International Business

Research and publications

The main research interests and publications of the International Business group may be grouped under the following themes:

Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) and the Governance of Global Value Chains

The production of many goods and services is typically composed of several distinct stages, with value often being added in several different countries and the various stages linked by flows of intermediate goods and services. Sometimes the activities within these global value chains (GVCs) will be internalised and owned by multinational enterprises (MNEs), but there is evidence that many activities across a range of industries are being externalised under outsourcing arrangements either domestically or offshore. These observations raise questions about how GVCs are governed, and how the benefits from GVC participation are distributed. Recent publications by the IB group on these issues include:

Buckley, P.J. & Strange, R. (2015). ‘The governance of the global factory: location and control of world economic activity.’  Academy of Management Perspectives, 29(2): 237-249.

Denicolai, S., Zucchella, A. & Strange, R. (2015) ‘The dynamics of the outsourcing relationship.’ In A. Verbeke, R. Van Tulder & R. Drogendijk (eds), The future of global organizing, pp.343-366. London: Emerald.

Strange, R. (2015). ‘Japan and the global factory.’ Japan MNE Insights, 2(1): 1-5.

Martins, P. & Yang, Y. (2015). ‘Globalised labour markets? International rent sharing across 47 countries.’ British Journal of Industrial Relations, (forthcoming).

Driffield, N., Love, J. & Yang, Y. (2014). ‘Technology sourcing and reverse productivity spillovers in the multinational enterprise: global or regional phenomenon?’ British Journal of Management, 25(S1): S24-S41.

Piesse, J., Strange, R. & Toonsi, F. (2012) ‘Is there a distinctive MENA model of corporate governance?’ Journal of Management & Governance, 16(4): 645-681.

Buckley, P. & Strange, R. (2011). ‘The governance of the multinational enterprise: insights from internalisation theory.’ Journal of Management Studies, 48(2): 460-470. Reprinted in P.J. Buckley (ed), Innovations in International Business. (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2012)

Strange, R. (2011). ‘The outsourcing of primary activities: theoretical analysis and propositions.’ Journal of Management & Governance, 15(2): 249-269.

Internationalisation Strategies and Performance

Many firms decide at some stage in their histories to venture into overseas markets, but this is a process which with beset by difficulties as foreign countries typically have different business systems, national cultures, and institutional environments. Firms in the process of internationalisation need to be make important strategic decisions inter alia with regard to diversification, market entry mode, partner and/or supplier selection, subsidiary location, HQ-subsidiary coordination, environmental management, and staffing. Furthermore, these decisions will have impacts upon the subsequent performance of the firms and their overseas subsidiaries. Recent publications by the IB group have addressed many of these issues:

Kawai, N. (2015). ‘Does downsizing really matter? Evidence from Japanese multinationals in the European manufacturing industry.’ International Journal of Human Resource Management, 26(4): 501-519.

Kawai, N. & Mohr, A.T. (2015). ‘The association between role ambiguity, role novelty & expatriates’ job outcomes: the moderating effects of organizational & supervisor support.’ British Journal of Management, 26(2): 163-181.

Blanc-Brude, F., Cookson, G., Piesse, J. & Strange, R. (2014). ‘The FDI location decision: distance and the effects of spatial dependence.’ International Business Review, 23(4): 797-810.

Denicolai, S., Zucchella, A. & Strange, R. (2014). ‘Knowledge assets and firm international performance.’  International Business Review, 23(1): 55-62.

Kawai, N. & Strange, R. (2014). ‘Perceived organizational support and expatriate performance: the case of Japanese expatriate managers in Germany.’ International Journal of Human Resource Management, 25(17): 2438-2462.

Kawai, N. & Strange, R. (2014). ‘Subsidiary autonomy and performance in Japanese multinationals in Europe.’ International Business Review, 23(3): 504-515.

Mohr, A.T., Fastoso, F., Wang, C. & Shirodkar, V. (2014). ‘Testing the regional performance of MNEs in the retail sector: the moderating effects of timing, speed and experience.’ British Journal of Management, 25: S100-S115.

Yang, Y. & Mallick, S. (2014). ‘Explaining cross-country differences in exporting performance: the role of country-level macroeconomic environment.’ International Business Review, 23(1): 246-259.

Yang, Y., Martins, P. & Driffield, N. (2013). ‘Multinational performance and the geography of FDI: evidence from 46 countries.’ Management International Review, 53(6): 763-794.

Cookson, G., Blanc-Brude. F., Piesse, J. & Strange, R. (2012). ‘The FDI location decision: modelling conceptions of distance.’ Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings, 2012(1): 247.

Majocchi, A. & Strange, R. (2012). ‘International diversification: the impact of ownership structure, the market for corporate control and board independence.’ Management International Review, 52(6): 879-900.

Yang, Y. & Driffield, N. (2012). ‘Multinationality-performance relationship: a meta-analysis.’  Management International Review, 52(1): 23-47.

