Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Introduction from the Editors
Article Type: Introduction from the Editors From: critical perspectives on international business, Volume 7, Issue 3
Welcome to the third issue of critical perspectives on international business (CPOIB) for 2011. We are pleased to present another exciting set of articles and reviews considering a range of topics, from the Western influence on identity construction in Chinese professional service firms and knowledge transfer between Russian and Western firms to foreign direct investment (FDI) and spillovers in Switzerland, the World Investment Report and finance sector links to political power. With contributions from authors in Canada, Finland, New Zealand, Switzerland and the UK, this issue underlines our commitment to producing a truly international journal.
The issue begins with a research paper entitled “Guanxi dynamics and identity construction: an interpretive look at the Chinese professional service firms’, by Katarzyna Kosmala and Chunyan Xian, in which the findings of a study of the construction of professional identity, based on an interpretative inquiry in two Chinese professional service firms in Beijing, are presented. The authors find that enacted professionalism appears consistent with the pursuit of an elevated Western image, while relationships with clients are embedded in guanxi dynamics and related accountabilities, reflecting the local ways of doing things.
Service activity is also the focus of the second research paper by Lamia Ben Hamida: “FDI and spillovers in the Swiss services/construction industry: interaction effects between spillover mechanisms and domestic technological characteristics”. Through the provision of knowledge, jobs, foreign currency and competition, FDI has important spillover effects in host countries, with the potential for significant impacts on economic development. Research on spillovers tends to focus on the manufacturing sector despite the fact that the service sector accounts for the largest share of FDI flows. Through a focus on service sector FDI spillovers, Ben Hamida contributes to an important emerging body of research.
The theme of knowledge transfer is continued in an insightful position paper, “Knowledge transfer between Russian and Western firms: whose absorptive capacity is in question?”, by Snejina Michailova and Irina Jormanainen. Long-standing assumptions about the superiority of the knowledge possessed by Western firms and the poor absorptive capacity of Russian firms are challenged. Moreover, the authors argue that while Russian firms have substantially developed their knowledge stock, Western firms operating in the Russian market have not intentionally invested in improving their own absorptive capacity.
In a timely review essay entitled “The World Investment Report at 20”, Grazia Ietto-Gillies considers the United Nations’ annual publication on FDI. The current volume, World Investment Report 2010: Investing in a Low-Carbon Economy, is analysed in the context of all the previous World Investment Reports (WIRs) and their historical background. Although the WIR has always had a developmental and policy focus, as Ietto-Gillies argues, tackling pressing problems related to the environment requires the cooperation of both developed and developing regions as well as the development and implementation of global strategies for economic development.
This issue concludes with a book review by Arvind K. Jain of 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown by Simon Johnson and James Kwak. The book contributes to understandings of the links between the financial sector and political power. In doing so, it contributes to the continuing debates about the causes and consequences of the global financial crisis of 2008 – a topic that has been much discussed in the pages of this journal.
We hope that you will enjoy reading this issue of CPOIB, that it will encourage further critical discussion about issues of relevance to international business and, importantly, that it will stimulate further responses in the academic community, in the classroom and in the wider context of global society. As always, we encourage readers to participate in ongoing debates and to raise new topics and questions through contributions to the journal. We welcome academic paper submission, viewpoint pieces, reviews and review essays as well as suggestions and proposals for special issues.
Joanne Roberts, George Cairns