Dear colleagues,

We are excited to chair the conference track – Dynamics, Change and Processes in International Business – at AIB 2024 in Seoul. As we all know, the world economy is experiencing unanticipated disruptions. The frequency and pace of changes in the global environment are at an unprecedented level and greatly influence the way firms are engaging in cross-border activities. Making sense of such contextual changes requires IB researchers to adopt research approaches suitable to theorizing dynamics and processes. However, the methodological difficulties involved in collecting and analysing longitudinal data as well as the dominant paradigmatic assumptions that portray dynamic processes as a special topic, rather than natural, everyday, features of the world, have created substantial challenges in advancing knowledge. Against this backdrop, we called for more research embracing dynamic processes as a central theme. IB researchers have responded to this call, and we received an exceptionally high number of submissions. We observed three key themes underlying these submissions as follows.

First, several submissions problematize and rethink central concepts in IB theories by adopting different paradigmatic assumptions. For example, in a panel discussion chaired by Eleanor Westney, panellists will give an interactive discussion on how IB scholars might gain insights from focusing on understanding change and stability at the industry level, rather than seeing industry primarily as a control variable in firm-level studies. By conducting a problematization review, Plakoyiannaki and colleagues (submission 747) uncover the dominant onto-epistemological assumptions that underpin conceptualisations of space in the IB literature, and call for “viewing space as a social product that simultaneously combines geography and history.” Continuing with the theme of space, Ritvala and colleagues (submission 876) bring attention to the materiality of space. By studying the physical HQ buildings, they show how these buildings “are like storytellers” that shape an MNE’s identity and visions of the future.

Second, several studies infuse dynamism in extant theories and/or take processual approaches to traditional IB topics. For example, Celo (submission 442) reconceptualises the MNE as a complex adaptive system, while Lagerström and colleagues (submission 1313) take a dialectical perspective to theorize the unfolding of the subsidiary initiative process.

Finally, several papers unveil the unfolding of IB phenomena over time by conducting longitudinal studies particularly with historical approaches. For example, Sammartino and colleagues (submission 1040) explore de-globalization in Australia during the period 1914-1979, showing the resilience of MNEs in the face of deglobalization. Teresa Da Silva Lopes and co-panellists will discuss how historical perspectives can contribute to understanding current geo-political fragmentation and provide theoretical and practical implications for IB research.

We have many more sessions that should stimulate our understanding of dynamics and processes pertinent to IB research. We hope that you participate in these sessions and share your insights and expertise.

Ziad Elsahn & Jisun Yu
AIB 2024 Conference Track Co-Chairs