Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals: Strategies in the Era of De-Globalization

We have entered a new era, where the beliefs which we held true seem to hold no longer. Globalization doesn’t appear to provide all the answers to the economic growth and development of countries. Populism is gaining traction. The value of trade alliances, such as NAFTA, is being questioned. Political institutions, like the European Union, are being challenged. The UK is exiting the European project.

At the same time, there are still currents that unite us. We still recognize the importance of country specialization and foreign trade. Companies value diversity both in terms of their geographical operations and also at the level of their management teams. Digital technologies move across borders, and most start‐ups still think international from the early stage of their existence. Innovation does not just proceed from the central decision centers but from multiple locations across the globe, changing the direction of strategic initiative and raising the issue of managing explorative vs. exploitative capabilities. Emanating from the civil society, new demands arise, from respecting human integrity to preserving the environmental capital of territories. Companies experiment with bottom of the pyramid innovations or CSR initiatives that not only help solve local problems but could also create growth opportunities in other markets.

Hence, our world is at a crossroads. How can firms and strategists reconcile or navigate these contradictions and crosscurrents? What will the consequences for strategy practice, teaching, and research be if the geopolitical forces that pull the world apart prevail over the continuing promise of benefit from global trade and innovation without borders? What can companies do to manage these tensions? How do they think about uncertainty in the current point of the world’s development? How can the value generated from globalization be shared more equally, and what roles and responsibilities do firms and their decision makers play?

We believe that strategy research should reflect on these questions in order to help managers and firms cope with new challenges. We call for proposals that reflect on how these multiple challenges impact our understanding of extant theoretical models. We also look to identify strategies and business models for addressing these contradictions and making globalization promises come true. Our call includes a strong interest in how we can enrich our traditional representations with better informed views on how local and global institutions weigh on strategy making, and how much firms influence the conditions that define what acceptable competition means. We hope that papers in these directions will once more ensure that our discipline is not only academically ambitious, but also practically relevant.

Theme Tracks

Track Chair: Witold Henisz, University of Pennsylvania

The long era of globalization never erased the importance of national and sub-national institutions, political interests and stakeholders. Success for multinational corporations always hinged on their ability to balance their local implementation and adaptation with their global resources and capabilities. In the age of De-Globalization, however, these political and stakeholder strategies become even more critical for success. The extent of De-Globalization is not a global or national-level construct but varies from industry to industry and firm to firm depending upon managers’ ability to influence the hearts and minds of political actors and stakeholders. How should managers, consultants, analysts and investors price political and stakeholder related risks (and opportunities)? What investments should they make or encourage in political and stakeholder capital to influence the pace and form of De-Globalization? What should the balance be between community, sub-national, national and international political and stakeholder strategies? What form of relationships should be developed and maintained with NGOs, administrative and political actors? How do these political and stakeholder investments vary by geographic region, sector, entry mode and function? How should they organize their activities internally to insure that the management of political and social stakeholder relationships is viewed as a core element of strategy as opposed to a support function and cost center?

Track Chair: Youngjin Yoo, Case Western Reserve University

Digital business models are often built with international expansion in mind. It seems much easier to experiment and transfer digital products and services around the world than to experiment and transfer their physical correlates. But is this really so? What digital models lend themselves to international expansion and what models need to be significantly adapted? In other words, is there anything specific in digital business models that helps or hinders their internationalization? Some companies have built their business by replicating business models that work in some markets into different countries. What makes their advantage sustainable? What are key sectoral differences in the internationalization of digital business models?

Track Chair: Steven Boivie, Texas A&M University

Corporate governance remains a critically important research area. One of the major growth areas in corporate governance research is the rise of scholarship that works to incorporate different countries and institutional contexts. Most of the major theoretical and empirical studies in this area were developed in the US corporate governance context. However, countries have distinct corporate governance systems and unique economic and regulatory regimes. In this special theme track, we want to explore how boards operate in these distinct environments, and also how changing global environments affect US firms’ corporate governance practices. Specifically we want to invite and encourage scholars to develop unique theory and empirical tests regarding how boards manage all types of risks that are specific to their unique political and regulatory environments. How do these unique contexts change what we already know? Further, what are the best practices of boards in other countries and what are the pitfalls to avoid? How does diversity in the boardroom help companies in different institutional environments? Does the inclusion of women, minorities, and board members with highly international backgrounds help companies make better decisions and provide more effective governance? Finally, how can US firms benefit from having global experience in their boardrooms?

