Friedman on the Purpose of the Corporation at 50

15 09 2020

Fifty years ago, Milton Friedman published his frequently debated essay on the purpose of the corporation in the New York Times Magazine. In it, Friedman attached the idea that it was the job of business executives to use firm resource to address social issues such as racial discrimination and pollution by arguing forcefully that their job was solely to make profits for the shareholders. The anniversary of the essay has been marked with a flurry of online publications (see here, here, and here). Fairly typical of these comments on Friedman’s legacy were the words of Anand Giridharadas, who described Friedman as a “capital supremacist” and declared that “Today in America someone will be laid off right after his or her company announced record earnings. Someone’s hours will be cut without notice. Someone’s water will be poisoned by fracking. And among the pantheon of villains they can thank is Milton Friedman.”

Portrait of Milton Friedman.jpg:, CC0,

I’m struck by the tendency of most of the writers who have participated in this debate to assume that Friedman’s essay was influential, that it caused changes in corporate behaviour. I certainly do not dispute that ideas have consequences and that business intellectuals such as Friedman can have an influence on the real world of material conditions by changing the thinking of decision-makers. However, I’ve noticed an absence of serious historical research on the question of how influential Friedman’s ideas were. Such research would begin by answering really simple questions such as “how many people paid attention to Friedman’s essay at the time it was published? How many letters to the editor did it prompt?”

As scholars who wish to speak to practitioners whilst remaining rigorous, we need to think about what sorts of research methods would allow us to determine the actual influence of Friedman and other writers on the shareholder value revolution of the 1980s. Perhaps the revolution would have happened in the absence of their writings, as Prof. Brian Cheffins has suggested?

Trying to determine the real-world impact of academic writings about business is an issue that I have been wrestling with for some time (for theoretical considerations on the role of ideational factors in historical change, please see the co-authored paper I published in Economic and Industrial Democracy). I haven’t published on Friedman’s 1970 article and its role, if any, in the shareholder value revolution, but I have looked that reception of the text that helped to shape the predecessor ideology that shaped American corporate governance from the 1920s to the late 1970s, namely The Modern Corporation and Private Property (see here and here).

In a recent paper in which they reflected on Friedman’s theory of corporate purpose, Oliver Hart and Luigi Zingales (2017, p. 19) observed that the SEC may have contributed to the rise of the shareholder value ideology (shareholder primacy principle). The SEC rules limit the extent to which social and ethical issues can be discussed at company AGMs which, according to Hart and Zingales, have helped to produce a business culture in which there is an amoral focus on profit maximization.

Ironically, in the United States proxy access rules are not designed to solve this problem—if anything they go in the opposite direction. Under rule 14a-8, the SEC requirement to include shareholders’ proposals in companies’ proxy material is limited to “proper subjects for action.” The SEC later opined that “proposals which deal with general political, social or
economic matters are not, within the meaning of the Rule, ‘proper subjects for action by security holders’”. Consistent with this approach, in 1951 a federal court upheld the exclusion of a proposal seeking desegregation of buses as an improper subject for shareholders (Peck v. Greyhound, 97 F. Supp. 679, 680, S.D.N.Y. 1951). In 1954, the SEC added the “ordinary
business” exclusion, which further limited the ability of shareholders to introduce social considerations in proxy ballots. In the late 1970’s the SEC introduced the idea that the “ordinary business exclusion” would not apply to matters with significant policy implications, such as tobacco to minors,
nuclear power and the like (Andersen
[SIC], 2016). The effective boundaries of this public policy exception are heavily litigated to this day (see the Walmart case mentioned above). Overall, it is fair to say that law and regulation have not helped to prevent the amoral drift.

The passage I have quoted above suggests that the chain of causation that links Friedman’s ideas with the shareholder value revolution may run through the SEC and indicates a new avenue of business-historical research.

EBHA E-Congress, September 10 and 11, 2020

30 08 2020

The European Business History Association conference was supposed to take place in Nagoya, Japan this month. It has been postponed for a year because of the pandemic. The EBHA has organised a small but excellent e-conference at which I will be speaking about the challenges of online teaching.  The keynote address will be delivered by Martin Wolf, a Financial Times columnist who is a great defender of globalization, international trade, and liberal values. The title of the e-conference is “Globalization Challenged”.  Please register here.

