Click here for a downloadable PDF of the AIB 2018 Call for Papers

Theme: Global Business and the Digital Economy

Program Chair: JT Li, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology ( )

Submission Deadline: November 28, 2017 NEW DEADLINE



Coping with the digital economy-the application of internet-based digital technologies to the production and trade of goods and services-is becoming indispensable for any modern firm. Digitalization and digital technologies are transforming every industry and almost every aspect of business, and companies need to reinvent their businesses to survive and excel in today's more dynamic global environment. The internet-of-things, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, big data analytics, mobile and cloud computing, digital platforms, 3D printing, robotics and much more have significantly influenced processes, products, services and business models, with important implications for everyone's lives. Rising to the digital challenge often involves creating new business models, finding new ways to innovate, leveraging social media tools to engage with consumers, reconfiguring resources and perhaps even designing new organizational structures.

Skyline Patio View

Beyond business itself, the digital economy calls for transformation of governments, education and societies as a whole. The McKinsey Global Institute suggests that globalization has entered a new era defined by data flows. Digital platforms create more efficient and transparent global markets in which far-flung buyers and sellers can find each other with a few clicks. The near-zero marginal cost of digital communication and transactions opens new possibilities for conducting business across borders on a massive scale. Trade was once dominated by tangible goods and was largely confined to advanced economies and their large multinational companies. Today global data accessibility allows more countries and smaller enterprises to participate. This shift changes how business is done across borders, and where the economic benefits are flowing.

As digital platforms have become global in scope, they are driving down the cost of cross-border communication and transactions, allowing businesses to connect with customers and suppliers anywhere. They reduce the minimum scale needed to go global, opening up international business to smaller firms and entrepreneurs around the world. One result is that new competitors and new types of competitor can emerge rapidly from any corner of the world, forcing companies to rethink their strategies and capabilities, and to do so quickly. Well-established companies face pressure from start-ups unencumbered by legacy systems and willing to innovate rapidly. The involvement in the digital economy of firms from developing nations is narrowing those nations' productivity gap with better-developed economies. All the evidence suggests that we are only in the very early stages of this phenomenon, so enormous opportunities are still at stake.

Many countries have formulated programs intended to support participation in the digital economy. These commonly involve developing broadband infrastructure, promoting the digital sector in various ways, experimenting with e-government, encouraging businesses to adopt digital technologies, and promoting digital literacy among the population. Apart from preparing for global competition by installing internet-related infrastructure, many governments are trying to encourage firms to adapt their businesses to the more challenging and volatile digital environment. Some suggest that governments and firms should work together to identify promising opportunities emerging from the digital economy.

Spoonbridge and Cherry

International business scholars have a rich understanding of the costs of doing business abroad, traditionally arising from geographic distance and institutional gaps. But the digital economy is now blurring the boundaries. Institutional differences and particularly geographic separation may in future be much less important than they have been in the past. Indeed, advanced connectivity and shared information may even reduce the gaps among nations in terms of culture and values. Yet today we know relatively little about how such changes might influence business strategies and firms' performance in international business.

The goal of this year's conference is to discuss how the digital economy may change global business and how firms might respond to such changes in different institutional contexts. The rules of business are changing, and the future seems uncertain for companies that have operated successfully for decades. How might they best prepare for this uncertain world? How should they design their strategies when consumer behavior is constantly changing and industry boundaries are increasingly blurred? We welcome papers addressing these topics whose research settings and findings relate to the impacts and implications of digital technologies for global business.



Conference Tracks

1. The internationalization process and international entrepreneurship

Track Co-chairs:
Luis Dau, Northeastern University, USA ( )
Gracy Yang, University of Sydney, Australia ( )

Rapidly internationalizing SMEs compete and cooperate with large MNEs in the global market. This track seeks contributions that examine the internationalization process for different kinds of firms, whether small and entrepreneurial firms, established multinationals, or latecomer MNEs from emerging markets. It covers contributions that focus on the characteristics of the process, whether gradual, rapid or leapfrogging, increasing or decreasing, as well as the various kinds of human, financial and political resources firms draw on in their internationalization. It will also cover contributions that examine the specific influence of different kinds of entrepreneurs such as women, expatriates and others.

Keywords: Internationalization process models; Gradual internationalization; Rapid internationalization; Internationalization and performance; Divestment; Exporting by SMEs; International entrepreneurship; Entrepreneurial networks; Early internationalization; International new ventures; Born-global firms; High tech start-ups; Micro-multinationals; International entrepreneurial orientation; Woman entrepreneurs; Internet entrepreneurs; Expatriate entrepreneurs; Returnee entrepreneurs; Intrapreneurship


2. Managing the value chain and operations

Track Co-chairs:
Alain Chong, University of Nottingham Ningbo, China ( )
Ajai Gaur, Rutgers University, USA ( )

What determines a firm's economic footprint, and how should the value chain be managed in order to create sustainable competitive advantage? This track concentrates on the management and coordination of the different functions that comprise disaggregated value chains. It deals with locating an MNE's operations, outsourcing and offshoring decisions (and their reversal), as well as the cross-border coordination of contractual and equity-based relationships throughout the value chain.

