New Challenges for International Business Research
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New Challenges for International Business Research

Back to the Future

John H. Dunning

In this final collection of his essays, John Dunning looks back on more than 40 years of research in international business (IB), whilst at the same time considering possibilities for the future. This book includes fifteen updated chapters, many of which have not been widely accessible to the IB community until now. It provides a fascinating insight into the evolution of Professor Dunning’s thinking on some of the most important issues in the contemporary global economy, from the role of institutions in development to the moral challenges of global capitalism. Including some personal reflections, this compelling collection provides a unique perspective on the intellectual contribution from one of the field’s greatest scholars.
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Chapter 4: A New Zeitgeist for International Business Activity and Scholarship

John H. Dunning


INTRODUCTION In this chapter we will suggest that international business (IB) activity is in the midst of a new Zeitgeist – a new spirit of the age – in which the attitudes towards, motives for and the behaviour of MNEs are being both questioned and reappraised. We shall further assert that no less required is a new Zeitgeist in IB scholarship, both in respect of the issues addressed and the research methodologies pursued.1 The structure of the chapter is set out in Figure 4.1. Because of space constraints, we shall set out our arguments in bullet form without much elaboration. However, we should, at the outset state that we have no easy answers to the questions posed. Also some of our diagnoses and prescriptions are likely to be controversial. But one feature of any new Zeitgeist is that it seeks to promote more dialogue and understanding of the subject discussed, and, in this case, to identify the scholarly implications of any new trajectory of thought and action. 2. THE GLOBAL SCENARIO (CIRCA 2008) First, let us identify some of the critical characteristics of the global scenario in early 2008. ● ● We live in a world characterized by the geographical spread of market based economic systems, tempered by the intervention of national and supranational regimes to promote or enhance extramarket political, cultural or social objectives. We live in a world in which there is increasing cross-border interconnectivity between human beings and organizations. Inter alia, such interconnectivity is shown by the huge increase in all...

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