EBHA E-Congress, September 10 and 11, 2020
Hosted by CUNEF – Madrid (Zoom Platform)

After registration, you will receive a link to the Zoom platform (same link for all the congress, except
Globalization Challenged

Thursday, September 10 th, 2020
Session 1
4.00 – 5.30 pm CEST
Introduction and Chair: Andrea Colli, EBHA President
Keynote Speech, Martin Wolf, Financial Times
Discussant: Teresa Da Silva Lopes, EBHA Vice-president

Friday, September 11th, 2020
Session 2
10.00-11.45 am CEST
Introduction and Chair: Bram Bouwens
Globalization Challenged: the perspective of Business History
1) Tomasz Olejniczak, Kozminski University (Warsaw) Department of Management
2) Grace Ballor, Harvard Business School
3) Ann-Kristine Bergquist, Department of Economic History, Umeå University
4) Edoardo Altamura, Department of International History, Graduate Institute of International and
Development Studies (Geneva)

12.00-12.45 am CEST: EBHA AGM (in a separate virtual room)
Registration required (EBHA members only):
2.30-4.00 pm

Virtual Roundtable “Teaching Business History in Distance Learning” Coordinator: Maiju Wuokko
Same Zoom address than the Congress

Koyama on State Capacity and the Response of Western Nations to Coronavirus

29 08 2020

Over at Works in Progress, economic historian Mark Koyama has published a thoughtful essay that draws on the historical research on state capacity to explain why Western nations, particularly the United States, have handled the pandemic less effectively than many East Asian countries.

State capacity refers to the ability of the state to enact and enforce its policies. It is often broken down into two components: fiscal capacity – the state’s ability to raise revenue via taxation without mass evasion – and administrative or legal capacity – the ability to create and enforce its rules. Fiscal capacity matters because a state needs revenue in order to operate. Administrative or legal capacity matters because it is what allows states to actually operationalize their policy goals. While the analogy is not perfect, in a meaningful sense state capacity can be thought of as a form of capital: it requires investment to build, and it can easily deteriorate and corrode.

Koyama shows that while the US is a rich country, its level of state capacity is somewhat lower than what one would predict just by looking at GDP per capita alone and that this weak state capacity helps to explain why the death toll in the US is so appallingly high.

I like Koyama use of the concept of state capacity as it cuts through the standard nostrums of both the political right and the political left and uses historical and comparative data to help us to think about the capacity of governments to competently deliver public goods.

Works in Progress has recently published a couple of good pieces by researchers that use the concept of state capacity to understand current events (see here and here).




Scott Sumner on Pro-Brexit Intellectuals

28 08 2020

One of my favourite academic bloggers is Scott Sumner. I find that his analysis of economic policy is characterised by a very reasonable, evidence-based perspective, intelligent application of theory, good awareness of developments in China, and refreshingly non-parochial point of view.

In a recent blog post, he observes that the public intellectuals who advocated for Brexit in 2016 did so on the grounds that leaving the UK would somehow turn the UK into a deregulated, free-market type society of the type favoured by US libertarians, Brexit, or at least the Conservative governments that are in charge of the Brexit process appears to be moving the UK in the opposite direction–away from a Thatcherite belief in the superiority of markets over states. The Boris Johnson government has done a little bit of deregulation in the area of local planning reform but it generally speaking a collectivist sort of Conservative government that is intent on using the powers of the state to reduce income inequality, increase the role of public ownership in the economy, and redistribute wealth to the poorer regions that voted Leave. Johnson government has moved in the quasi-socialist system, which is exactly what libertarian opponents of Brexit such as Bjorn Lomborg predicted when he wrote a blog post in 2016 that attacked Brexit.

