Progress, Maturity or Exhaustion? Sources and Modes of Theorizing on the International Strategy – Performance Relationship (1990–2011)

Philosophy of Science and Meta-Knowledge in International Business and Management

ISBN: 978-1-78190-712-2, eISBN: 978-1-78190-713-9

ISSN: 1571-5027

Publication date: 30 May 2013

Abstract

We examine patterns and changes in the use of various theoretical perspectives, and in the approach to testing individual or combinations of theories, within the field of international strategy that constitutes one of the major areas of international business (IB) research. We conduct a systematic bibliometric analysis of 22 years’ worth of empirical papers. We generate tabular evidence and introduce the use of network graphing methodology to report and analyse the co-occurrence of theories. We find a changing distribution of theoretical perspectives, indicative of a re-centring of the field around strategic and organizational perspectives. This is accompanied by use of more complex approaches to testing contingencies of the sort likely to result from these theory combinations, especially across firm, interfirm and institutional levels of analysis. We thus generate and discuss critically a quantitative and graphical overview of the progress of international strategy research. This creates unique and comprehensive insights into the development of theory and empirics in IB. We draw lessons for academics and report practical recommendations for the conduct of research. Overall, our study sheds new light on the disciplinary nature of IB research and its interplay with related fields and disciplines. It explicates patterns of theory accretion alongside patterns of theory testing and refinement. It provides a comprehensive map of the field of IB strategy as it evolved since 1990 and illuminates its future.

Citation

Martin, X. and van den Oever, K. (2013), "Progress, Maturity or Exhaustion? Sources and Modes of Theorizing on the International Strategy – Performance Relationship (1990–2011)", Devinney, T., Pedersen, T. and Tihanyi, L. (Ed.) Philosophy of Science and Meta-Knowledge in International Business and Management (Advances in International Management, Vol. 26), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 331-361. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1571-5027(2013)0000026018

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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