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Understanding cross-border crime: the value of international business research

Peter Enderwick (Business, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)

Critical Perspectives on International Business

ISSN: 1742-2043

Article publication date: 6 June 2019

Issue publication date: 6 June 2019




Based on a considerable degree of commonality between multinational enterprises (MNEs) and cross-border criminal organisations, the purpose of this paper is to identify ways and areas in which international business (IB) research could be of value in improving understanding of the operations of cross-border criminal organisations and in the development of effective countermeasures to global crime.


A review of the characteristics of legitimate MNEs and cross-border criminal organisations is undertaken to assess the applicability of IB research approaches in understanding the strategies and structures of organised criminal groups.


Despite some obvious differences there appears to be sufficient commonality between legitimate and illegitimate international commerce so that the firm-centric focus of IB research could provide valuable insights complementing the policy-oriented approach of criminology. Some adaptation of IB research tools may be required. The exchange is not one-way: studies of cross-border crime also offer lessons for IB scholars.

Research limitations/implications

IB scholarly work on cross-border crime could enrich both the fields of IB and transnational criminology. Better understanding of criminal enterprises could also facilitate the design of more effective interdiction policies.


Despite their commonalities and interactions, the two sectors of international enterprise have developed separately, and this paper identifies and explores possible synergies between the two.



Enderwick, P. (2019), "Understanding cross-border crime: the value of international business research", Critical Perspectives on International Business, Vol. 15 No. 2/3, pp. 119-138.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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