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Call for Papers for a Special Issue




Submission Deadline: 1st March 2021


Guest Editors:

Rose Xiaowei Luo, INSEAD, France

Tazeeb Rajwani, University of Surrey, UK

Pei Sun, University of Manchester, UK

Timothy Werner, University of Texas at Austin, USA


JMS Editor: Jonathan Doh, Villanova University, USA




Management of complex socio-political issues and environments has become a top concern for corporations in the contemporary world. Firms and industries are facing mounting sociopolitical challenges, ranging from grand events that are beyond their control to direct hazards caused by social and political stakeholders with whom they have to interact regularly. A glimpse of the daily business press suggests enormous challenges that corporations need to tackle for their survival and growth: How should multinational enterprises (MNEs) adjust their production facilities in the UK in the face of Brexit uncertainty? How can emerging-market MNEs address their lack of legitimacy in developed economies? How can American firms and their executives manage the demands of social movement activists both old (e.g., civil rights) and new (e.g., #metoo and blacklivesmatter)? What role do MNEs have to play in addressing grand challenges such as climate change and water scarcity? Answers to these questions cannot be readily found in traditional strategy textbooks that focus primarily on market-based competition.


Nonmarket strategy is a firm’s concerted action to improve its competitive position and performance by managing the institutional and/or societal contexts of business competition in which it operates (Mellahi, Frynas, Sun, & Siegel, 2016). It is comprised of two key components: corporate political activity (CPA) and strategic corporate social responsibility (CSR). Modern business firms are engaged in continuous interactions with actors/stakeholders in their home and host country nonmarket environments and thus, are deeply engaged in nonmarket strategy formulation and implementation.


Compared to voluminous research on conventional business strategy, academic inquiries into corporate nonmarket activity were slow to develop, not gathering speed until the 2000s. Topics such as CPA (e.g., lobbying, campaign contributions, and political connections) and strategic CSR (e.g., stakeholder management, sustainability issues, and corporate philanthropy) have received increasing attention from management research outlets over the last two decades (e.g., Luo, Zhang, & Marquis, 2016; McDonnell & Werner, 2016; Sun, Hu, & Hillman, 2016; Wang & Luo, 2019; Werner, 2015). However, an integrative understanding of how firms develop relationships with their socio-political stakeholders and navigate a variety of local, national, and cross-border nonmarket environments is still lacking (Doh, Lawton, & Rajwani, 2012; Lawton, Doh, & Rajwani, 2014; Mellahi et al., 2016; Scherer, Rasche, Palazzo, & Spicer, 2016). This special issue is motivated by the fragmented but burgeoning state of research and aims both to take stock of recent studies on CPA and strategic CSR, as well as to encourage further theory development and empirical inquires in these promising research areas.




This special issue aims to showcase the latest developments in and future directions of research on how firms and corporate executives address, manage, and exploit socio-political issues/environments. Moreover, we hope to extend organizational and strategic perspectives on such firm responses, bringing together two important sub-domains – CPA and strategic CSR – and their interactions.


From the perspective of organization theory, we hope to better understand how institutional contexts can shape different types of corporate nonmarket activities across nations, as well as the potential dark side and unintended consequences of such activities. Further, it is high time that we narrow the micro-macro divide by deepening our understanding of how psychological and ideological aspects of firm leaders affect organization decision-making with regard to socio-political issues (Chin, Hambrick, & Treviņo, 2013; Scherer, Rasche, Palazzo, & Spicer, 2016).


From the perspective of strategic management, we hope to better assess the effectiveness and impact of nonmarket activities on market strategies and firm performance. This entails a deeper analysis of the contingencies both at the macro-institutional level and at the microfoundational level (Lin, Shi, Prescott, & Yang, 2018; Powell, Lovallo, & Fox, 2011; Marquis & Qiao, 2019). Moreover, we hope to promote multilevel investigation by incorporating more micro-level inquiries in nonmarket strategy research.


In sum, the special issue aims to attract cutting-edge theoretical/empirical research that sheds light on the nature, antecedents, management, consequences, and public/private regulation of corporate nonmarket activities. It strives to reveal how corporate nonmarket activities are shaped by institutional, organizational, and individual contexts, and it will critically assess the impact of such activities, including their dark side. We hope that the special issue further strengthens the reputation of JMS in publishing pioneering research on the interplay between business and society around the world (Arya & Zhang, 2009; den Hond, Rehbein, de Bakker, & Lankveld, 2014; Janney & Gove, 2011; Jia, Xiang, & Zhang, 2019; Keig, Brouthers, & Marshall, 2015; McWilliams, Siegel, & Wright, 2006; McWilliams, van Fleet, & Cory, 2002; Marano & Kostova, 2016; Mena, & Waeger, 2014; Okhmatovskiy, I. 2010; Scherer & Palazzo, 2011; Sun, Mellahi, Wright, & Xu, 2015; Tang, Hull, & Rothenberg, 2012).




The topics below provide an indicative, but non-exhaustive, list of questions that can be tackled through conceptual, quantitative, qualitative, or mixed method approaches, drawing on a variety of theoretical lenses and paradigms.








Prof. Tazeeb S. Rajwani

Professor of International Business and Strategy

Surrey Business School, University of Surrey


Associate Editor, Journal of International Management

Associate Editor, Multinational Business Review

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Rik Medlik Building, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, UK


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