Sumner argues that the drift of the UK towards collectivist conservatism is because the largely working class people in traditionally Labour towns who voted for Brexit were motivated by opposition to immigration rather than any desire to roll back the state. I think that this statement is largely correct, but I think that Sumner is mistaken when he says that the intellectuals who supported Brexit generally did so on libertarian grounds related to the alleged tendency of the EU to impose lots of regulations on business. It is true that some of the public intellectuals who spoke in favour of Brexit, such as Viscount Ridley, did so using language that would likely appeal to US libertarians, and in online fora that are frequently read in the United States, but many of the other public intellectuals who spoke in 2016 in favour of Brexit (the historians Andrew Roberts  and Alan Sked) did so using arguments that were about sovereignty and  national identity that had nothing to do with debates about the role of state in the economy. It should also not be forgotten that many old school social democrats who opposed UK membership in the EEC in the 1970s and 1980s also supported Brexit, albeit more quietly in 2016.

Bottom line: only some of the public intellectuals who supported Brexit in 2016 did so on libertarian grounds and they were probably not that influential in the UK, no matter how many readers they would have in the US.

Big Tech: Monopoly’s Second Moment? The Evolution and Trajectory of Government Policy and Corporate Strategy

25 08 2020

Co-sponsored by Long Run Initiative (LRI) and the Wilson/Currie Chair in Canadian Business History, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.

This free half-day conference focuses on one of the great public policy challenges of our time: the power of Big Tech. Across the North Atlantic world, governments and publics are coming to grips with the implications of just how large and powerful the FAANG companies – Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google (Alphabet) – have become.

Bringing together academics, policy makers and corporate executives for evidence-led discussions on this key 21st century challenge, the conference also explores how our experience with historical monopolies can provide meaningful insight.

We are pleased to welcome as our keynote guests Hon. Dr. Kevin Lynch, former clerk of the Privy Council, and Dr. Richard Langlois, Professor of Economics, University of Connecticut, who will each feature in a virtual fireside conversation. The event will also include two panel discussions with participants drawn from the senior ranks of government and business. Each session will include time for audience questions.

The event will also include two panel discussions with participants drawn from the senior ranks of government and business. The first panel will address the international perspective on Big Tech and anti-trust. The second panel will address possible Canadian responses, in both public policy and corporate strategy. Each session will include time for audience questions.


Date and Time

Friday, October 2, 2020
8:30 am – 12:30 pm ET


Registration is required for this online event.

Register here →

This conference is co-hosted by the Wilson/Currie Chair in Canadian Business History, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, and Long Run Initiative (LRI), a not-for-profit initiative which organizes short, high-impact roundtable events for academic experts, business leaders and public policymakers to reflect on and discuss parallels from the past and consider how these lessons apply to their own organizations.




8:30 – 8:40 am
Conference Co-Chairs
Dr. Dimitry Anastakis, The Wilson/Currie Chair in Canadian Business History, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
Dr. Laurence B. Mussio, Co-Founder & Director, Long Run Initiative (LRI)

8:40 – 9:00 am
Hunting the Big Five: Twenty-First Century Anti-Trust in Historical Perspective
Dr. Richard Langlois, Professor of Economics, University of Connecticut
Dr. Dimitry Anastakis, Rotman School of Management

9:00 – 10:20 am
The tension between oligopolistic technology firms reflects one of the most compelling episodes of anti-trust debate in corporate history, with long-term implications for today and the future. Attempts to rein in anti-competitive behaviour in the United States and the European Union are complicated by the evolving legal landscape, various nationalist pressures, and broader questions over the role of the state in regulating technology, culture, information. Questions also arise about the very nature of consumption. This session will address how governments and these companies are responding to the challenges.

Dr. Gillian Hadfield, Director, Schwartz-Reisman Institute, University of Toronto
Ms. Claudette McGowan, Global Executive Officer for Cyber Security, TD Bank
Mr. Victor Tung, Executive Vice President U.S Chief Technology & Operations Officer & Chief Operating Officer, BMO Financial Group
Dr. Michael Aldous, Senior Lecturer, Queen’s Management School, Queen’s University, Belfast

Mr. David Walmsley, Editor-in-Chief, The Globe and Mail

10:20 – 10:40 am
10:40 – 11:00 am
Anti-Trust in a Digital World: Do Old Problems Require New Solutions?
The Hon. Dr. Kevin G. Lynch, P.C., O.C., Ph.D., LL.D, Former Clerk of the Privy Council
Dr. Laurence B. Mussio, Long Run Initiative

11:00 – 12:20 pm
What are the possible Canadian responses, in both public policy and corporate strategy, to the grand challenges posed by Big Tech and the corporate or institutional forms it takes? The challenges are multifaceted: they are also made more complex for countries outside the superpower or bloc structure (USA, China, EU) whose companies and governments have to find a middle way with relatively limited leverage. This session will discuss the various aspects of a global challenge in a national context.

