EIBA 2020 Workshop

Societally Engaged International Business: Taking Stock and Moving Forward

critical perspectives on international business (cpoib)

10.00 am - 12.00 pm (Berlin, UTC +1), 12 December 2020

Submission Deadline: 2 November 2020


Christoph Dörrenbächer, co-editor in chief cpoib, (HWR Berlin, DE) [log in to unmask]

Rudolf R. Sinkovics, co-editor in chief cpoib, (U Auckland, NZ) [log in to unmask]

James Faulconbridge (U Lancaster, UK)

Zaheer Khan (U Aberdeen, UK)

Snejina Michailova (tbc; U Auckland, NZ)

Noemi Sinkovics (U Auckland, NZ)

Relevance of the proposed workshop to EIBA and objectives

Responding to the rapidly growing concerns with sustainability and social responsiveness of international business activities (Kourula, Pisani, and Kolk 2017; Tulder, Verbeke, and Strange 2014), this workshop aims to map the state of the art of societally engaged international business research. The workshop is designed, (1) to foster the community of researchers interested in this field of research, (2) to develop a programmatic perspective for research in this field and (3) to give feedback to authors who intend to submit a paper, a paper idea or a special issue proposal to cpoib or other publication outlets which promote work within the broad remits of societally engaged international business research.

The workshop is set up in two parts, (1) an opening plenary panel discussion (45 minutes, open forum), highlighting exemplars of societally engaged IB and (2) breakout room discussions (by invitation only) with the organizers and panellists of the workshop.

Part I – Opening plenary on societally engaged IB

The panel discussion (from 10.00 to 10.45) introduces the agenda of societally engaged IB. This entails a discussion as to how societally engaged IB responds to claims regarding the ‘future of IB’ and its contribution to global challenges and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Drawing on research published in cpoib, the panel will provide reflections and guidance for prospective readers, authors and guest-editors.

·         Christoph Dörrenbächer (HWR Berlin, DE): Moving towards programmatic, societally engaged IB research

·         Elisa Giuliani (U Pisa, IT): Human rights and forced labour in IB

·         Rob van Tulder (U Erasmus, NL): Principles of sustainable business – challenges, approaches and opportunities

·         Rudolf R Sinkovics (U Auckland, NZ): The dark sides of social media – Implications for IB?

Part II – Breakout workshop sessions – Organization and background

We will provide specific breakout rooms for discussion and feedback of paper and special issue projects in particular streams:

a)       projects which are at conceptualization stage and where authors are interested in obtaining feedback regarding framing and positioning for submission,

b)      projects from junior authors or junior faculty members who have not previously published in cpoib or other journals open to societally engaged IB work and who wish to share early drafts of their papers, and

c)       projects which are close to submission and where authors seek input to align their manuscripts closely to the editorial policy


Societally engaged international business research aims to extend IB theory, methods and research findings by addressing the specific political, economic, societal and environmental impact of IB activities. It is concerned with uneven power structures in the global economy, in and between MNCs as well as between MNCs and their stakeholders (for more details see Dörrenbächer and Michailova (2019), )


Possible topics and research questions include, but are not limited to:

·         IB and the Sustainable Development Goals: How can MNCs and other actors in global production networks engage constructively with the UN Agenda 2030?

·         IB and the environment: Does IB contribute to or reduce environmental challenges and global warming? Is renewable energy a sustainable international business? What are the dark sides of global recycling and waste disposal? How effective are MNCs’ sustainability strategies, and what is greenwashing?

·         IB and the political and cultural heritage: What is the role of MNCs to the increasing commodification and globalization of every aspect of social and cultural life? How do IB activities influence education and private lives? How do postcolonial structures affect value creation and distribution in global value chains?

·         IB and global inequalities: Are MNCs contributing to or alleviating global inequality? What is the role global oligarchies and oligopolies to inequality?

·         IB and global poverty: How can IB tackle unmet needs and include marginalized communities in the global north and south in consumption?

·         IB and human rights: What is the role of MNCs regarding modern slavery? How can MNCs secure a slavery free value chain? What impact do MNCs have in political diplomacy or humanitarian action on human rights?

·         IB and corporate misbehaviour: What constitutes MNCs’ illegal and immoral activities? What is the anatomy of corporate scandals? What are international aspects of corruption, trade in arms tax evasion policies etc.? How should we conceptualize and research international criminal activity and the role of MNCs, e.g. people trafficking, sex tourism, drugs, trade in protected species, illegal, blood minerals, piracy, the black market etc.

·         IB and workplace democracy: To what extend do MNCs practice equality and diversity in their daily operations, e.g. concerning, gender, race, age and sexual identity? What are industrial relations strategies of MNCs? To what extent do MNCs draw on precarious or slavery work?

·         IB and future generations: To what extent do current IB activities include the concerns of future generations? What are long-term perspectives and images of the future, MNCs base their current activities on?

·         IB and the military industrial complex: What is the role of internationally active private military contractors, suppliers etc. What are new forms of international military activity and security services? What are patterns and effects of international trade in arms?

·         IB and cross-border media and social media business: What are dark sides of new international social media services, e.g. issues of privacy, data security, espionage, computer, smartphone and social media addiction? What is the role of social media in corporate misbehaviour? How is social media modifying power relations between MNCs and stakeholders?


Organizational issues and deadlines

·         Discussions and feedback during the workshop will offer feedback regarding the formulation of a forward-looking research agenda for societally engaged international business, e.g. a proposal for a conceptual or review paper or a special issue proposal.

·         The workshop designed to support colleagues who have a paper idea, or wish to submit a paper to cpoib that falls within the broad empirical remits discussed above.

·         Depending on the type of submissions, we will be able to provide high quality feedback to 10-15 papers/proposals/ideas.

·         Feedback will be adapted to the type and the developmental stage of the proposal submitted. Feedback will not bind editorial decisions on manuscripts or special issue proposals subsequently submitted.

·         Submission deadline for the Workshop is November, 2. Notification about acceptance is November, 9. All workshop participants need to register for the EIBA online 2020 conference. You will need to confirm participation by 15 November, which is the early-bird registration deadline for the conference.

·         To apply to the workshop, please submit your proposal, paper idea or full manuscript using this link  (deadline: Monday 2 November 2020). Please indicate the type of submission (a) Special issue proposal (approx. 1000-2000 words) (b) paper idea (1000 – 2000 words) or (c) full paper (7.000-10.000 words). Follow the cpoib guide for authors and use the following file naming conventions for your uploads: cpoibpdw_lastname_firstname_typeofsubmissionletter.docx (or pdf)



Dörrenbächer, Christoph and Snejina Michailova (2019), "Editorial - societally engaged, critical international business research: A programmatic view on the role and contribution of cpoib," critical perspectives on international business, 15 (2/3), 110-118. doi:10.1108/cpoib-05-2019-103

Kourula, Arno, Niccolò Pisani, and Ans Kolk (2017), "Corporate sustainability and inclusive development: Highlights from international business and management research," Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 24, 14-18. doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2017.01.003

Tulder, Rob van, Alain Verbeke, and Roger Strange Eds. (2014), International business and sustainable development. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited doi:10.1108/S1745-8862(2013)0000008015


Link to pdf @



Prof Dr Rudolf R Sinkovics  |  Professor of International Business - The University of Auckland, NZ  |  Visiting Professor - Lappeenranta University of Technology, FI | Co-editor-in-chief, cpoib, | Consulting-editor, JWB, | skype: rudolf.sinkovics | [log in to unmask]   | PGP ID: C3CB5D3961D5CFD2  | | | Responsible business @ Auckland


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