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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

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Keywords

Citation

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. https://doi.org/10.1108/cpoib-11-2013-0046

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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