Calls for papers


International Journal of Business Environment
International Journal of Business Environment


Special Issue on: "Multinationals, Sustainability and Social Change"

Guest Editors:
Prof. Jacob Hörisch and Prof. Susanne Blazejewski, Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences, Germany

Recent years have seen growing recognition that multinational corporations (MNCs) are resourceful actors that can play a crucial role for sustainable development and social change (Salciuviene et al. 2009). However, while these roles are widely recognised, relevant theories and debates have often remained unconnected.

A key aim of this special issue is to explore the theoretical intersections around the complexities of MNCs, sustainability and social change. Diverse theoretical perspectives implicitly or explicitly address the role MNCs play in sustainable development and social change, such as (i) the growing literature on sustainability transitions (e.g. Geels 2011; Loorbach & Wijsman 2013), (ii) network theories (Webb et al. 2010, Ritvala et al. 2014), (iii) institutional change and the role of MNCs in institutional voids (e.g. Mair and Martí 2009, Pinkse and Kolk 2010, Tracey and Phillips 2011), (iv) more traditional international business perspectives (e.g. Shane & Venkataraman 2000, Birkinshaw et al. 2005, Freeman et al. 2010, Khanna & Palepu 2010, Ellis 2011, Jones 2011), and (v) complexity theory (de Lange et al. 2015). However, these theoretical approaches are primarily discussed in separate streams of literature.

Additionally, in the relatively young academic field of corporate sustainability, many theoretical concepts on possible contributions of MNCs to sustainable development have not yet sufficiently been tested empirically. This special issue therefore aims to provide a platform for linking previously unconnected streams of literature on the (positive and negative) contributions of MNCs to sustainable development and social change, as well as to discuss the relevant theoretical concepts based on new empirical insights. It will explore the manifold roles of MNCs in the institutional, environmental and social domain. Exploring this multidimensionality calls for a use of different theories, research perspectives (e.g. critical and mainstream) and methods (conceptual and empirical).

The issue will carry revised and substantially extended versions of selected papers presented at the “Multinationals and Entrepreneurship” subtheme of EGOS 2016, but we also strongly encourage researchers unable to participate in the conference to submit articles for this call.

Birkinshaw, J.; Hood, N.; Young, S. (2005): Subsidiary entrepreneurship, internal and external competitive forces, and subsidiary performance. International Business Review 14 (2), 227-248.
de Lange, D.E.; Armanios, D.; Delgado-Ceballos, J.; Sandhu, S. (2015): From Foe to Friend: Complex Mutual Adaptation of Multinational Corporations and Nongovernmental Organizations. Business & Society. DOI: 10.1177/0007650314568537.
Ellis, P.D. (2011): Social ties and international entrepreneurship: Opportunities and constraints affecting firm internationalization. Journal of International Business Studies 42 (1), 99-127.
Freeman, R. E.; Harrison, J.S.; Wicks, A.C.; Parmar, B.L.; de Colle, S. (2010): Stakeholder theory. The state of the art. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.
Geels, F. W. (2011): The mulit-level perspective on sustainability transitions: Responses to seven criticisms. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 1, 24-40.
Jones, Marian V.; Coviello, Nicole; Tang, Yee Kwan (2011): International Entrepreneurship research (1989-2009): A domain ontology and thematic analysis. In: Journal of Business Venturing 26 (6), S. 632-659.
Khanna, T.; Palepu, K. G. (2010): Winning in emerging markets: A roadmap for strategy and execution. Boston: Harvard Business Press.
Loorbach, D.; Wijsman, K. (2013): Business transition management: Exploring a new role for business in sustainability transitions. Journal of Cleaner Production 45, 20-28.
Mair, J.; Marti, I. (2009): Entrepreneurship in and around institutional voids: A case study from Bangladesh. Special Issue Ethics and Entrepreneurship 24 (5), 419-435.
Pinkse, J.; Kolk, A. (2010): Challenges and trade-offs in corporate innovation for climate change. Business Strategy and the Environment 19 (4), 261-272.
Ritvala, T.; Salmi, A.; Andersson, P. (2014): MNCs and local cross-sector partnerships: The case of a smarter Baltic Sea. International Business Review 23 (5), 942-951.
Salciuviene, L.; Chidlow, A.; Ghauri, P.N.; Nguyen, T.B. (2009): Multinational enterprises and their linkage effects on local socio-economic environments in emerging markets. International Journal of Business Environment 2 (4), 468-484.
Shane, Scott; Venkataraman, S. (2000): The Promise of Entrepreneurship as a Field of Research. In: The Academy of Management Review 25 (1), 217-226.
Tracey, P.; Jarvis, O. (2007): Toward a Theory of Social Venture Franchising. Entrepreneurship Theory & Pract 31 (5), 667-685.
Webb, J.W.; Kistruck, G.M.; Ireland, R.D.; Ketchen, D.J. (2010): The Entrepreneurship Process in Base of the Pyramid Markets: The Case of Multinational Enterprise/Nongovernment Organization Alliances. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 34 (3), 555-581.

Subject Coverage
We invite contributions that empirically and/or theoretically address the theme of the special issue. Exemplary topics are displayed in the following non-conclusive list:

  • MNCs and sustainable development
    • When and how does multinationality enable (or prevent) the sustainable evolution of corporations, corporate sectors and national standards?
    • Interaction of MNCs with local and national proponents of social and sustainable development
    • Stakeholder theory perspectives on MNCs and sustainability
    • The role of MNCs in shaping discourses on sustainability issues
    • The role of MNCs in transferring and diffusing sustainability practices across countries (e.g. GRI)
    • MNCs as social and sustainable entrepreneurs
    • New actor constellations and interaction patterns between MNCs and other sustainable/social entre-/intrapreneurs
    • MNCs as drivers, facilitators or obstacles of sustainable and social entre-/intrapreneurship and of sustainable development.
  • MNCs and institutional/social entrepreneurship
    • When and how do MNCs act as institutional/social entrepreneurs?
    • The role of institutional embeddedness, diversity (e.g. kind of market economies) and contradiction for the ability and motivation of MNCs to transform or protect institutions
    • MNCs as drivers, facilitators or obstacles of institutional change, social transition and development in emerging markets
    • The role of MNCs in major institutional change projects such as TTIP

Notes for Prospective Authors

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. (N.B. Conference papers may only be submitted if the paper has been completely re-written and if appropriate written permissions have been obtained from any copyright holders of the original paper).

All papers are refereed through a peer review process.

All papers must be submitted online. To submit a paper, please read our Submitting articles page.

Important Dates

Manuscripts due by: 15 November, 2016