Dear Colleagues,

Please find the call for this Special Issue in Journal of Business Research attached. The submission window is approaching.


Managing the Indian Way: Past, Present, and Future

Guest Editors
Dr. Debmalya Mukherjee, University of Akron, USA
Dr. Chinmay Pattnaik, University of Sydney, Australia
Dr. Satish Kumar, Malaviya National Institute of Technology, India

Submission window: November 1 - December 31, 2020

Submission deadline: December 31, 2020

India is the 3rd largest economy (PPP), second most populous country, and the largest democracy in the world. The success of Indian businesses in domestic and global market has reinvigorated interest among business scholars to understand the uniqueness of Indian business and management. The interest to understand Indian approaches to management is quite old with its trade with Roman Empire. For instance, while commenting on the impact of India¡¯s spice and precious gems trade with ancient Rome, almost 2000 years ago, Pliny the elder lamented that the Roman Empire was spending too much gold in its trade with India commending the skills of Indian merchants. Famous Chinese travelers Faxian (4th century) and Hieun Tsang¡¯s (7th century, also known as Xuanzang in China) ethnographic travelogues provide rich description of India¡¯s trade engagement with the contemporary world and rich business heritage. The emergence of Taxila (515 B.C.E) and Nalanda (500 C.E) universities as premier learning centers in the Asia pacific and other scientific advancements (such as the usage of the number ¡°zero¡± and the modern ¡°Numeral system¡±) had cemented India¡¯s place as a major hub of learning and scientific innovation in the ancient world.

This interest continued with the study of Indian traditions or Indology, as a topic, revitalized in Europe through the works of German philosophers such as Max Mueller and Schopenhauer whose works were profoundly influenced by the ancient Indian Sanskrit texts such as Vedas and Upanishads. However, the decline in trade and commerce during the medieval period, British colonization, and subsequent restrictions on business activities after independence (also known as ¡°License Raj¡±) through myriads of regulations witnessed decline in India¡¯s economic output and led to eventual waning of interest on India.

However, the understanding of contemporary India is important for two crucial reasons. First, because of the stature of India in the world¡¯s economy, inbound and outbound FDI are estimated to grow in the foreseeable future. The continuous growth has necessitated incumbent MNCs or that are eyeing the Indian market to establish a closer understanding of the pluralistic structure of its society. Such an understanding should help these MNCs to better organize their strategic, operational, as well as human resource architecture in India. India¡¯s religious (home to seven major religions), ethnic, societal (multiple castes, income inequality, collectivistic family structures), political (multiple political ideologies and parties) and linguistic (multiple languages and dialects) diversities shape the macro-context for strategic decisions at the individual, organizational, and inter-organizational levels. Additionally, the diversity of the competitive environment consisting of state owned enterprises (SOEs), family owned business groups, entrepreneurial start-up firms in the high-tech industries, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) both in the formal and informal sectors, demonstrates the strategic challenges as well as opportunities for the businesses. Second, the expansion of Indian companies and the diaspora in different parts of the world will also necessitate an improved understanding of their dynamics in the host countries. For instance, cross-border acquisition as an international expansion strategy or the utilization of an optimal mix of parent and host country nationals to manage foreign operations may suggest a uniquely Indian way of managing global operation. However, research exploring India¡¯s rich contextual idiosyncrasies is very limited (Khanna, 2009). Most studies in this realm have tested existing theories in an Indian setting, ignoring the rich theory building opportunities. Moreover, most IB/management studies have also neglected India¡¯s pluralistic setting and have largely treated it as a monolithic setting.

The current academic interest in India followed from the liberalization of its economy in 1991. The renewed interest has spawned three broad streams of literature. The first stream of studies attempted to understand the dynamics of the different organizational forms (e.g., business groups), firm scope, and performance issues in the backdrop of sweeping pro-market reforms (e.g., Khanna & Palepu, 1997; Khanna & Rivkin, 2001; Pattnaik, Gaur, Lu, 2018). The second stream was closely related to the surge in international outsourcing, where scholars tried to better understand the location-specific and specialized firm capabilities of Indian outsourcing service providers (e.g. Kedia & Mukherjee, 2009). Finally, the third stream of literature examining FDI, in and out of India has largely focused on the institutional and firm-level factors in determining firm behavior (e.g., Gaur & Kumar, 2009; Elango & Pattnaik, 2007; Scalera, Mukherjee, & Piscitello, 2018).

At this juncture, it is important to note that these three strands of literature have collectively shed light on some important unique contextual practices. For instance, the concept of ¡°Jugaad¡± innovation (Prabhu & Jain, 2015), double helix model in the context of the ¡°Make in India¡± initiative (Mudambi, Saranga, & Schotter, 2017), or Rao & Dutta (2012) and Dutta and Rao (2015) that used data from sepoy mutiny to examine ¡°free spaces as organizational weapons¡± are great examples of new theory building or existing theory extension using the India context. Thus, while all three streams have generated crucial insights in fortifying our understanding of the Indian context (Contractor, Kumar, & Dhanaraj, 2015; Chittoor & Aulakh, 2015), it is important to take a step back and better understand the micro-foundations of these macro-micro linkages that are hidden in India¡¯s unique history and the evolution of its philosophical, socio-political, as well as institutional traditions. It is well established that institutions shape firm-level strategic choices (Ingram & Silverman, 2002; Wright, Filatotchev, Hoskisson & Peng, 2005); and in general IB research is missing out on important opportunities in understanding context-specific theory building and empirical examinations (Delios, 2017). This sentiment has echoed in the works of Hoskisson and his colleagues who have called for more fine-grained studies to better understand the heterogeneous nature of the specific emerging economies (Hoskisson et al., 2013).

