Special Issue of the Journal of International Business Studies







Special Issue Editors:


·         V. Kumar (Indian School of Business, India, [log in to unmask])

·         Saeed Samiee (Tulsa University, USA, [log in to unmask])

·         Bettina Cornwell, University of Oregon, USA, [log in to unmask])

·         Constantine Katsikeas, University of Leeds, UK, [log in to unmask])


Deadline for submission: July 30, 2021




The focus of this Special Issue is on Business Model Innovations (BMI) in a Disruptive Global Environment, from an International Marketing perspective. This call invites manuscripts dealing with a wide range of topics that fall into BMI across firms (including firms’ responses to the need of the time) and across geographies, and that are shaping the BMI literature. International Business (IB) is inherently a multidisciplinary field and this call for papers emphasizes BMI through the marketing lens in the context of the global business environment. Further, the world has been facing a constant challenge in the form of disruptive business environments. Disruptions are taking the form of new technologies, new data, health pandemics, new markets (developed vs emerging), unexpected impacts of cultural and economic differences, new distribution channels, new competitive structures, infrastructure redesign, new products/services, and changes in buyer-supplier relationships that create new or transformed business processes, and new business models.  Thus, the focus of this special issue is at the intersection of business model innovations and the disruptive environment in the context of a globalizing business arena.


Many globally oriented businesses follow processes whereby developed market firms do business in emerging markets, capitalize on the innovative potential therein, reap the benefits (and sometimes costs) of bringing reverse innovations back to developed markets, and, finally, continually refine and optimize their innovation strategies (Kumar & Srivastava, 2020, Papanastassiou, Pearce, & Zanfei, 2020). Moreover, emerging market multinational enterprises (EMNEs) are changing business processes to overcome difficulties and extending their footprints in developed markets. Across diverse emerging economies such as Brazil, China, and India, firms have had to contend with large-scale changes in consumer preferences as the direct result of technological and sociocultural upheavals (Leonidou, Katsikeas, Samiee, & Aykol, 2018). In the wake of these developments, the innovation potential of emerging markets has never been more promising, and the need for the marketing discipline needed to address the managerial realities of marketing in emerging economies has never been greater (Kumar, 2014). Consequently, the responsibility of marketing researchers and academics to pave the way for a new and more comprehensive understanding of emerging market contexts has become more pressing in recent years. With an increasing number of MNEs seeking to do business in emerging economies, the stakeholders who stand to benefit from such an updated understanding are manifold. Examples of business model innovations include Base-of-Pyramid (BoP) innovation processes (Sinkovics, Sinkovics, & Yamin, 2014), Grassroots Innovation (GRI) processes (Gupta, 2019), Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies, and the role of employees in open innovation. Business model innovation can also include changes in design of buyer-supplier relationships, changes in the value chain, changes in firms’ decisions of TMT selection, changes in managing sustainability strategies such as reductions in carbon emissions (greenhouse gasses), changes in the firms’ innovation management across their buyers and suppliers (e.g., network level innovation) (Sharma, Pathak, Borah, & Adhikary, 2019) that may affect international business performance and/or internationalization.


Likewise, the orchestration of cross-border business relationships is being disrupted. While expectations of reliability and relational closeness mitigate uncertainty about a partner’s behavior, they can limit the cognitive efforts of partners to reduce external environmental uncertainty. Still, with a gradually changing environment or with turbulent but restricted-scope changes, relationship quality can at least stimulate supply partnerships into making adjustments to become more efficient and equitable.  High-quality relationships that have been built up over many years are likely to struggle to detect, and adjust to, large-scale changes brought about by business model innovations, digital disruption, and sociocultural upheaval (Kumar, 2019). Against this backdrop, established models of cross-border partnering need to be re-evaluated and extended. At a broader level, disruptions to established global exchange rules (e.g., due to trade wars) and deglobalization sentiments (e.g., due to political populism) (Tung & Stahl, 2018) necessitate the use of innovative strategies and models of establishing, growing, and maintaining relationships with stakeholders in overseas markets (Turkina & Van Assche, 2018).


Significant interest in, and focus on, scholarly research in BMI began to intensify during the 1990s with the advent of the internet and later on with the onset of technological advances.  These forces generated data in a way that no one could imagine.  A 360-degree view of data became possible and companies were able to evaluate the success/failure of their business models. Thus, over the last three decades we have seen the demise of Blockbuster Video and Red Box with the emergence of video streaming (Netflix).  Cable Television paving the way for Streaming services (e.g., Hulu, Disney plus, YouTube). Similarly, offline retailers (e.g., Circuit City, CompUSA) disappeared with the onset of online businesses (e.g., Alibaba, Amazon, Flipkart).  Taxi and Limo services, and rental car businesses are on the decline with the entry of ridesharing companies (e.g., Uber, Lyft). Payment systems have changed to digital modes faster in emerging markets than in developed markets due to leapfrogging behavior (Kumar, Nim and Agarwal (forthcoming). Similarly, growing born digital firms (Monaghan, Tippmann, & Coviello, 2020) present new challenges and opportunities.


