Pushing the frontiers of critical international business studies: The multinational as a neo-imperial space

M. Boussebaa, Glenn Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (SciVal)
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Purpose: This paper aims to discuss the context- and power-sensitive approach to the study of multinationals that has emerged in the last decade, argues for the need to supplement it by a clearer focus on the wider geopolitical context in which multinationals operate and outlines the implications for the development of IB research in this area. Design/methodology/approach: The paper provides a summary overview of context- and power-sensitive studies of multinationals before proposing a research agenda for the next decade. In particular, it argues for the need to combine the institutionalist angle taken by context/power analyses with post-colonial theory as a means of bringing geopolitics into the study of multinationals, a task that CPoIB is well positioned to accomplish. Findings: The paper identifies a lack of "criticality" in context/power research and, in particular, a lack of attention to the neo-imperial character of multinationals with specific regards to their management and organisation. Research limitations/implications: The implications of this paper are that the nature of contemporary multinationals is further illuminated, especially their role in (re-)producing (neo-)imperial relations in a supposedly post-colonial world. Further, the paper suggests an agenda for future research on the relationship between imperialism and multinationals. Originality/value: The value of the paper is in drawing together more closely the study of multinationals as organizational structures and political systems with the history of imperialism and contemporary post-colonial theorising.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-106
Number of pages11
JournalCritical Perspectives on International Business
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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