Pushing the Frontiers of Critical International Business Studies: The Multinational as a Neo-imperial Space

Mehdi Boussebaa, Glenn Morgan

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    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
    JournalCritical Perspectives on International Business
    Issue number1/2
    Pages (from-to)96-106
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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