Most IB theories have focused on understanding physical flows of goods and services (Nambisan, Zahra, & Luo, 2019) and on well-defined flows of intangibles, such as R&D outcomes and brand names (the transfer of intangible, intermediate outputs constituting the essence of modern IB theory, since Buckley & Casson, 1976 and Rugman, 1981)   However, disruptions such as Covid-19 have led multiple firms to shift their focus toward managing platform ecosystems. This change is also coupled with emergence of new technologies such as 3D printing. For example, HP produced multiple medical components such as masks, face shields, ventilator components as well as personal accessories using 3D printing.[1] However, questions such as how platform ecosystems will evolve and how global value chains will change, remain largely unexplored (Laplume, Petersen, & Pearce, 2016). There have been recent  attempts to adopt conventional IB theories such as internalization theory in digital settings (Banalieva & Dhanaraj, 2019), but this is not as easy as would appear on the surface (Hennart, 2019). Research in this stream may explore the role of multiple stakeholders such as customers, top management teams, and specifically the chief marketing officer (CMO) (Li, Frederick, & Gereffi, 2019, Li, Chen, Yi, Mao, & Liao, 2019, Nambisan, Zahra, & Luo, 2019), as well as value chain partners in collaborating in the digital world, thereby leading to BMI in general, and network driven innovation specifically. 


Finally, while multiple aspects of BMI have been discussed, the focus of the literature has mainly been on lead firms. This issue is probably not surprising as much of the research in global value chains has focused on lead firms (Kano, Tsang, & Yeung, 2020). However, as firms start operating in a constellation of relationships (Cuypers, Ertug, Cantwell, Zaheer, & Kilduff, 2020), research must move beyond value creation and capture mechanisms by the lead firm. Specially, looking at disruptions, there is a need to understand whether it is feasible to create business models beneficial for each member of the constellation. As the recent Covid-19 crisis has taught us, innovations probably will not be fully developed and controlled by the lead firm but rather co-created with other members of the ecosystem. There is a greater need to understand how these lead firms are revisiting their business models and constellations of relationships, which may in in turn help each member of the constellation to innovate.


Given the lack of full coverage of the proposed topics in the IB literature, this special issue will bring together insights from various perspectives, including a wide spectrum of types of products, markets, disruptions and customer segments served (Gupta, Pansari, & Kumar, 2018). The prospective research for the special issue may include topics that show: (a) the effect of new key variables on BMI; (b) changes in BMI (e.g., changes in buyer-supplier relationships) affecting firms’ performance at the global level or firms’ strategic initiatives; (c) changes in BMI that may augment extant IB and international marketing theory. Thus, this Special Issue is intended to motivate and encourage scholars to focus on developing research projects integrating two themes –BMI and Disruptive Environment.



Special Issue Scope


·         Focus on the origin of innovations such as whether they are firm initiated, customer initiated or community initiated.


·         Focus on the relationship between global brand positioning and business model innovations, customer engagement and/or stakeholder engagement.


·         Focus on the BOP segments-based innovations such as grassroots innovation, social innovation, and reverse innovation from emerging markets, and the ability to bring it to  developed markets.


·         Innovations related to products, pricing, promotion, advertising, selling, and digital marketing.


·         Comparing the process and functioning of BMI in a B2B versus B2C context.


·         The nature of competition in a disruptive environment, and how firms overcome the global challenges to succeed.


·         The evolution of interorganizational partnerships into new forms, structures, and constellations that can accommodate major headwinds and disruptions in foreign markets.


·         The use of digital routes to international markets and when and how to leverage these alongside, or in place of, traditional modes.


·         The phenomenon of exporters and other internationalizing firms overcoming disruptive environments by gathering and using new intelligence and learning styles, which lessen their reliance on traditional overseas relationships.


·         The need to find new ways to build legitimacy among, and establish productive relationships with, foreign-market stakeholders, against a backdrop of deglobalization, protectionism, and inter-country tensions.


·         How do firms operating in platform economies create a culture of innovation and creativity? What is the role played by customers and the chief marketing officer in developing these relationships?


·         What are the major changes in marketing strategy through business model innovation? How do consumers as well as employees react to business model innovation?


·         How do firms configure the value chain to make the entire value chain more innovative?


·         How do disruptions in the value chain influence business model innovations?


·         What is the customer role in disruption and use of disruptive practices, technologies or products? Under what conditions do customers favor the adoption of disruptive technologies and/or products?


·         How do disruptive political leaders and societal movements affect BMI across both emerging and developed markets?




Review and Submission Processes


As Guest Editors, we will take an active role in interacting with authors throughout the submission period. As such, we welcome substantive inquiries regarding the Special Issue to provide insights that may be useful in developing or improving manuscripts. Please do not hesitate to contact any of the Guest Editors if you have questions on the relevance of the topics for this special issue. All manuscripts for the Special Issue will be reviewed as a cohort, and the Guest Editors will make joint decisions in this process.


Accordingly, we request that authors submit their manuscripts between July 15, 2021 and July 30, 2021, at All submissions will go through the JIBS regular double-blind review process and follow the standard norms and processes. For more information about this call for papers, please contact the JIBS Managing Editor ([log in to unmask]).




