidence in how we might learn and
provide policy advice going forward.

Papers submitted to the special issue could address local, regional, and
global dimensions but should focus on implications of social and political
uncertainty on the nature of policymaking and the impact of these policies
on key stakeholders in business and society. The sorts of questions being
addressed could encompass:

*         How do we understand social and political uncertainty and
turbulence, its dimensions, and their impact on firms, economies, and key

o   What are alternative ways of characterizing and parameterizing
socio-political uncertainty? Are existing characterizations (e.g., Boddewyn,
2016) still appropriate?

o   How are socio-political change and social movements organized, and do
they follow a more business-like approach with tangible goals or a more
passionate, good versus evil narrative (e.g., Dobbin, 2001)? 

o   Companies are increasingly joining social movements aimed at political
and social change (e.g., gun control, immigration, etc.). How does corporate
activism on divisive issues play out across multiple markets? How do
companies pick and choose the issues they support? Are firms simply
responding to material stakeholders or are there larger issues at play? And
how do the personalities of management drive these changes?

o   How do local and global socio-political actors/agents take advantage of
this uncertainty and turbulence? 

o   How does such uncertainty influence policymaking, either directly
(through legislation) or indirectly (through regulatory change or via
implementation of existing regulatory structures)? How does this uncertainty
flow through the policymaking process?

o   What are the thresholds for uncertainty; that is, when does
socio-political uncertainty move from being bounded and when does it become
a phenomenon?

o   What are the economic and business implications of various types of
socio-political uncertainty?

o   What are the implications of such uncertainty on long-term institutional
structure, governance and efficiency/effectiveness?

*         How does this socio-political uncertainty and turbulence impact on
the role of locals versus global players? 

o   In an “us” versus “them” environment, is the liability of foreignness
(Zaheer, 1995) made worse? If so, how is this manifest? How do foreigners
and foreign firms deal with the increased cost of the liability (Salomon,

*         Who takes advantage of this socio-political uncertainty? 

o   What are the implications for global policymaking, MNEs, and local firms
with different local versus global orientations?

*         How do local political and social movements impact on the
globalization agendas of policy makers? 

o   What are the implications for different types of firms? Local versus
foreign MNEs? Born Global firms? Local producers?

o   For FDI inflows and outflows? 

o   In the face of serious questions about the relative benefits of
globalization, are companies considering how their activities increase or
decrease economic inequality in the locations where they operate? How does
this factor, if at all, into business decisions?

*         What is the role of multilateral organizations in this new
reality? To what extent does this uncertainty and turbulence reduce the role
and importance of multilateralism against unilateralism and isolationism?

*         What market and non-market strategies can managers of global and
local firms with an international orientation use when faced with
socio-political uncertainty? How can they mitigate its potential negative
effects (e.g. loss of market share, see King & Soule, 2007).

*         What is the role of culture in influencing responses to
socio-political uncertainty and turbulence? 

o   Do existing theories and methods help us understand and predict the rise
of such uncertainty and turbulence and reactions to it by citizens,
policymakers and business decision makers?

o   How do demographic differences within and between countries (or regions)
explain the attitudes and reactions to socio-political turbulence?

*         What can theories from law, political science, sociology,
psychology, and other disciplines related to international business inform
us about the implications of socio-political uncertainty and turbulence? 

o   How might we integrate these ideas into our existing theories to make
them more parsimonious and relevant to policymakers and businesses?

*         Do our existing viewpoints on institutions and laws help or hinder
our understanding of the impact of socio-political turbulence? How might we
improve these theories in light of new evidence? 

Process Associated with the Special Issue

1 September 2020:  Deadline for full paper submission via the Manuscript
Central portal for JIBP (

June-August 2021: Paper Development Workshop for papers under review for the
special issue after the first round of reviews

1 October 2021: Deadline for submission of last round of SI papers

1 January 2022: Deadline for final acceptance of SI papers to be included in
the SI

March 2022: SI published

The Guest Editors

The guest editors for this Special Issue bring a complementary mix of skills
and backgrounds in terms of (a) proven theoretical and empirical skills in
culture research, and (b) editorial experience. 

Timothy M. Devinney, Professor of International Business at Alliance
Manchester Business School, has significant skills and experience in theory
development, econometric modelling, experimental and questionnaire design.
He has published more than a dozen books and 100 articles in leading
journals including J. International Business Studies, Management Science,
the Journal of Business, The Academy of Management Review, Organization
Science, California Management Review, Management International Review,
Journal of Marketing, Journal of Management, Long Range Planning, Journal of
Business Ethics and the Strategic Management Journal. In 2008 he was the
first (and only) recipient in management of an Alexander von Humboldt
Research Award and was Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellow, and was
elected a Fellow of the Academy of International Business. Timothy also has
extensive editorial experience. He was the co-editor of The Academy of
Management Perspectives, co-editor of the Advances in International
Management series (Emerald Publishers), an Associate Editor of Management
Science and the Director of the International Business & Management Network
of SSRN. He is on the editorial board of more than 12 of the leading
international journals.

Christopher A. Hartwell is Professor of Financial Systems Resilience at
Bournemouth University, Professor of International Management at Kozminski
University in Poland, Visiting Professor at the Russian Presidential Academy
of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), and Fellow and
former President of the Center for Social and Economic Research (CASE) in
Warsaw. A leading scholar on the evolution of economic institutions. Dr.
Hartwell’s interests are in institutional development, especially the
interplay between financial institutions and other political and economic
institutions and how firms deal with institutional volatility. Over his
career, Professor Hartwell has advised governments in Kazakhstan, Armenia,
Russia, Poland, Tonga, Kosovo, and numerous other countries around the
world. Dr. Hartwell holds a PhD in Economics from the Warsaw School of
Economics, a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard, and a BA in Political
Science and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author
of Two Roads Diverge:  The Transition Experience of Poland and Ukraine
(Cambridge University Press, 2016), as well as Institutional Barriers in the
Transition to Market: Examining Performance and Divergence in Transition
Economies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). 