Track Chair: Johanna Mair, Hertie School of Governance

People do not equally benefit from globalization. One of the reasons for the recent populist backlash has been that the working poor in the developed countries or bottom of the pyramid individuals in the developing countries, who represent a substantial proportion of the population and the electorate, have been facing greater uncertainty and lower living standards. This theme will explore how companies and other organizations contribute to and can effectively mitigate to a various forms of inequality, how they implement responsible practices both at home and abroad. We also want to know how and under what conditions impactful CSR practices and effective practices of Social Enterprises can be transferred across different countries and what the business case for doing so is.

Interest Group Tracks

Track Chair: Emilie Feldman, University of Pennsylvania

The Competitive Strategy Interest Group focuses on questions concerning firms and their interactions within product and factor markets. As one of the largest and most internationally diverse Interest Groups, we tackle a broad set of questions regarding competitive strategy in regions around the world. For example: what is competitive advantage? How can firms build and maintain a competitive advantage in a changing world? What role do resources and capabilities play in shaping firms and industries over time and in different geographies? Within the context of the conference theme, we call for contributions aimed at exploring how firms can develop and implement effective strategies in the era of de-globalization. For example: how must innovation and growth strategies evolve as global institutions, whose stability was once taken for granted, change? How does de-globalization influence factor, product, and capital markets? What can firms do to gain and maintain competitive advantage in light of those changes? How, if at all, must firms alter their stocks of resources, capabilities, and knowledge in response to shifting political and institutional landscapes?

Track Chair: Guoli Chen, INSEAD

Research in the Corporate Strategy Interest Group addresses firm scope and boundary decisions by drawing on a range of theories and methods to examine the implementation of change in the firm’s portfolio of businesses through diversification, vertical integration, acquisitions, divestitures, and other decisions related to the firm’s strategies and organizational structure. Thus, the questions asked by corporate strategy scholars are central to the conference theme. Proposals are desired that address questions such as: Are existing theories used to explain boundary decision (e.g., institutional theory, TCE, and RBT) still valid in addressing corporate strategy issues? Along with proposals related to the general domain of the Corporate Strategy Interest Group, this year we encourage submissions that tackle questions such as: How does the increasing complexity in a de-globalizing world affect corporate strategy? How can scholars help managers understand better and adapt to it? How can firms and strategists reconcile or navigate the contradictions emanating from country specialization and global reach? How does the current geopolitics and political uncertainty influence corporate strategy decisions?

Track Chair: Liena Kano, University of Calgary

The Global Strategy Interest Group welcomes submissions on issues relevant to firms operating in an international or global context, e.g., cross-border strategy and governance, headquarter-subsidiary relationships, impact of political and institutional environments on firm-level strategies, etc. The conference theme is particularly relevant to global strategy scholars. Re-configuration of global value chains, trade and investment restrictions, and reduced access to global talent pools are but some of the potential impacts of the anti-globalization sentiments on firms’ cross-border operations. How can multinationals address these risks while remaining competitive on a global scale? Does the new reality present opportunities for global firms? Are we indeed seeing the tail end of globalization, or is globalization simply taking a new form? Who are the potential winners and losers of the purported U-turn in globalization? Have multinationals themselves spurred the populist backlash by exacerbating inequalities, or do they reduce inequality through global wealth creation? We invite submissions addressing these, and other questions related to global firms’ strategies in today’s volatile and uncertain reality.

Track Chair: Jorge Walter, George Washington University

The Strategy Process Interest Group focuses on how strategies are formed, implemented, and changed, across group, functional, business, corporate, and network levels of analysis. Today, the world is facing new challenges such as de-globalization, diversity in both locations and composition of management teams, digital technologies and decentralized decision centers. These challenges highlight the importance of the processes underlying the strategic responses to address those challenges, both within and across organizations belonging to either the government, for-profit, or not-for-profit sectors. We welcome contributions that examine the theoretical underpinnings of existing strategy process research as well as work that questions, unifies, or extends current paradigms, theories, and frameworks. Examples include: How can process research bring together the development of strategy and commitment across the organization? How can process research help us understand the loop between strategy formation process, strategy implementation, its outcomes, and the feedback to the process? Which interaction processes should organizations from different sectors engage in to solve the complex challenges human society faces? What are the processes of successful business model change underpinning shifting organizational boundaries and new forms of organizing?