Mr. Simon Kennedy, Deputy Minister, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Mr. Lawson A.W. Hunter, Senior Counsel, Stikeman Elliott LLP
Professor Taylor Owen, Max Bell School of Public Policy & Beaverbrook Chair in Media, Ethics and Communications, McGill University
Dr. Elizabeth Acorn, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Political Science, University of Toronto

David Skok, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, The Logic

12:20 – 12:30 pm
Conference Co-Chairs
Dr. Laurence B. Mussio, Long Run Initiative
Dr. Dimitry Anastakis, Rotman School of Management

JWB SI That Will Interest Many Business Historians

10 08 2020

AS: Many business historians, particularly those who operate at the intersection of business history and international business, explore how managers have responded to past episodes of de-globalization. The metanarrative that informs this research is that the global economy has experienced waves of globalization and deglobalization over the last few centuries. Since 2008, and particularly since November 2016, there has been a great deal of attention paid to the thesis that we are now in another period of deglobalization. While the de-internationalization and de-globalization are not exactly the same thing, the two concepts are linked. For this reason, I suspect that many readers of this blog will be interested in this Special Issue.



Journal of World Business

A Special Issue on

“Cycles and Waves of Internationalisation: Determinants and Consequences of De-Internationalization and Re-Internationalization”

Submissions open July 1, 2021; submissions due July 31, 2021


Guest Editors:

Mario Kafouros, University of Manchester, UK

Tamer Cavusgil, Georgia State University, USA

Timothy Devinney, University of Manchester, UK

Panagiotis Ganotakis, University of Liverpool, UK

James Love, University of Leeds, UK


Supervising Editor:

Stav Fainshmidt, Florida International University, US



Special Issue Overview

International business scholars have examined various aspects of the process through which large MNEs but also small entrepreneurial firms internationalize. Although the vast majority of studies concentrate on how and why firms expand their foreign operations or under what conditions they perform well in home and foreign markets (Richard et al., 2009; Kafouros and Aliyev, 2016; Liesch et al., 2007; Lu at al., 2018), the literature has largely ignored the fact that firms’ internationalization is rarely a simple forward-moving process. Rather, it often involves various cycles and waves of internationalization that may include a reduction in the intensity or scope of international activities or even a complete withdrawal from foreign markets. These phases of de-internationalization can be followed by a subsequent increase in international activities or by re-entering international markets (Chen et al., 2019; Surdu et al., 2018). The limited focus on the cycles and waves of firms’ internationalization is also reflected in prior theories, including the sequential approach to internationalization or the international new venture theory (Johanson and Vahlne, 2009; Oviatt and McDougall, 1994), that implicitly assume that internationalization is a non-reversible process (Bernini et al., 2016). Nevertheless, a better understanding of international business rests not only on studying internationalization, but also de-internationalization and re-internationalization (Berry, 2013; Mohr et al., 2018; Soule et al., 2014).



The aim of this special issue is to advance IB theory and empirical knowledge about the determinants and consequences of cycles and waves of firm internationalization including different forms of de-internationalization and re-internationalization. Contributions about such determinants and consequences are encouraged to include different levels of analysis, including the firm, market, industry and state actors. 



