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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Introduction from the Editors
Article Type: Editorial From: critical perspectives on international business, Volume 8, Issue 3
Welcome to the third issue of critical perspectives on international business (CPOIB) for 2012. We are pleased to present another exciting set of articles considering a range of topics concerning multinational corporations (MNCs) from their globalization to their engagement in emerging markets in general, and, specifically, their growing investments in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries. Moreover, this issue includes papers that span from those addressing topics familiar to, and drawing on, mainstream debates to those exploring novel subjects and questioning accepted understandings. Two book reviews are also included. With contributions from authors in Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the UK and the USA, this issue underlines our commitment to producing a truly international journal.
The issue begins with a research paper entitled “Does the home-region bias of international business vary by industry? An analysis of trade data by type of product” by Louise Curran and Soledad Zignago. The authors contribute to the recent debate on the question as to how global MNCs actually are. Contributions to this debate have focused primarily on investigations of sales and foreign direct investment (FDI) data. Arguing that trade is an important means of internationalization for MNCs, Curran and Zignago employ trade data to explore levels of global and regional orientation. Moreover, using trade data instead of sales or FDI data allows for a more disaggregated view capturing, for instance, differences that are associated with the type of product or the technological capacities of firms. As a result, and in contrast to existing mainstream contributions, an analysis of trade data does not show an overwhelming home region bias in international exchanges. Drawing on their analysis the authors suggest that companies from different regions and different sectors seem to experience the liability of inter-regional foreignness differently.
This research paper is followed by two position papers concerned with emerging markets. The first of these suggests that emerging markets are likely to become ever more important to the MNCs of the advanced countries, while the second paper warns against the “hype” associated with a specific group of these countries – the BRICs. In “Logics of local actors and global agents: divergent values, divergent world views”, Rick Molz and Catalin Ratiu offer a grounded explanation as to why conflicts arise between MNCs and local actors from emerging markets. Using institutional theory, the authors argue that within different socio-economic systems a dominant logic is developed, and this becomes internalized among the parties involved as behavioural scripts. Following Molz and Ratiu, representatives of MNCs and traditional emerging economy actors have difficulty comprehending the logic of the other, creating a fertile context for conflicts. Assuming that MNCs’ activities will be ever more depend on resources from emerging economies, the authors go on to argue that their awareness and integration of the local traditional logic will be mutually beneficial in a era when host countries are increasingly imposing pressures on foreign corporations.
David B. Heinz and Matthias Tomenendal take a more cautious view of the future role of emerging markets in their paper entitled “The emerging market hype – putting market size and growth in BRIC countries into perspective”. The authors provide a statistical comparison of the current market size and growth between BRIC countries (representing emerging markets) and Germany (representing advanced markets). The basic finding is that on several levels of granularity, such as, GPD per capita, size, and growth of high-income market segments, the short- to mid-term revenue potential of the BRIC countries is lower in absolute terms than those of mature markets such as Germany. These findings contradict much of the current literature that highlights the enormous growth and potential of emerging markets and put the “hype” surrounding emerging markets into perspective.
The authors of both position papers raise important questions and directions for further research. Some of these questions will no doubt be taken up in future issues of CPoIB. Indeed, a number of special issues are currently under preparation that will provide detailed interrogation of issues concerning emerging markets. These including: “Emerging markets multinational corporations and the state: implications for transnational activity” guest edited by Andreas Nölke and “Rising power firms and FDI – the challenge of economic development” guest edited by Rudolf R. Sinkovics and Mo Yamin. Information about these and other future special issues can be found at the following webpage: www.emeraldinsight.com/cpoib.htm
This issue concludes with two book reviews, the first by James Dzisah of The Responsible Corporation in a Global Economy edited by Colin Crouch and Camilla Maclean. This book brings together chapters from academics and practitioners on corporate and social responsibility. Moreover, academic contributions are drawn from across the social sciences. The topic of corporate and social responsibility (CSR) is of central importance to understanding the impact of international business on society. By offering a range of contrasting perspectives this book is a valuable resource and promises to stimulate ongoing debates on CSR and related issues.
This is followed by Jens Gammelgaard’s review of Dynamics of Globalization: Location-Specific Advantages or Liabilities of Foreignness, edited by Christian Geisler Asmussen, Torben Pedersen, Timothy Devinney and Laszlo Tihanyi. The 19 chapters that make up this book provide a valuable resource for international business scholars. However as Gammelgaard argues, there is still much scope for explorations of the interactions between the two effects of location-specific advantages and the liabilities of foreignness as well as the political dimensions of such interactions.
This issue continues CPoIB’s openness to a range of approaches to understanding international business. We hope that you will enjoy reading it and 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.
Finally, it is will great pleasure that we are able to announce CPoIB’s Emerald Awards for volume 7:
Outstanding Paper Award
“Of legitimate and illegitimate corruption: bankruptcies in Nicaragua” Jose Luis Rocha, Ed Brown and Jonathan Cloke (Vol. 7, No. 2).
The following papers were highly commended:
“Learning from the periphery: beyond the transnational model” by Ayse Saka-Helmhout (Vol. 7, No. 1)
“Numbers, words and KYC: knowing your country and knowing your corruption” by Alan Doig (Vol. 7, No. 2)
“Becoming ‘world-class’? Reputation-building in a university merger” by Hanna-Mari Aula and Janne Tienari (Vol. 7, No. 1)
Outstanding Reviewer Awards went to Professor Grazia Ietto-Gillies and Professor Rudolf Sinkovics for their regular and high quality reviews.
Joanne Roberts, Christoph Dörrenbächer