As a result of growing globalization of markets and intensifying competition worldwide, international market operations have become an integral part of the corporate life of many business organizations. Academic research in international marketing has responded accordingly to this international business phenomenon. Over the past four decades, there has been a surge of scholarly journal publications in two broad domains: (1) studies examining problems and practices of firms in their endeavors to enter and penetrate foreign markets and (2) studies investigating international consumer behavior and cross-cultural issues. Various streams of research have been followed and influential articles published that have played an important role in the advancement of knowledge in international marketing. Understandably, an abundance of literature review efforts and meta-analytic studies have been conducted in order to examine, organize, and assess the body of current knowledge within specific areas or streams of research and, in some instances, to offer an evaluation of the structure of research undertaken in the general international marketing literature (for example, Leonidou et al. 2017). International marketing is an established field with long tradition, and international market operations will continue to play a vital role for many companies’ existence and long-term viability and provide significant benefits for national economies in terms of employment, productivity, and living standards improvements (Katsikeas 2018).
Constantine S. Katsikeas
Edited by Leonidas C. Leonidou, Constantine S. Katsikeas, Saeed Samiee and Constantinos N. Leonidou
This book provides an edited volume of 19 chapters focusing on socially responsible international business which are organized into six parts. Part I consists of two chapters which introduce the subject by critically reviewing the pertinent literature. Chapter 1, ‘Socially responsible international business: review, synthesis, and directions’ was written by Leonidou, Katsikeas, Samiee, and Leonidou and offers an integrative review of the extant studies on socially responsible issues published in the top six international business journals. It provides input about the key contributors and the most influential articles on the subject, as well as evaluating the theoretical underpinnings of these studies, their research methodologies, and the main thematic areas tackled. Sinkovics, Sinkovics, and Archie-Acheampong contributed Chapter 2, ‘An overview of social responsibility dimensions in international business.’ This provides an analysis of 484 studies focusing on key firm-related social responsibility issues within an international context, such as those relating to ethical practices, environmental aspects, human rights, and corruption. The results of this analysis indicate an overemphasis of the literature on positive, rather than negative, issues relating to international business social responsibility. Part II includes four chapters examining the role of the foreign external environment – particularly the institutional – on socially responsible international business. In Chapter 3, ‘Trade-offs and institutional contradictions in formulating responsible international business strategies,’ Iyer sheds light on the various trade-offs encountered by MNEs when performing their CSR strategies across countries, due to institutional differences, which may impose conflicting demands and lead to suboptimal choices. These trade-offs refer to instrumental versus non-market objectives, legal compliance versus broader norms, and voluntary versus obligatory actions relating to the firm’s socially responsible behavior. Chapter 4, ‘Institutional drivers of stakeholder engagement and legitimacy of Chinese MNEs,’ was written by Hofman, Li, Sun, and Sun. Their study focuses on Chinese MNEs when operating in Western countries and uses both stakeholder and institutional theories to examine linkages between home–host country institutional distances, stakeholder engagement, and organizational legitimacy. Shin and Oh contributed Chapter 5, ‘Cross-country comparison of corporate social performance: how do institutions matter?’, in which they examine the effect of formal and informal institutions on environmental, social, and corporate governance performance. Using empirical data from 40 different countries, these authors reveal that while a country’s formal institutions affect environmental performance, informal institutions have a significant impact on social performance. Chapter 6, ‘Re-assessing risk in international markets: a strategic, operational, and sustainability taxonomy,’ was prepared by van Tulder and Roman and enquires into the types of risks encountered by MNEs in international markets. Using a longitudinal study among firms from different countries, they reveal an increasing number of risks, particularly those relating to sustainability, which can also be regarded as opportunities or mitigation strategy.
Leonidas C. Leonidou, Constantine S. Katsikeas, Saeed Samiee and Constantinos N. Leonidou
Recent decades have witnessed growing concerns by various stakeholders regarding the social implications of international firms’ activities. This chapter systematically reviews the knowledge contained in 156 articles focusing on socially responsible international business issues, which were published in the top eight international business journals during the period 1995–2017. Our review identifies those scholars and journals that have made the greatest contribution to this line of research, as well as those articles with the greatest impact in the field. Moreover, it shows that this line of research is characterized by increasing maturity, refinement, and advancement as demonstrated by the continuous proliferation of research designs, scope of research, and study methodologies employed. Furthermore, it indicates that research on the subject has taken many diverse courses of thematic areas and topics, which have exhibited different patterns of development over time.