Jennifer Oetzel is the Dean’s Faculty Fellow and Professor of International
Business at American University’s Kogod School of Business. Her research
focuses on understanding how firms manage risk. More specifically, Professor
Oetzel examines how businesses can best manage violent conflict, natural
disasters, and other discontinuous risks and how promoting economic and
social development, and, in some cases peacebuilding, can minimize business
risk and positively contribute to the local/regional community and the
overall business environment. Recent work has appeared in the Strategic
Management Journal, Organization Science, Journal of International Business,
and the Journal of International Business Policy, among other outlets. In
2018 she won the Emerald Literati Award” from Emerald Publishing for a
“Highly Commended" article. In 2015 she won a Best Paper Award at the
Academy of Management Meeting, was a finalist for Haynes Prize for the Most
Promising Scholar at the Award Academy of International Business. She has
been nominated twice at the Strategic Management Society (SMS) for best
paper awards. Professor Oetzel serves also serves on the Editorial Boards
for the Strategic Management Journal, Journal of International Business
Studies, Journal of International Business Policy, Journal of World
Business, and Business & Society, where she was formerly an Associate


Paul M. Vaaler is the John and Bruce Mooty Chair in Law & Business at the
Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Prior to that
he was on the faculty of Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law &
Diplomacy and the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) School of
Business. His research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of
business, law and politics:  understanding long-term performance stability
trends and their competition (antitrust) policy implications for firms in
the US; understanding how migrants from developing countries remit money and
ideas to fund, found and grow new businesses in developing countries with
poor legal infrastructure; and how elections change the attractiveness of
new democracies for lending and investment. Professor Vaaler is the author
and editor of numerous books as well as journal articles published in the
Academy of Management Journal, Economics Letters, Journal of Business
Venturing, Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of
International Management, Journal of International Money and Finance,
Journal of Management Studies, Journal of World Business, Organization
Science, Review of Development Economics, Strategic Management Journal,
Strategy Science, and other academic journals. He serves on the editorial
boards of the Global Strategy Journal and the International Journal of
Strategic Change Management. He is a Senior Editor at Journal of
International Business Policy. He is a Consulting Editor of the Journal of
World Business. He is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Social Science Research
Network Global Business Issues electronic journal. He received his B.A. in
History from Carleton College, his M.A. in Philosophy, Politics and
Economics from Oxford University where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar, his
J.D. from Harvard Law School, and his Ph.D. from the University of



Boddewyn, J. J. 2016. International business-government relations research
1945-2015: Concepts, typologies, theories and methodologies. Journal of
World Business, 51(1): 10-22.

Chacón, J.M. 2016. The 1996 immigration law come of age. Drexel Law Review,
9(2): 297-323.

Crane, A. 2013. Modern slavery as a management practice: Exploring the
conditions and capabilities for human exploitation. Academy of Management
Review, 38(1): 49-69.

Davis, G. F., McAdam, D., Scott, W. R., & Zald, M. N. (Eds.). 2005. Social
movements and organization theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Devinney, T.M. 2011. Social responsibility, global strategy, and the
multinational enterprise: Global monitory democracy and the meaning of place
and space. Global Strategy Journal, 1(3-4): 329-344.

Devinney, T.M., & Hartwell, C.A. 2019. Varieties of populism: The rise of
populism and the challenge for global business strategy. Global Strategy

Devinney, T.M., McGahan, A.M., & Zollo, M. 2013. A research agenda for
global stakeholder strategy. Global Strategy Journal, 3(4): 325-337.

Dobbin, F. 2001. The business of social movements. In J. Goodwin, J. M.
Jasper, & F. Polletta (Eds), Passionate politics: Emotions and social
movements: 74-83. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Doh, J., Rodrigues, S., Saka-Helmhout, A., & Makhija, M. 2017. International
business responses to institutional voids. Journal of International Business
Studies, 48(3): 293-307.

Fukuyama, F. 1992. The End of History and the Last Man. New York: Free

Henisz, W., & Swaminathan, A. 2008. Institutions and international business.
Journal of International Business Studies, 39(4): 537-539.

King, B. G., & Soule, S. A. 2007. Social movements as extra-institutional
entrepreneurs: The effect of protests on stock price returns. Administrative
Science Quarterly, 52(3): 413-442.

Martin, I.W. 2008. The Permanent Tax Revolt: How the Property Tax
Transformed American Politics. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.

Murtha, T.P., & Lenway, S.A. 1994. Country capabilities and the strategic
state: How national political institutions affect multinational
corporations’ strategies. Strategic Management Journal, 15(S2): 113-129.

Nartey, L.J., Henisz, W.J., & Dorobantu, S. 2018. Status climbing vs.
bridging: Multinational stakeholder engagement strategies. Strategy Science,
3(2): 367-392.

Salomon, R. 2018. Global Vision: How Companies Can Overcome the Pitfalls of
Globalization. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan.

Tihany, L., Pedersen, T., & Devinney, T.M. (Eds.) 2012. Institutional Theory
in International Business and Management. Bingley: Emerald Publishing.

Zaheer S. 1995. Overcoming the liability of foreignness. Academy of
Management Journal, 38(2): 341-363.



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