Banalieva, E. R. & Dhanaraj, C. 2019. Internalization theory for the digital economy. Journal of International Business Studies, 50(8): 1372-87.

Buckley, P. J., & Casson, M. 1976. Future of the Multinational Enterprise. New York: Holmes & Meier


Cuypers, I. R., Ertug, G., Cantwell, J., Zaheer, A., & Kilduff, M. 2020. Making connections: Social networks in international business: Springer.

Gupta, S. 2019. Understanding the feasibility and value of grassroots innovation. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science: 1-25.

Gupta, S., Pansari, A., & Kumar, V. 2018. Global customer engagement. Journal of International Marketing, 26(1): 4-29.

Hennart, J. F. 2019. Digitalized service multinationals and international business theory. Journal of International Business Studies, 50(8), 1388-1400.


Kano, L., Tsang, E. W., & Yeung, H. W. 2020. Global value chains: A review of the multi-disciplinary literature. Journal of International Business Studies, 51:577–622.

Kumar, V. 2019. Global implications of cause-related loyalty marketing. International Marketing Review.

Kumar, V. 2014. Understanding cultural differences in innovation: A conceptual framework and future research directions. Journal of International Marketing, 22(3): 1-29.

Kumar, V. & Srivastava, R. 2020. New perspectives on business model innovations in emerging markets: Springer.

Kumar, V., Nandini N., & Agarwal, A. 2020. Platform-based mobile payments adoption in emerging and developed countries: Role of country-level heterogeneity and network effects. Journal of International Business Studies, 1-30.

Laplume, A. O., Petersen, B., & Pearce, J. M. 2016. Global value chains from a 3D printing perspective. Journal of International Business Studies, 47(5): 595-609.

Leonidou, L. C., Katsikeas, C. S., Samiee, S., & Aykol, B. 2018. International marketing research: A state-of-the-art review and the way forward, Advances in global marketing: Springer.

Li, F., Frederick, S., & Gereffi, G. 2019. E-commerce and industrial upgrading in the Chinese apparel value chain. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 49(1): 24-53.

Li, J., Chen, L., Yi, J., Mao, J., & Liao, J. 2019. Ecosystem-specific advantages in international digital commerce. Journal of International Business Studies, 50(9): 1448-63.

Monaghan, S., Tippmann, E., & Coviello, N. 2020. Born digitals: Thoughts on their internationalization and a research agenda. Journal of International Business Studies, 51(1): 11-22.

Nambisan, S., Zahra, S. A., & Luo, Y. 2019. Global platforms and ecosystems: Implications for international business theories. Journal of International Business Studies, 50(9): 1464-86.

Papanastassiou, M., Pearce, R., & Zanfei, A. 2020. Changing perspectives on the internationalization of R&D and innovation by multinational enterprises: A review of the literature. Journal of International Business Studies, 51: 623–664.

Rugman, A. 1981.  Inside the Multinationals.  London: Croom Helm.

Sharma, A., Pathak, S., Borah, S. B., & Adhikary, A. 2019. Is it too complex? The curious case of supply network complexity and focal firm innovation. Journal of Operations Management.

Sinkovics, N., Sinkovics, R. R., & Yamin, M. 2014. The role of social value creation in business model formulation at the bottom of the pyramid–implications for MNEs? International Business Review, 23(4): 692-707.

Tung, R. L. & Stahl, G. K. 2018. The tortuous evolution of the role of culture in IB research: What we know, what we don’t know, and where we are headed. Journal of International Business Studies, 49(9): 1167-89.

Turkina, E. & Van Assche, A. 2018. Global connectedness and local innovation in industrial clusters. Journal of International Business Studies, 49(6): 706-28.




About the Guest Editors


V. Kumar (VK) is a Distinguished Term Professor, and Senior Fellow, Indian School of Business, India. VK is also honored as the Distinguished Fellow, MICA, India. Email: [log in to unmask].  VK also serves as the Consulting Editor of JIBS; Departmental Editor of POM; and as a Guest Editor and/or the Associate Editor for many scholarly journals in marketing and related disciplines.


Saeed Samiee is the Collins Professor of Marketing and International Business at the University of Tulsa. He is an Area Editor for JIBS and Associate Editor for marketing and international business for Decision Sciences Journal. He is the recipient of the 2017 Significant Contributions to Global Marketing Award by the Global Marketing SIG of the American Marketing Association.


T. Bettina Cornwell is the Phillip H. Knight Chair and Professor of Marketing, at the Lundquist College of Business, University of Oregon. She is also Head of the department of marketing. She was named Thomas C. Stewart Distinguished Professor, the Lundquist College’s highest faculty honor in 2016.


Constantine S. Katsikeas is the Arnold Ziff Research Chair and Professor of Marketing and International Management at Leeds University Business School (LUBS), University of Leeds. He is also the Director of Global and Strategic Marketing Research Centre at LUBS and serves as the Area Editor for JIBS, and Associate editor for Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. He has also served as the Editor-in-Chief for Journal of International Marketing.







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