To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Pushing the frontiers of critical international business studies: The multinational as a neo-imperial space

Mehdi Boussebaa (School of Management, University of Bath, Bath, UK)
Glenn Morgan (Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)

critical perspectives on international business

ISSN: 1742-2043

Article publication date: 25 February 2014



This paper aims to discuss the context- and power-sensitive approach to the study of multinationals that has emerged in the last decade, argues for the need to supplement it by a clearer focus on the wider geopolitical context in which multinationals operate and outlines the implications for the development of IB research in this area.


The paper provides a summary overview of context- and power-sensitive studies of multinationals before proposing a research agenda for the next decade. In particular, it argues for the need to combine the institutionalist angle taken by context/power analyses with post-colonial theory as a means of bringing geopolitics into the study of multinationals, a task that CPoIB is well positioned to accomplish.


The paper identifies a lack of “criticality” in context/power research and, in particular, a lack of attention to the neo-imperial character of multinationals with specific regards to their management and organisation.

Research limitations/implications

The implications of this paper are that the nature of contemporary multinationals is further illuminated, especially their role in (re-)producing (neo-)imperial relations in a supposedly post-colonial world. Further, the paper suggests an agenda for future research on the relationship between imperialism and multinationals.


The value of the paper is in drawing together more closely the study of multinationals as organizational structures and political systems with the history of imperialism and contemporary post-colonial theorising.



Boussebaa, M. and Morgan, G. (2014), "Pushing the frontiers of critical international business studies: The multinational as a neo-imperial space", critical perspectives on international business, Vol. 10 No. 1/2, pp. 96-106.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited