AIB Insights Focused Issue

IB Research Methods: Insights for and from Practice.  Call for Papers Special Issue of AIB Insights

Co Editors: Drs. Emma Gardner, Roberta Aguzzoli, and John M. Mezias

The international business (IB) environment is complex, uncertain, and fast-paced, presenting empirical challenges for researchers seeking to understand it. At the same time, research methods are rapidly changing and innovations proliferating: for example, big data and machine learning, netnography and visual research methods. Our aim in this special issue is to consider the implications of these changing dynamics to IB practitioners, IB researchers, and IB students, all of whom must use research to inform decision-making in this volatile global environment.

This theme for the special issue also revisits the longstanding debate about how to increase the relevance, not just the rigor, of management research (e.g., Ghoshal, 2005; Gulati, 2007). In IB, such calls can be traced back to Behrman (Behrman and Levin, 1984; Behrman, 2006). Recently, Buckley et al.’s (2017) call to address grand challenges of the international business environment argues the importance of pursuing phenomenon-driven research that is of greater relevance to business practitioners, governments, and to societies (see also Doh, 2017).

Accordingly, a goal of this issue is to consider how methodologies used to investigate IB contexts could improve relevance and not just rigor of IB research. We invite contributors to explore how IB research methods and IB practice can better inform each other. Topics may include the following.

Practical applications of IB research methods:

  • Reviewing IB research methods suited to different forms of collaborative and participative inquiry
  • Case studies of successful examples of collaborative inquiry in international contexts
  • Case studies of embedding industry engagement in doctoral research programs to foster academic-industry collaboration in international contexts

Teaching research methods to IB practitioners:

  • Reporting on curriculum innovations to enhance IB research methods skills of current and future professionals involved in cross-border business
  • Reviews of books and other resources useful in developing the research methods skills of IB students

Learning from research innovations in multinational organizational settings:

  • Reporting on innovations in research methods originating from multinational corporations, governments, and multilateral settings that focus on their implications for IB research
  • Understanding how organizations are using research methods in cross-border settings

Submission Process and Timeline

AIB Insights is the Academy of International Business official publication that provides an outlet for short (around 2500 words), interesting, topical, current and thought-provoking articles. Colleagues interested in submitting to this Special Issue should consult the AIB Insights Editorial Policy and use the Online Manuscript Submission System, both of which can be accessed via Please mention “Special Issue: Research Methods” in your cover letter when submitting your manuscript.

Timeline: Please submit your work on or before October 31, 2020. Expected publication is in the first half of 2021.


Behrman, J.N. and Levin, R.I. 1984. Are business schools doing their jobs? Harvard Business Review, 62, 140-147.

Behrman, J.N. 2006. A career in the early limbo of international business: Policy, Research and Education. Journal of International Business Studies, 37(3), 432-444.

Buckley, P.J., Doh, JP. & Benischke, M.H. 2017. Towards a renaissance in international business research? Big questions, grand challenges, and the future of IB scholarship. Journal of International Business Studies, 48(9), 1045-1064.

Doh, J. 2017. Phenomenon-based research in international business: Making IB relevant again. AIB Insights, 17(2), 14-16.

Ghoshal, S. 2005. Bad management theories are destroying good management practices. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4(1), 75-91.

Gulati, R. 2007. Tent poles, tribalism, and boundary spanning: The rigor-relevance debate in management research. Academy of Management Journal, 50(4), 775-782.