Keywords: Outsourcing; Offshoring; Global production networks; Global operations; Geography of IB activities; Clusters and subnational regions; Global value chains; Disaggregation of value chains; Value chain coordination; Sourcing; Supply chain management; Logistics; Relocation of production; Re-shoring; Backshoring; OEM contracting; Service operations; Globalization of services


3. International marketing and consumer research

Track Chair:
Peter Magnusson, University of Alabama, USA ( )
Christina Sichtmann, University of Vienna, Austria ( )

How do you reach customers in mature markets, in emerging markets or at the bottom of the pyramid? This track focuses on the downstream activities of MNEs and the different techniques for reaching customers abroad. It examines issues related to the importance of branding and buyer behavior in unfamiliar markets, as well as the influence of the home country on consumer perceptions. It also invites papers that examine the application of informatics in marketing, such as in the development of big data and social media analytics.

Keywords: Exporting; Franchising; Advertising; Marketing channels; Distribution channels; Brand loyalty; Brand management; Pricing; Buyer behavior; Base of the pyramid retailing; Market orientation; Market segmentation; Consumer behavior; Cross-cultural marketing; Buyer-supplier relations; Country-of-origin perceptions; Business-to-business marketing; New product introduction; Retailing and services marketing; Sales management; Entry modes; Online markets; Big data; Market design; Mobile and social media analytics


4. Global innovation and knowledge management

Track Chair:
Grazia Santangelo, University of Catania, Italy ( )
Marcus Møller Larsen, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark ( )

The creation, transfer and outcomes of knowledge are central to our theories of the MNE. This track deals with the technological and organizational generation, transfer and outcomes of new knowledge. It examines the internal and external aspects of innovation activities, with the internal aspects being focused on knowledge generation and transfer within the MNE, and the external being focused on contractual and equity-based collaborations with international partners. It also examines the changing geography of innovation, the access of the multinational firm to location bound sources of innovation, and the influence of national and regional innovation systems.

Keywords: Networks for innovation; Global and local knowledge; Technology management; Knowledge search; Knowledge creation and diffusion; Knowledge sharing; Organizational learning; Exploration vs. exploitation; Absorptive capacity; Open innovation; Knowledge governance mechanisms; Knowledge access; R&D subsidiaries; National and regional innovation systems; Reverse innovation; Indigenous innovation; Centers of excellence; Innovation clusters; R&D offshoring; Licensing; Learning alliances; University-MNE relationships; Intra-firm inventor mobility; Contextual intelligence; Local context; Dispersed Innovation; Intellectual property protection


5. Global strategy, organization and management

Track Co-chairs:
Jorge Carneiro, FGV Sao Paulo, Brazil ( )
Dan Li, Indiana University, USA ( )

What strategies and organizational forms do MNEs adopt at different points in their evolution? This track focuses on the strategic and organizational challenges multinational enterprises face in their internationalization processes. It examines different strategies MNEs adopt to overcome the integration-responsiveness dilemma and to achieve an effective balance between centralization and decentralization. It also welcomes papers concerned with organizational change that is driven by corporate management, and the overall impact of the top management team on the development of organizational capabilities and organizational performance.

Keywords: Multinational enterprise; Transnational/Global/International/Multidomestic strategy; Global diversification strategies; Mergers and acquisitions; Growth strategies; Global networks; Global alliances; International joint ventures; Parent-subsidiary relationships; International/Regional headquarters; Organizational change and development; Organizational culture; Organizational structure; Organization of international operations; International competitiveness; Performance; Boundary spanning; Organizational capabilities; Core competencies; Top management teams; Virtual teams; Family-owned MNEs


6. Global leadership and cross-cultural management

Track Co-chairs:
Yaping Gong, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong ( )
Mary Zellmer-Bruhn, University of Minnesota, USA ( )

Global leadership, cross-cultural management, global talent management and diversity management are vital to the management of human resources within the multinational firm. This track encompasses papers dealing with the range of HR activities from recruitment and selection to training, performance management, compensation, retention as well as leadership development, and managing multicultural teams within the multinational firm. It also covers organizational behavior topics such as the positive and negative effects of diversity for individuals, teams, and organizations, issues related to cross-cultural management, and the role of language in multinational organizations.

