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Exploiting bullets: international business and the dynamics of war

Martin David Owens (College of Business, Technology and Engineering, Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK)

Critical Perspectives on International Business

ISSN: 1742-2043

Article publication date: 27 September 2021

Issue publication date: 14 October 2022




The purpose of this paper is to critically review the existing research on the intersection between war and international business (IB) and to map out a future research agenda.


Drawing on corporate examples and extant literature within IB, political science and international relations, the paper provides an introduction to the main concepts of war, a review of the IB research on war and provides a critical future research agenda.


The review of the multiple strands of war-related research in IB generally reveals an understudied area. Among other biases, prior research has focused on inter-state wars and has relatively unexplored foreign direct investment (FDI) and non-FDI within civil wars. Furthermore, previous studies offer little attention to how IB and multinational companies contribute to the emergence and development of wars.


The paper develops an analytical and critical research agenda for future research to examine the relationship between war and IB. This includes a set of questions for each of the three major phases of war: pre-conflict, armed violence and post-conflict. To the best of my knowledge, this has not been done before in the context of IB research.



Owens, M.D. (2022), "Exploiting bullets: international business and the dynamics of war", Critical Perspectives on International Business, Vol. 18 No. 5, pp. 640-665.



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