Special Issue: MNCs and (de)globalization: New paradigm for emerging markets

Guest Editor

Dr. Andrei Panibratov, Professor, St. Petersburg State University, Russia.  Email: [log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]


Background to the topic

Trade disputes and political tensions between countries have evoked concerns of scholars about the ongoing deglobalization that has been actively problematized since the end of the 2010s (Witt, 2019; Tung & Stahl, 2018). The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated the pace of this phenomenon, leading to new restrictions on mobility and disruptions in value chains (Delios et al., 2021). While many scholars expect greater risk aversion, protectionism, and nationalism to become a paradigm for national economies and for multinational companies (MNCs) (Fontaine, 2020; Abdelal, 2020; Young, 2020), others oppose the assumption that the foundations of globalization have not eroded, and the post-pandemic world will need even greater globalization. This point is based on the idea that now and for a long time to come, the world will be fragmented and unequal, and international firms will exist as bridges connecting the fragmented reality (Contractor, 2021). There is also a third point of view, according to which the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic will result in both globalization of labor and deglobalization of capital (Brakman et al., 2021).

Deglobalization, political turmoil and the Covid-19 consequences lead to disruptive and far-reaching changes in the social, political and technological environment (Panibratov, 2020). If these changes evoke qualitative shifts in international business, companies, as well as institutions and industries, will likely have to adapt (Witt et al., 2021). One of the possible consequences may be a revision of Buckley’s “Global factory” concept, and the choice of value chain and governance mode that result from this revision. These choices involve relocation, reshoring and nearshoring, and the strategic response here is to cover the contingencies and time horizons that shape these choices (Witt et al., 2021).

As part of the dynamic reassessment, relocation and reorganization of activities, divestment is one of the possible strategic decisions of firms in response to the (de)globalization-related uncertainty and turmoil (Arte & Larimo, 2019; Dachs et al., 2019). IB scholars have studied companies’ divestment strategy as an essential part of their (de)internationalization strategy when placed in an unfavorable environment (Panibratov & Brown, 2018), using the example of the behavior of Japanese and Korean firms when leaving China under the impact of the trade war (Chung et al., 2019; Trencher et al. 2020) or Western MNCs continually divesting from Russia due to economic sanctions applied by the US and EU governments.

The question that remains open is whether in the coming years firms will retract MNCs global markets, or just relocate their international activities to other foreign destinations (Delios et al., 2021). The special issue will be devoted to the phenomena of deglobalization, as well as foreign divestment and relocation of business, which are assumed to persist in the new post-Covid reality.

SI will seek out conceptual papers, literature reviews, empirical works, and case studies on the phenomenon of deglobalization and the strategy of foreign divestments and relocation of MNCs.


Topics for submissions

Illustrative, but by no means exhaustive, questions pertaining to the special theme include the following:

  • What is the role of environmental uncertainty (caused by sanctions, Covid-19, geopolitical conflicts) for the de-internationalization strategy and for the host country of divesting MNCs?
  • How do the institutional factors of domestic and host markets affect the decision of a firm to de-internationalize?
  • How is a foreign divestment (FD) decision made? What precedes FD?
  • How do companies choose a destination when they change locations? What is the motivation for relocating firms’ operations?
  • To what extent is the FD decision conditioned by the image of the home country of the divesting firm? What is the effect of FD on the legitimacy of firms?
  • What is the role of location-specific and firm-specific advantages in deciding on FD?
  • What does FD mean for divesting firms? Is it a failure or part of a strategy?

Submissions and deadlines

The closing date for submissions for this special issue is December 1st, 2021.

Submissions should be made via e-mail to [log in to unmask]" target="_blank">[log in to unmask], putting out the words Submission to the Special Issue in the subject line.

Please check the author guidelines before submitting.



Abdelal, R. (2020). Of learning and forgetting: Centrism, populism, and the legitimacy crisis of globalization. In Harvard business school, working paper 21-008, July.

Arte, P., & Larimo, J. (2019). Taking stock of foreign divestment: Insights and recommendations from three decades of contemporary literature. International Business Review, 28(6), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ibusrev.2019.101599.

Brakman, S., Garretsen, H., & van Witteloostuijn, A. (2021). Robots do not get the coronavirus: The COVID-19 pandemic and the international division of labor. Journal of International Business Studies, March, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41267-021-00410-9

Chung, C.Y., Morscheck, J., & Park, K. S. (2019). Disclosure effects of Korean firms’ divestment from China. Journal of Korea Trade, 23(5), 1–26.

Contractor, F.G. (2021). The world economy will need even more globalization in the post-pandemic 2021 decade. Journal of International Business Studies, February, 1–16. doi: 10.1057/s41267-020-00394-y

Dachs, B., Kinkel, S., & Jäger, A. (2019). Bringing it all back home? Backshoring of manufacturing activities and the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies. Journal of World Business, 54(6). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jwb.2019.101017

Delios, A., Perchthold, G., & Capri, A. (2021). Cohesion, COVID-19 and contemporary challenges to globalization. Journal of World Business, 56(3). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jwb.2021.101197

Fontaine, R. (2020). Globalization will look very different after the coronavirus pandemic. Foreign Policy, April 17. https:// foreignpolicy.com/2020/04/17/globalization-trade-war-after- coronavirus-pandemic/

Panibratov, A. (2020). Digital health business models during and post Covid-19. In M. Marinov & S. Marinova (Eds.).  Covid-19 and International Business: Change of Era. Routledge.

Panibratov, A., & Brown, T. (2018). Foreign divestments from Russia: An exploration of the mediating factors. Strategic Change27(4), 359–367.

Trencher, G., Downie, C., Hasegawa, K., & Asuka. J. (2020). Divestment trends in Japan's international coal businesses. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 124. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2020.109779

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 Studies49(9), 1167–1189.

Witt, M. A., Ping Li, P., Välikangas, L., & Lewin, A.Y. (2021). De-globalization and decoupling: Game changing consequences? Management and Organization Review, 17(1), 6–15.

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