Keywords: Cross-cultural management; International human resource management; Expatriate management; Talent management; Training and development; Retention; Leadership development; Global staffing; Global mindset; Diversity; Cross-cultural communication and language; Cross-cultural adjustment; International mobility; Multicultural teams; Virtual teams; Intercultural competence and cultural intelligence; Bicultural and multicultural identity; International migration; Education and international careers; Cosmopolitans; Returnees; Diasporans; Gender issues across cultures; Work-family issues; Selection; Performance appraisal; Compensation; Cross-cultural values; Local compliance


7. International corporate governance and financial management

Track Co-chairs:
David Reeb, National University of Singapore, Singapore ( )
Omrane Guedhami, University of South Carolina, USA ( )

How firms decide to govern themselves and allocate decision-making within the firm differs in cross-border firms and across markets. We observe a range of ownership structures and institutions around the world, linking the firm's owners and managers and providing differing levels of internal and external oversight. International corporate governance encompasses different kinds of board structures, compensation practices, differences among types of long-term shareholders (e.g. atomistic, families, and states), the role of activist shareholders, the types of mandatory disclosure, and voluntary disclosure choices of the firm. This track invites contributions that advance our understanding of these governance practices in an international context and their influences on differences in accounting standards and financial reporting quality, financial risk management practices, capital market development, bank lending and covenants, venture capital development, cross-border taxation and mergers and acquisitions.

Keywords: Ownership structures; Board processes, practices, and effectiveness; Board diversity; Governance in family-owned firms; Governance in state-owned firms; Shareholder categories; Mechanisms for protecting shareholder rights; Levels and composition of management compensation; Institutional investors; Shareholder activism; Stakeholder activism; Directorship interlocks; State ownership; Corporate groups; International finance and taxation; Transfer pricing; Accounting standards and conventions; Non-financial accounting and reporting standards; Capital structure; Corporate control; Exchange rate exposure; Macroeconomic risk management; International financial integration; Corporate performance; Financial risk management; International cross-listing; International financial reporting


8. MNE-state relations and international business policy

Track Co-chairs:
Mariko Sakakibara, UCLA, USA ( )
Jingtao Yi, Renmin University, China ( )

This track invites manuscripts that examine how businesses (MNEs in particular) interact with governments and the non-market strategies they adopt to advance their business interests globally. Papers are invited which discuss the impact of MNEs and FDI on economic growth and industrial and economic restructuring in host countries, their impacts on market structure, and international and inter-regional competition for investment. Submissions addressing ethics, legitimacy and efforts by multinational enterprises to mitigate political risk are also welcome. Papers in this track may also examine how different kinds of institutional regimes condition the activities of multinational firms, and the extent to which MNEs are able to shape the regulatory regimes that govern their overseas investments.

Keywords: Business-government interactions; MNE-host government relations; MNE-home government relations; Formal and informal institutions; Institutional distance; Comparative analysis of institutions; Legitimacy of business practices; Business ethics; Corporate citizenship; Sub-national institutions; Political risk; Political ties; State ownership; Competitive advantage; Home country advantages; Varieties of capitalism; Legal systems; Regulatory systems; Patterns of FDI and trade; FDI theory and empirics; Attracting investment; Competition for investment; FDI impact on the home country; FDI impact on the host countries; Knowledge and productivity spillovers; Public-private partnerships; Stakeholder engagement; Investor accountability; Non-market strategies; Corporate social responsibility; Social innovation; Social enterprises; Sustainability; Inclusive growth


9. Emerging markets and emerging market MNEs

Track Co-chairs:
Sumit Kundu, Florida International University, USA ( )
Seung Ho (Sam) Park, China Europe International Business School, China ( )

Emerging economies' share of global GDP is increasing rapidly as their growth far outpaces that of the OECD countries. This track welcomes theoretical and empirical papers that report novel explorations of issues related to doing business in an emerging market. Some examples might include research on city clusters, new business models, government-private sector cooperation, varieties of capitalism or firms' transitions from a culture of incremental innovation to a culture of breakthrough innovation. We are also interested in papers that aim to clarify to what extent emerging market multinationals can be considered unique and papers reporting work on foreign direct investment trends and strategies in emerging markets. Empirical papers exploring under-researched emerging markets beyond the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) in Africa, Asia, Eastern European or Latin America are particularly encouraged.

