|Publication:||Journal of International Business Studies|
|Title:||Informal Institutions and International Busieness|
|Type:||Journal Special Issue|
|Editors:||Luis Alfonso Dau (Northeastern University), Aya Chacar (Florida International University), Marjorie Lyles (Indiana University), Jiatao Li (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)|
|Deadline:||August 31, 2018|
Special Issue Editors:
Deadline for submission: August 31, 2018
Tentative publication date: Spring 2020
This call invites papers focusing on the relationship between informal institutions and international business. In this special issue, we understand institutions to be “humanly devised constraints” or “the rules of the game in a society” (North, 1990: 3). Much attention has been paid to formal institutions, or the written (or codified) rules or constraints, such as laws, regulations, constitutions, contracts, property rights, and formal agreements. On the other hand, much less attention has been given to informal institutions or the typically unwritten but socially shared rules and constraints (Pejovich, 1999; Sartor & Beamish, 2014; Sauerwald & Peng, 2013). These informal institutions include common values, cognitions, beliefs, traditions, customs, sanctions, and norms of behavior that are often expected or taken for granted (North, 1990, 2005). In common parlance, the term ‘institutions’ is often used to refer to ‘organizations’ (e.g., governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, etc.), but it is important to distinguish between institutions and organizations for academic purposes in order to examine the relationship between them (Chacar, Celo, & Hesterly, 2017; North, 1990, 2005; Scott, 2013). For instance, the WTO is an organization that provides a formal institutional framework of written rules to which its member countries agree to adhere. Simultaneously, membership in the WTO creates informal (or unwritten) institutional structures between member nations, such as reciprocity and interdependency expectations. Papers examining the interaction of formal and informal institutions on international business are also welcome.
In the advent of globalization, the international business literature has increasingly emphasized the importance of considering the institutional environment, instead of studying firm behavior in a vacuum (Dau, 2012, 2013, 2017; Eden, 2010; Kostova, 1997, Kostova et al., 2008; Li, 2013; Li & Qian, 2013). Still, a gap exists in our understanding of informal institutions, as formal institutions only provide part of the picture (North, 1990). This gap is particularly problematic in developing and emerging markets, where informal institutions may have a more prominent role, enabling and facilitating business transactions (Khanna & Palepu, 1997, 2000; Verbeke & Kano, 2013).
Note that this special issue invites papers on informal institutions and not culture, although submissions may examine their relationship and tease out the differences between the two constructs as they relate to international business. Some prior work has treated culture and informal institutions as synonymous. However, these two terms are distinct albeit they can overlap at times. Definitions of culture vary in the literature, but it is typically defined as “the collective programming of the human mind that distinguishes the members of one human group from those of another. Culture in this sense is a system of collectively held values” (Hofstede, 1984: 51). It “is the deeper level of basic assumptions and beliefs” (Schein, 1985: 6-7; see also, Hofstede, 1980, 1994; House et al., 2004; Schein, 2004; Tung & Verbeke, 2010). Informal institutions, on the other hand, are the actual unwritten rules and norms of behavior (North, 1990, 2005), which likely arise as a result of and in conjunction with the cultural framework, but also of formal structures in place in a given location. For instance, whereas culture is often captured with broad dimensions such as the degree of uncertainty avoidance (Hofstede, 1980), embeddedness (Schwartz, 1992), or assertiveness (House, et al., 2004), informal institutions specifically refer to the shared unwritten rules or norms in a society, organization, or other social grouping.
Interdisciplinary Work and Work from Different Perspectives
Interdisciplinary work and research from different institutional perspectives is particularly welcome. Campbell (2004) has identified three main “institutional theories”: rational choice institutionalism (or institutional economics/comparative institutional analyses) (North, 1990; Williamson, 1975, 1985, 2000), organizational institutionalism (or neo-institutional theory) (DiMaggio & Powell, 1991; Scott, 1987, 2013), and historical institutionalism (or institutional sociology) (Granovetter, 1985, 1992, 2017). These theoretical strands are associated primarily with economics, political science, and sociology, respectively, but have been used across disciplines using other names as well (Campbell, 2004).
Submissions should make a clear and novel theoretical contribution, but may build on any theoretical lens (e.g., internalization theory, resource based view, transaction cost economics, evolutionary theory, learning theory, agency theory, etc.) in addition to the institutional theories (Cantwell et al., 2010; Dunning & Lundan, 2008, 2010). What is critical is to use the institutional framework to help develop new theoretical insights.
Furthermore, we encourage work that provides novel ways of measuring informal institutions.
Given the limited attention on the effects of informal institutions on firms, as well as on the joint effects of formal and informal institutions on firms, this call for papers is purposefully broad. The following is not an exhaustive list, but provides some examples of potential topics:
Research Across Levels of Analysis
Although institutions are typically conceptualized at the national level of analysis, they may also be conceptualized at other levels, such as the supranational, regional, corporate, subsidiary, functional area, or workgroup/team levels of analysis. Papers focusing on informal institutions at different levels are also welcome. In particular, papers that study informal institutions across levels of analysis are particularly welcome. Some examples follow:
Conference and Symposium
With the aim of helping the authors further develop their papers, we will organize a paper development workshop conference during the spring of 2019. We will invite the authors of papers that receive the option to revise and resubmit their manuscripts. Together with the review process, the opportunity to present and receive comments from discussants and conference participants, will aid authors in strengthening and refining their papers.
Furthermore, we plan to have a symposium at a major academic conference in 2020 for the final selected papers that will appear in the special issue, in order to increase their visibility and impact.
Submission Process and Deadlines
Submissions need to meet JIBS guidelines, including in terms of what is considered international business. Typically, single country studies are only considered international if they focus on international firms or firm internationalization. Furthermore, submission should have implications for international business, although they may also have secondary implications for other fields.
All manuscripts will be reviewed as a cohort for this Special Issue. Manuscripts must be submitted between August 17-31, at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jibs. All submissions will go through the JIBS regular double-blind review process and follow the standard norms and processes.
For more information about this Call for Papers, please contact the Special Issue Editors or the JIBS Managing Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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About the Guest Editors
Luis Alfonso Dau is an associate professor of International Business and Strategy at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University. His research focuses on the strategic responses of emerging market firms to institutional processes and changes. He is particularly interested in the impact of regulatory reforms on the international strategy and performance of such firms.
Aya Chacar is an Professor in Management and International Business and Ingersoll-Rand Chaired Professor at Florida International University. She holds a PhD in Strategy and Organization from University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests are on the interaction of institutions and globalization on firm organization and leadership, strategy and performance, strategic human assets and value appropriation.
Marjorie Lyles is Professor of International Strategic Management at Indiana University Kelley School of Business and the Kimball Faculty Fellow. She was founding Director of the Indiana University Center on Southeast Asia. She is a member of the American Management Association's International Council and has been an Invited Scholar and consultant for the U.S. Department of Commerce in the Peoples' Republic of China. Marjorie's writings center on organizational learning, international strategies and cooperative alliances, and technology development particularly in emerging economies. She is a Fellow of the Academy of International Business and a JIBS Area Editor.
Jiatao (JT) Li is Lee Quo Wei Professor of Business, Head and Chair Professor of Management, and the Senior Associate Dean of the HKUST Business School, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His current research interests are in the areas of organizational learning, strategic alliances, corporate governance, innovation, and entrepreneurship, with a focus on issues related to global firms and those from emerging economies. His work has appeared in top academic journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of International Business Studies, Organization Science, and Strategic Management Journal. He is a Fellow of the Academy of International Business and a JIBS Area Editor.