Corporate Political Activity and Non-Market Strategies

Globalisation requires that MNEs have to effect corporate strategies that not only respond effectively to competitive pressures for cost reduction but are also responsive to the needs and requirements of different markets. But MNEs are not passive actors merely responding to exogenous stimuli but should engage with, and respond to, a range of important stakeholders including (national and local) governments, labour unions, NGOs, environmental groups, and supranational organisations such as the WTO. All firms thus need to engage in political activities and other non-market strategies to make their voice heard both by those who make trade, investment and industrial policy, and by those whose (explicit or implicit) support is required for successful operations. Recent publications by the IB group on these issues include:

McGuire, S. (2015). ‘The firm and international relations theory.’ In T.C. Lawton & T.S. Rajwani (eds). The Routledge companion to non-market strategy, pp.83-96. London: Routledge.

Shirodkar, V. & Mohr, A.T. (2015). ‘Resource tangibility and foreign firms’ corporate political strategies in emerging economies: evidence from India.’ Management International Review, (forthcoming).

Shirodkar, V. & Mohr, A.T. (2014). ‘Explaining foreign firms' approaches to corporate political activity in emerging economies: the effects of resource criticality, product diversification, inter-subsidiary integration, and business ties.’ International Business Review, 24(4): 567-579.

McGuire, S. (2013). ‘Multinationals and NGOs amid a changing balance of power.’ International Affairs, 89(3): 695-710.

Lindeque, J.P. & McGuire, S.M. (2010). ‘Non-market capabilities and the prosecution of trade remedy cases in the United States.’ Journal of World Trade, 44(4): 903-930.

Lawton, T.C, Lindeque, J.P. & McGuire, S.M. (2009). Multilateralism and the multinational enterprise.’ Business and Politics, 11(2).

Finance and International Business

Multinationality brings financial benefits and costs, and typically international business brings the need to raise capital and to meet liabilities in many different countries. Financial risks need to be mitigated and/or managed effectively. MNEs are thus faced with a range of important questions about how and where to finance their operations, how to allocate capital internally, and what internal governance mechanisms to introduce to assure effective management incentives. Different countries will typically have different institutional arrangements and different systems of corporate governance, and these contextual differences will condition the strategies that MNEs will wish to pursue. Recent publications by the IB group have addressed many of these issues:

Hearn, B. (2015). ‘Institutional influences on board composition of international joint venture firms listing on emerging stock exchanges: evidence from Africa.’ Journal of World Business, 50(2): 1-25.

Hearn, B. (2014). ‘The political institutional and firm governance determinants of liquidity: evidence from North Africa and the Arab Spring.’ Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions & Money, 31: 127-158.

Ning, L., Kuo, J-M, Strange, R. & Wang, B. (2014). ‘International investors' reactions to cross-border acquisitions by emerging market multinationals.’ International Business Review, 23(4): 811-823.

Hearn, B. & Piesse, J. (2013). ‘Firm level governance and institutional determinants of liquidity:  evidence from Sub Saharan Africa.’ International Review of Financial Analysis, 28: 93-111.

Ho, Y-W., Strange, R. & Piesse, J. (2013). ‘Conditional pricing of risks.’ Journal of Economic Studies, 40(1): 88-97.

Hearn, B. (2012). ‘The contrasting effects of board composition and structure on IPO firm underpricing in a developing context.’ International Review of Financial Analysis, 21: 33-44.

Hearn, B., Piesse, J. & Strange, R. (2012). ‘Islamic finance and market segmentation: implications for the cost of capital.’ International Business Review, 21(1): 102-113.

Hearn, B. (2011). ‘The performance and the effects of family control in North African IPOs.’ International Review of Financial Analysis, 20: 140-151.

Mallick, S. & Yang, Y. (2011). ‘Sources of financing, profitability and productivity: first evidence from matched firms.’ Financial Markets, Institutions and Instruments, 20(5): 221-252.

Hearn, B. (2010). ‘Time-varying size and liquidity effects in South Asian equity markets: a study of blue-chip industry stocks.’ International Review of Financial Analysis, 19: 242-257.

Hearn, B., Piesse, J. & Strange, R. (2010). ‘Market liquidity and stock size premia in emerging financial markets: the implications for foreign investment.’ International Business Review, 19(5): 489-501.

Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Sustainability

Sustainable development is potentially one of the major global issues of the 21st Century. It is a multi-faceted and complex issue, and IB scholars have focused on MNEs as important vehicles for the transfer, dissemination and adoption of sustainable development practices in emerging economies. Many (developed and emerging) country governments too have realised the necessities of small business growth and innovation for successful growth and development, and increasing attention is being devoted in academic and policy-making circles to how best to promote and facilitate these activities. Recent publications by the IB group have addressed many of these issues:

Xheneti, M. & Kitching, J. (2011). ‘From discourse to implementation: enterprise policy development in post-communist Albania.’ Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 29(6): 1018-1036. 

Xheneti, M. & Bartlett, W. (2012). ‘Institutional constraints and SME growth in post-communist Albania.’ Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 19(4): 607-626. 

Xheneti, M., Smallbone, D. & Welter, F. (2013). ‘EU enlargement effects on cross-border informal entrepreneurial activities.’ European Urban and Regional Studies, 20(3): 314-328. 

Van Tulder, R., Verbeke, A. & Strange, R. (eds) (2014). International business and sustainable development. London: Emerald.