Daniel Shapiro (Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
Chang Hoon Oh (Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)

Multinational Business Review

ISSN: 1525-383X

Article publication date: 18 April 2017



Shapiro, D. and Oh, C.H. (2017), "Editorial", Multinational Business Review, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 2-4. https://doi.org/10.1108/MBR-02-2017-0009



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

MBR began publishing in 1993, nearly 25 years ago, by the Boeing Institute of International Business at the John Cook School of Business, Saint Louis University. This makes it one of the oldest of the international business (IB) journals. In its first volume, it published papers on the North America Free-Trade Agreement, the prospects for a single European market, factors affecting the FDI decisions of firms from various countries and an analysis of political risks facing US firms operating abroad, thus establishing itself as a home for rigorous analysis of relevant issues in the IB world.

It later moved from the USA to Henley Business School at the University of Reading, and its content began to reflect the interests and concerns of that school. Over the years, Dunning and Fortanier (2007), Rugman (2010), Casson (2014) and Buckley (2014) all published in the journal, with contributions that not surprisingly helped advance our understanding of the “eclectic” and internalization theories of the multinational enterprise (MNE). Even the new co-editors have published in MBR (Oh and Rugman, 2014; Chen et al., 2015). In addition, reflecting the broad interests of the Reading School, MBR had a strong cross-disciplinary focus, with links drawn to economics, politics and economic development.

With the untimely passing of Alan Rugman, the journal continued in Reading under the editorship of Rajneesh Narula (with assistance from Mark Casson and Alain Verbeke). In his first editorial, Rajneesh suggested that his job was to maintain the spirit of the journal, a sentiment that we share without reservation, and are honoured to help preserve.

That spirit is summarized both by the kinds of articles the journal has published since its inception, and the strong intellectual tradition of the Reading School. The MBR spirit includes a strong attachment to a coherent IB theory and a deliberate attempt to promote cross-disciplinary thought. This is clearly seen in the works of the authors noted above. In addition, Rajneesh points to a commitment to “bring new ideas, debates and controversies to our audience rapidly, decisively and deliberately”. One need only to look at the first volume to understand how deeply rooted this idea is in the MBR spirit.

It is our intention to continue this tradition. We will continue to seek out and publish articles that advance or challenge the foundational theories in IB. We will actively solicit and publish articles that take on issues of immediate relevancy, and do so quickly.

While it is our intention to honour and preserve the traditional spirit of MBR, we recognize that much has changed over the past 25 years. In particular, the number of IB and strategy journals has increased significantly, making it ever more necessary to differentiate one journal from another.

In the case of MBR, we have chosen to specialize in “macro” IB, which we define as the understanding of the nature, causes, and effects of global and regional capital flows. Relevant topics include: the theory, strategies and performance of the MNE; the rise of MNEs from emerging markets; the geography of international business, including location and entry mode decisions; the role of institutions and country-specific factors as determinants of both inward and outward FDI strategies; cross-country differences in corporate governance and ownership, and their relation to MNE strategy and performance; the increasing importance of non-market risk strategies including both political and social strategies; the impact of external events including technological, environmental and political change; the role of government policy in shaping firm strategy; role of multilateral agreement in facilitating global trade and capital flows; the relationship between MNEs and economic growth and development; and the importance of historical perspectives on all of these topics.

It is not just the number of journals that has changed. In addition, concerns are being expressed regarding the relevance, methodologies, timeliness and reproducibility of business and management research. While we do not agree that IB theory is a “compendium of dead ideas” (Economist, 2016), we do agree with various colleagues and other journals that some re-direction is called for:

  • We intend to place greater emphasis on review studies that help integrate, synthesize and advance IB theory. We are particularly interested in those that integrate traditional IB thinking with theoretical developments outside of business and management, and in those that employ new and innovative methods of surveying the literature.

  • We intend to publish more perspectives articles, where authors are given room to summarize and comment on recent developments in management theory, practice or the external environment. These perspectives articles will be for the most commissioned, with paper development assigned to an editor as well as peer reviewers. However, we are also willing to accept proposals for such pieces. We prefer studies that critically address topical, relevant and understudied phenomena. We would particularly welcome perspectives from other disciplines including economics, sociology, political science, geography, history and economic development.

  • We intend to publish more replication studies. We share the recent concerns expressed over the non-replicability of results in the social sciences, and the need to promote replications studies that contribute to building a shared understanding of cumulative knowledge in IB. We therefore encourage the submission of “high-quality” replication studies (Ethiraj et al., 2016) that contribute to our understanding of the reliability and validity of current knowledge.

  • We will publish exploratory studies that do not necessarily test hypotheses but rather seek to identify phenomena (Lewin et al., 2016). In addition, we do not expect that all empirical studies will report only positive results, but we do expect that all empirical studies will carefully apply appropriate methods of statistical inference. While we agree that an over-emphasis on hypothesis testing has at times limited the scope and relevance of our research, we also believe that all research must be grounded in the relevant academic literature.

  • We will increase the number of special issues and publish them on a more regular basis. We therefore encourage proposals for special issues that are relevant to the mission and values of the journal. We strongly encourage proposals that focus on under-represented regions such as Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and South East Asia. We also encourage proposals focused on relevant but less-studied phenomena, including the South-South FDI; the importance of global and regional trade agreements in determining capital flows and MNE strategy; and the nature of technological diffusion and its impact on emerging market MNEs.

We hope that by broadening the scope of academic contributions, we will sustain the spirit of MBR.

We must also point out that MBR has now been included in the Emerging Sources Citation Index, which will make it easier to find in searches, will increase its recognition and will improve its citation measures. It will also pave the way for us to be included in the Journal Citations Report.


Buckley, P.J. (2014), “Forty years of internalisation theory and the multinational enterprise”, Multinational Business Review, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 227-245.

Casson, M. (2014), “The economic theory of the firm as a foundation for international business theory”, Multinational Business Review, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 205-226.

Chen, V.Z., Li, J. and Shapiro, D.M. (2015), “Subnational institutions and outward FDI by Chinese firms”, Multinational Business Review, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 254-276.

Dunning, J.H. and Fortanier, F. (2007), “Multinational enterprises and the new development paradigm: consequences for host country development”, Multinational Business Review, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 25-46.

Economist (2016), “Management theory is becoming a compendium of dead ideas”, available at: www.economist.com/news/business/21711909-what-martin-luther-did-catholic-church-needs-be-done-business-gurus-management (accessed 17 December 2016).

Ethiraj, S.K., Gambardella, A. and Helfat, C.E. (2016), “Replication in strategic management”, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 37 No. 11, pp. 2191-2192.

Lewin, A.Y., Chiu, C.-Y., Fey, C.F., Levine, S.S., McDermott, G., Murmann, J.P. and Tsang, E. (2016), “The critique of empirical social science: new policies at management and organization review”, Management and Organization Review, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 649-658.

Oh, C.H. and Rugman, A.M. (2014), “The dynamics of regional and global multinationals, 1999-2008”, Multinational Business Review, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 108-117.

Rugman, A.M. (2010), “Reconciling Internalization theory and the eclectic paradigm”, Multinational Business Review, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 1-12.

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