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Can VUCA Help Us Generate New Theory within International Business?

International Business in a VUCA World: The Changing Role of States and Firms

ISBN: 978-1-83867-256-0, eISBN: 978-1-83867-255-3

ISSN: 1745-8862

Publication date: 21 October 2019

Abstract

The acronym and neologism “VUCA” is employed by management and some scholars to denote the unpredictability of the modern world and its impact on business. The VUCA approach suggests that a rational firm’s response should be to: protect against volatility by engineering-in redundancy and slack, gather information to reduce uncertainty, develop expertise to make complexity computable, and learn heuristically to reduce ambiguity. We combine a critical perspective on the VUCA approach with the global factory model, popularly used to describe the flexibility sought by advanced economy multinational enterprises (MNEs) within the global value chain. Both VUCA and the global factory would seem to account less well for the expansion of emerging multinational enterprise (EMNEs) abroad, particularly the preference for equity-based control and inflexibility when seeking strategic assets. Also, both approaches fail to incorporate behavioral principles toward risk. Using International Business theory, we propose a research agenda that may help to make VUCA more tractable, the global factory more useful, and the internationalization of EMNEs more comprehensible.

Keywords

Citation

Clegg, L.J., Voss, H. and Chen, L. (2019), "Can VUCA Help Us Generate New Theory within International Business?", Tulder, R.V., Verbeke, A. and Jankowska, B. (Ed.) International Business in a VUCA World: The Changing Role of States and Firms (Progress in International Business Research, Vol. 14), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 55-66. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1745-886220190000014005

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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