Track Chair: Marie Louise Mors, Copenhagen Business School

An era of de-globalization will likely lead to increased barriers to sharing knowledge. This will also lead to challenges for cross-border innovation. Research on innovation and knowledge has focused on how organizations can increase cross-border coordination to facilitate knowledge sharing. Moreover, past empirical research has established that done successfully, knowledge sharing will facilitate innovation. We encourage submissions that seek to answer how knowledge and innovations may be shared and created in an era of de-globalization. What kinds of knowledge and innovations might be generated in such an era? Can knowledge and innovation counteract de-globalization and if so, what types of knowledge may help overcome the barriers of de-globalization? Will we see a decrease in innovations in an era of de-globalization or will it just lead to more local innovations with less global application? These are just some of the questions that submissions to the Knowledge and Innovation Interest Group may seek to answer.

Track Chair: Krsto Pandza, University of Leeds

The thematic scope of the Strategy Practice Interest Group covers all aspects relevant to the practice of strategy in real business environments, regardless of whether in the sense-making, formation or execution stages. We seeking contributions from practitioners of strategy to our track. Changing global competitive contexts are affecting competition in unprecedented ways. Ambiguous, difficult, and imperfectly understood though these business environments might be, they nonetheless demand of managers to engage in strategic decision making in real time. Given the practice orientation of our Interest Group, we are therefore seeking contributions that explore how strategic sense-making is approached in such environments, how strategy is formulated in contexts that are imperfectly understood, and how strategy is then executed in such dynamic environments. We welcome empirical and conceptual papers that probe strategizing in all aspects relevant to the strategy practice field.

Track Chair: Balagopal Vissa, INSEAD

Cross-currents of globalization and de-globalization introduce uncertainty regarding the legitimacy of the institutions that govern global economic activities. While political leaders wrestle with how their countries fit in the global political economy, their decisions ultimately have effects that cascade down to and create implications for entrepreneurial firms and their decision makers. De-globalization presents risks and uncertainties but also opens up new opportunities for entrepreneurs to create value in their domestic markets, civil societies, and institutions. Submissions to the Entrepreneurship and Strategy Interest Group are encouraged along the lines consistent with the conference theme. Questions that may address these matters include (but are not limited to): How do entrepreneurs evaluate the attractiveness of exploiting global opportunities, and what strategies can they use to mitigate the relevant risks? How does de-globalization shape entrepreneurial entry and scale-up in domestic markets? If de-globalization efforts establish formal institutional voids and inefficiencies, how can entrepreneurs innovate to provide informal adjustments with the objective of addressing these institutional problems? How are social entrepreneurs’ efforts influenced by the cross-currents of globalization and de-globalization?

Track Chair: Rebecca Kehoe, Rutgers University

The Strategic Human Capital Interest Group welcomes submissions on the influence of human capital on firm performance. Human capital represents the knowledge, skills, abilities and other attributes of individuals. The strategic management of human capital relates to how firms attract, retain, develop and organize workers, whether they are inside or outside firm boundaries. In concert with the conference theme, we are particularly interested in research that addresses the following types of questions: How do firms effectively coordinate and manage human capital across diverse geographic locations? What role does human capital mobility play in a de-globalized era and what does this mean for the global competitiveness of firms? How do firms transfer the knowledge, skills, and abilities from human capital across borders when it’s becoming more difficult to transfer the people themselves? How does a de-globalized environment affect a firm’s ability to innovate, given the human capital constraints imposed upon the firm?

Track Chair: Jonathan Bundy, Arizona State University

Stakeholder strategy research attempts to understand how firms survive and thrive by satisfying the demands of the many parties which affect or are affected by the firm. In our increasingly interconnected world, stakeholders may range from local employees and neighborhood customers to transnational entities such as the United Nations. Creating value for such diverse groups often results in tension and the need for compromise. The stakeholder perspective is therefore highly relevant in an era of shifting local and global relationships. Challenges in such a context include: the tension between value creation and the division of value; the ethics, duties, and norms associated with participating in free versus constrained markets; how firms can play a constructive role in addressing social problems, both at home and abroad; the trade-off between cooperation and competition; and fundamental questions associated with the nature and purpose of the firm. We invite you to join these and related conversations so that together we may enhance our understanding of how managers deal with the plurality of stakeholder interests that they face.