Keywords: Business groups; Institutional environments in emerging economies; Competitive advantages of emerging economies; Comparative advantages of emerging economies; Country-of-origin perceptions; Emerging economy MNEs; Entry strategies for emerging economies; FDI in emerging economies; Trade with emerging economies; Networking in emerging economies; Home country governments; Human rights and business in emerging economies; Institutional voids; Performance in emerging economies; Regional integration of emerging economies; SMEs; South-North FDI; South-South trade; Sovereign wealth funds; Sustainable development; MNE-state relations in emerging economies


10. Teaching IB

Track Co-chairs:
Margaret Fletcher, University of Glasgow, UK ( )
Simon Harris, University of Edinburgh, UK ( )

How do we convey our research understanding of International Business to our students? How do we enable them to share and engage with the passion and interest that we have in international business? How to we make our subject relevant to them, to their future careers, and to the businesses in which they will work? How can we enable our students to practice International Business and undertake the internationalization process more effectively, employing the knowledge that we have gained over the past 50 years? How do we enable them to adapt IB practice to respond to the new digital economy, and the challenges and opportunities that it creates? If we can do this, we will have found one way of addressing a major concern for the IB discipline: our relevance to the world, and our role in changing it for the better.

Since Uppsala scholars took the theory of the firm to improve our understanding of the internationalization process, the importance of learning, and especially of experiential learning, has had a major influence in our research. But how much has our growth in understanding in IB learning influenced our IB teaching? In this track, we would very much like to find out how we can develop good IB practices in our students.

This special track addresses IB teaching at every level: undergraduate, graduate, MBA, executive and doctoral. It deals with all aspects of teaching IB: including experiential learning approaches, handling diverse classrooms, case teaching in international business, as well as the use of different tools and methods such as simulations, role-play and various forms of multimedia to enhance IB teaching. Please see the separate Call for Papers for Special Track on Teaching IB for further details and submission instructions.

Keywords: Experiential learning; Developing an IB curriculum; Internationalizing the business school curriculum; Cross-cultural classrooms; Case teaching; Executive education; International study tours as part of the IB experience; Simulations and role-playing; Blended learning; Multimedia in IB teaching; Flipped learning


11. Conference theme track: Global business and the digital economy

Track Chair:
Ram Mudambi, Temple University, USA ( )
Sali Li, University of South Carolina, USA ( )

Digital technologies have dramatically changed the business landscape and transformed almost every aspect of the business. New digital technologies breed new business opportunities, but undermining other industries at the same time. Business models must change, ideally in anticipation, but at least in response. As electronic business becomes a necessity for almost every business, it calls for resource reconfiguration and often even restructuring. These sessions will welcome papers and panels whose research settings and findings relate to the impacts and implications of digital technologies. Online marketing and global business are obvious examples. At the same time, as digital technologies are changing the "rules of the game", how are governments changing the "structural" rules to adapt?

Keywords: E-commerce; Social media; Digital innovation; Crowd funding; Crowd sourcing; Online markets; Market design; Big data; Mobile analytics; Social media analytics; Technological change; Innovation incentives; Business models; Multisided business models; Platforms; Ecosystems; Innovation incubators; Scaling up innovations; Innovation governance; National innovation policies; Digital privacy; Role of the state/government; MNE-state relations in the digital economy


12. Conference regional track: Global/regional integration and disintegration

Track Chair:
Jennifer Oetzel, American University, USA ( )
Andreas Schotter, Western University, Canada ( )

The conference's North American location offers a good opportunity to examine issues related to global and regional integration and disintegration. For example, the NAFTA may be in the process of formal renegotiation next June, with important implications for all types of stakeholders including multinational firms, their employees, customers and suppliers, local communities and the governments involved. Who are the likely winners and losers from regional integration and disintegration? What are the implications for regional FDI and trade? What impact will the digital economy have on regional integration and disintegration?

Keywords: NAFTA; BREXIT; Euro; Regional integration; Regional disintegration; Global integration; Global disintegration; Semi-globalization; Global pressures; Local pressures; Preferential trading agreements; Borders; Shallow integration; Deep integration; Politics of regional integration; Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank; Belt and Road Initiative; International agreements; Multi-lateral institutions; South-North FDI; South-South trade; Patterns of FDI; Patterns of trade; Investment attraction; Investment competition; FDI impact; Economic development; Economic growth; Economic geography


AIB 2018 Submission Information

All single country studies must focus on IB relevant topics such as MNEs, international institutions, trade, global value chains etc. Papers submitted to the AIB 2018 conference need to be submitted to one of the ten regular tracks or one of the two special tracks addressing the conference theme. Each paper or panel proposal must be submitted to only one track. Please select the track closest to your proposal from the list above. Please note that there is also a "Special Submissions" track for authors where the appropriate track presents a conflict of interest with the track chair(s) and for purely methodological papers that do not fit the regular track structure.

All submissions will be handled through the AIB online submission system. All manuscripts and proposals must be submitted by November 28, 2017 NEW DEADLINE. Please refer to the detailed submission instructions page for additional information on how to prepare and submit your submission. For up-to-date information about the conference and related events, please check the conference website at http://aib.msu.edu/events/2018/. Any questions regarding this call for papers should be addressed to the track chairs or the Program Chair, JT Li.


JT Li
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Program Chair, AIB 2018 Annual Meeting