Accordingly, we solicit theoretical and empirical (quantitative and qualitative) manuscripts (preferably cross-disciplinary) that further our knowledge of India¡¯s contextual idiosyncrasies and examine unique concepts that would aid in new theory development and extensions of existing theories. The following is an illustrative (but not exhaustive) list of questions that the contributing authors may find helpful.

  1.  How do India¡¯s history and specific historical events (e.g., colonization, independence, partition, economic liberalization, changes in government) shape its country-level advantages (or disadvantages) and industry and firm dynamics?
  2.  What are the micro-foundations of India¡¯s diversity in terms of politics, society, and culture? How do such factors shape India¡¯s institutions and subsequent firm behavior?
  3.  What role do Indian philosophy and religions, and their fundamental tenets in the Indian sub-continent (Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, and Zoroastrianism ) play in shaping organizational and managerial behavior?
  4.  How do these values and beliefs affect firm-level HR, corporate governance, innovation, CSR, and knowledge management practices and managerial choices?
  5.  What role do the inter and intra-regional differences within India (e.g., politics, level of economic development, and culture) play in shaping firm behavior? What are the sources of such inter and intra-regional differences?
  6.  What are the nuances and implications of different government led initiatives including ¡®Make in India¡¯ and ¡®Digital India¡¯? How do they relate to the country¡¯s current manufacturing and service activities?
  7.  What is the process of knowledge creation and innovation practices of Indian firms¡¯? What are the new theory building opportunities in this area? Does ancient knowledge management practices play a role in shaping the firm-level knowledge management practices?
  8.  How do the current national and state level policies in India affect new industry creation and outward FDI? What implications do they have for inward-FDI?
  9.  What are the approaches Indian firms adopt to resolve grand challenges like, poverty, income equality, gender diversity etc.?
  10. What are the innovative practices Indian firms adopt to address the issues in the Bottom of the Pyramid segment? What can MNCs learn from such practices?
  11. What are the unique aspects of Indian firm¡¯s internationalization endeavors? How do such unique aspects enrich existing IB/organizational/economic theories?
  12. What new insights can we gain from comparing Indian business practices with those of other emerging and advanced economies? What do such insights mean for new theory building?


Chittoor, R & Aulakh, P.S (2015). Organizational landscape in India: Historical development, multiplicity of forms and implications for practice and research. Long Range Planning, 48 (5), 291-300

Contractor, F. J., Kumar, V., & Dhanaraj, C. (2015). Leveraging India: Global interconnectedness and locational competitive advantage. Management International Review, 55(2), 159-179.

Cuervo©\Cazurra, A., Mudambi, R., & Pedersen, T. (2019). Clarifying the relationships between institutions and global strategy. Global Strategy Journal, 9(2), 151-175.

Delios, A. (2017). The death and rebirth (?) of international business research. Journal of Management Studies, 54(3), 391-397.

Dutta, S., & Rao, H. (2015). Infectious diseases, contamination rumors and ethnic violence: Regimental mutinies in the Bengal Native Army in 1857 India. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 129, 36-47.

Elango, B. and Pattnaik, C. (2007). Building capabilities for international operations through networks: A study of Indian firms¡¯. Journal of International Business Studies, 38, 541¨C555.

Gaur, A. S., & Kumar, V. (2009). International diversification, business group affiliation and firm performance: Empirical evidence from India. British Journal of Management, 20(2), 172-186.

Hoskisson, R. E., Wright, M., Filatotchev, I., & Peng, M. W. (2013). Emerging multinationals from mid©\range economies: The influence of institutions and factor markets. Journal of Management Studies, 50(7), 1295-1321.

Ingram, P., & Silverman, B. (2002). Introduction. In P. Ingram & B. Silverman (Eds.), The new institutionalism in strategic management 1-30. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Kedia, B. L., & Mukherjee, D. (2009). Understanding offshoring: A research framework based on disintegration, location and externalization advantages. Journal of World Business, 44(3), 250-261.

Khanna, T., & Palepu, K. (1997). Why focused strategies may be wrong for emerging markets. Harvard Business Review, 75(4), 41-43.

Khanna, T., & Rivkin, J. W. (2001). Estimating the performance effects of business groups in emerging markets. Strategic Management Journal, 22(1), 45-74.

Khanna, T. (2009). Learning from economic experiments in China and India. Academy of Management Perspectives, 23(2), 36-43.

Meyer, K. E., Mudambi, R., & Narula, R. (2011). Multinational enterprises and local contexts: The opportunities and challenges of multiple embeddedness. Journal of Management Studies, 48(2), 235-252.

Mudambi, R., Saranga, H., & Schotter, A. (2017). Mastering the make-in-India challenge. MIT Sloan Management Review, 58(4), 59-66.

Pattnaik, C., Lu, Q. & Gaur, A.S. (2018). Group affiliation and entry barriers: The dark side of business groups in emerging markets. Journal of Business Ethics, 153, 1051.

Prabhu, J., & Jain, S. (2015). Innovation and entrepreneurship in India: Understanding ¡°jugaad.¡± Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 32(4), 843-868.

Rao, H., & Dutta, S. (2012). Free spaces as organizational weapons of the weak: Religious festivals and regimental mutinies in the 1857 Bengal Native Army. Administrative Science Quarterly, 57(4), 625-668.

Scalera, V. G., Mukherjee, D., & Piscitello, L. (2020). Ownership strategies in knowledge-intensive cross-border acquisitions: Comparing Chinese and Indian MNEs. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 1-31.

Wright, M., Filatotchev, I., Hoskisson, R. E. and Peng, M. W. (2005). ¡®Strategy research in emerging economies: challenging the conventional wisdom¡¯. Journal of Management Studies, 42, 1¨C33

Debmalya Mukherjee, PhD
Professor of Management
College of Business Administration
The University of Akron
Email: [log in to unmask]

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