What is the Purpose of This Workshop?
This year’s conference theme ‘Beyond Diversity and Inclusion: Equity and Fairness in International Business (IB) research’ draws attention to the fertile meeting ground between IB and the field of Organizational Behaviour (OB). Although IB is an interdisciplinary field, its theoretical anchor has primarily been economics rather than OB.
The purpose of this professional development workshop is to bring the two fields together into productive dialogue. Much of the extant research on micro-level topics in IB tends to apply established theories from OB to cross-border contexts. IB offers a rich multi-level context for validating and extending existing theories in OB. IB has frequently served as a rigorous testing ground for OB theories in terms of their boundary conditions, moderating factors, and mediating variables. These studies incorporate valuable context-specific variables into existing models and specify the boundary conditions of these models. While this approach enhances our understanding of focal phenomena, the basic explanatory mechanisms and underlying assumptions of the theories tend to remain intact.
Thus, the purpose of this professional development workshop is to take a step further by focusing on theoretical foundations as opposed to theory applications in the meeting of IB and OB. For example, in the area of global leadership research, there are two streams of research – “gL” and “Gl.” The former stream focuses on leadership (Big L) and treats global (little g) as “just another context”. In doing so, it downplays the distinctive and transformative effect of the global environment on leadership. The latter stream, in turn, focuses on the distinctive environmental conditions of the global environment (Big G), thereby downplaying the rich theoretical offerings and possible unexamined assumptions of mainstream leadership (little l) theory. We believe here lies an opportunity to enrich both streams of research through contextual theorizing. This approach embraces context as an explanatory mechanism, not only as descriptive material. It aims at building distinctive theories of complex phenomena instead of general theories in OB. Contextual theorizing also recognizes the need for multiple levels of analysis that are often present in IB studies. Furthermore, accounting for variations over time and across space is seen as key for producing plausible theoretical accounts. This workshop offers a forum for dialogue across disciplinary boundaries and opportunity to surface underlying assumptions of the theories that we use in researching the intersection of IB and OB.