Track Chair: Giovanni Battista Dagnino, University of Rome LUMSA

Cooperative Strategies research aims to increase our understanding of key processes and structures that buttress cooperative arrangements as well as their impact on various significant outcomes at the group, organization, network, and ecosystem levels. We welcome proposal submissions that are connected to the general domain of the Cooperative Strategies Interest Group. Research on cooperative strategies increasingly relies on the emergence of digital models and decentralized decision centers fragmented in multiple locations across the world. We encourage submissions that address issues associated with how cooperative strategies can assist us in building digital business models and manage highly decentralized decision-making processes and institutions. What are the models of cooperation between/among companies and institutions that hinge on digital models? What digital models favor cooperative expansion? Can digital solutions effectively facilitate working across multiple decision-making centers and institutions? How cooperation between/among companies and institutions help to handle de-globalization risks? How do these cooperative dynamics bolster self-reinforcing evolution at the group, organization, network, and ecosystem levels?

Track Chair: Scott Graffin, University of Georgia

Strategic leaders are increasingly confronted by changes relating to globalization and de-globalization. At the same time, boards of directors play a critical role in helping organizations navigate these changes. Accordingly, a wide variety of important strategic leadership and governance research questions arise. For example: How do strategic leaders respond to changing political environments? What role do managerial characteristics, such as political orientation, influence how they respond to these changes? How do boards of directors help organizations recognize and respond to political change and turbulence? Do these changes warrant changes in terms of director selection and retention? What characteristics and backgrounds are needed from directors in response to these currents of changes? These are only a few examples of how strategic leadership and governance researchers can contribute both to the conference theme and the broader challenge of understanding how firms can operate more effectively as our world continues to evolve.

Track Chair: William Ocasio, Northwestern University

The conference theme challenges us to consider how the opportunities and threats posed by the changing global economic and political environments and the new risks and uncertainties they bring affect strategic decisions, processes, practices, and outcomes. The Behavioral Strategy Interest Group intends to contribute to this challenge by encouraging submissions that examine how the behavioral underpinnings of strategy shape strategic responses to the changing global environment. More generally we welcome proposals that ground strategic management in realistic assumptions about human cognition, emotion, social interaction, and social influence. Submissions may draw from diverse areas, including judgment and decision-making, cognitive and social psychology, managerial and organizational cognition, personality, motivation, group processes, individual and organizational learning, the behavioral theory of the firm, sense-making, identity, and culture. We further welcome a variety of methodologies, from the quantitative (experiments, mathematical modelling, simulations, statistical field and archival studies, brain imaging) to the qualitative (grounded theory, ethnography, textual analysis).

Community Tracks

Track Chair: Trevis Certo, Arizona State University

Research methods faces many challenges to make sense of an increasingly contradictory world. Strategies and long-held beliefs are being called in to question. Do the old beliefs still hold true? Or are they being replaced by new models? What works best? This year's conference theme allows us to focus on new and unconventional methodological questions and approaches, as well as the reassessment of existing tools, especially in their application to contradictory strategies. How relevant are traditional measures of firm performance? How well do metrics used by researchers match those used by managers? What are emerging methodological tools and techniques that can shift the way we ask and answer questions? What new constructs are emerging, and how should we approach them? Finally, to understand, explain, and research changes in a complex world of pressure to move forward independently vs. inter-dependently, we need to examine how we keep research methods relevant and current. While we seek proposals pertaining to the conference's theme, we welcome all those that open new perspectives on advancing research practices within the field.

Track Chair: Patricia Gorman, Ohio State University

Teaching strategy is about sharing and extending received wisdom while co-creating new insights with our students. Often the way new strategic knowledge is absorbed and applied relies heavily on “scaffolding,” or attaching new ideas and facts to a framework of existing research and beliefs. Is our strategy ‘scaffold’ still robust? Can it accommodate the complexities of the changing world order? If not, where can we make changes at the classroom or university department level? How might our field develop a broader, coordinated response? While we may have our share of theoretical and pedagogical differences, we must now contend with serious dislocations due to de-globalization. How will we adjust our teaching methods and content to address uncertainties about regulatory, legal, technological, and geopolitical forces? Will we continue to treat International Strategy as a course separate from Competitive Strategy? Will we collaborate more closely with scholars in Policy and Politics? Please share your response to how you are addressing the changes that are rocking your students’ worldviews in proposals for the Teaching Community.