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International business, cities and competitiveness: recent trends and future challenges

Simona Iammarino (Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics, London, UK)
Philip McCann (Management School, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)
Raquel Ortega-Argilés (Strategy and International Business, Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)

Competitiveness Review

ISSN: 1059-5422

Article publication date: 21 May 2018




This paper aims to explain how thinking regarding multinationals, competitiveness and location in cities has evolved over the past five decades and how our current understanding and thinking about future challenges is contingent on these previous shifts.


The design of the paper is a conceptual piece linking different theoretical strands.


Global cities are not always necessarily the key locations for future multinational investments. It depends on the activities taking place. Knowledge and technology and how they interact with the firm’s capabilities and objectives are crucial.

Research limitations/implications

The implications are that future multinational location choices will be driven by diversity, demography, protectionism, automation and industrial policy.


This paper provides a roadmap for scholars in the international business and competitiveness fields to understand the current and future challenges facing multinationals and their location behavior.



Iammarino, S., McCann, P. and Ortega-Argilés, R. (2018), "International business, cities and competitiveness: recent trends and future challenges", Competitiveness Review, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 236-251.



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