Regardless of the mode of entry adopted (e.g., exporting, Joint Ventures, WOS), firms can increase or decrease their presence in foreign markets, exit and even re-enter markets at a later point in time (D’ Angelo et al., 2020; Gaur et al., 2019; Yang et al., 2017; Welch and Welch, 2009). Therefore, firms do not merely adopt a mere linear approach to internationalization. Instead, they often choose to fluctuate their foreign market involvement (Vissak and Francioni, 2013). Although such waves and cycles and various forms of de and re-internationalization occur very frequently, the reasons behind the reduction (and subsequent increase) in international operations but also the consequences of different forms of de and re-internationalization have not been examined to the extent that they ought to (Bernini et al., 2016).


For instance, although MNEs make long-term commitments in foreign markets through FDI (e.g., by acquiring or setting up new subsidiaries; Wang et al., 2012), divestment of such foreign assets occurs at half the rate of investments (Chung et al., 2013). Yet, the majority of recent work has been carried out in the area of FDI and only limited work has looked at the determinants or consequences of different types of divestments (Berry, 2013; Dachs et al., 2019; Konara and Ganotakis, 2020; Lee et al., 2019; Mohr et al., 2020; Rodrigues and Dieleman, 2018). For example, when it comes to the retention of foreign subsidiaries, recent studies have highlighted the important role played by the innovative capabilities that subsidiaries possess (Konara and Ganotakis, 2020), the scope and uniqueness of a subsidiary’s mandate portfolio (Lee et al., 2019) and that of foreign market characteristics (Berry , 2013). Other studies have examined the backshoring of manufacturing activities and how this is influenced by the adoption of new production technologies (Cachs et al., 2019) or how governmental control can reduce the international operations of multinational state hybrids (Rodrigues and Dieleman, 2018). Finally, a few studies have examined how the negotiating process between seller and buyer under different industry conditions can influence the outcome of a divestment taking place (Fuad and Gaur, 2019).


Despite of those important contributions, we still have an incomplete understanding of the range of internal, external and institutional factors that affect different forms of divestment and, importantly, how the interaction between those factors influences de- and re-internationalization. The importance of studying not only the determinants but also the consequences of de- and re-internationalization is evident from recent international disintegration events, such as Brexit, that have led to a number of foreign MNEs exiting or considering exit from the UK, with possible adverse effects not only on employment but also on knowledge transfer and economic competitiveness (Andersson et al., 2016; Cumming and Zahra, 2016; Kafouros et al., 2018; Sampson, 2017).


As with FDI and divestment, firms that use non-equity methods of internationalization, such as exporting, do not always maintain a constant presence abroad. Rather they tend to either completely exit foreign markets without re-entering, or exit and later re-enter the same or different markets (Chen et al., 2019; Love and Ganotakis, 2013). The process of exit and re-entry can be repeated a number of times over a certain time period (Bernini et al., 2016; Love and Manez, 2019). The importance of uncovering the reasons behind exiting export markets and subsequent re-entry but also the effects of those activities on a number of firm level outcomes, is emphasized by the eminent and possible pro-longed global financial crisis and reduced global demand (Bamiatzi et al., 2016; Konara and Ganotakis, 2020) resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. Second, its importance is also highlighted from recent trade protectionism trends, resulting in an increase in the prices of intermediate and final products as well as changes to firms’ supply chain networks (Amiti et al., 2019).


Exploring the reasons behind re-internationalization is as important as investigating the determinants of de-internationalization. By re-entering foreign markets, firms can salvage prior tangible and intangible sunk costs, capture emerging opportunities as well as new or cheaper resources and hence improve future performance (Chen et al., 2019). However, re-internationalization is a more complex process (Javalgi et al., 2011) than initial market entry because the decision will be influenced by the type of experience gained during the exit (but also the time-out) period (Bernini et al., 2016; Surdu et al., 2019). Such experience can be the result of critical events, or it can be the outcome of a willing strategic decision (Vissak and Francioni, 2013). In the former case, this might mean that firms will hesitate to re-enter markets despite of the existence of new untapped opportunities (Javalgi et al., 2011). It is important therefore not only to examine what enables or constraints firms from re-entering foreign markets, but also to methodologically and conceptually distinguish between the reasons that led to exiting and take those into account when re-entry is examined.


Finally, even if firms maintain their presence in foreign markets, they do not always increase their commitment in those markets as the stage process to internationalization would suggest. However, they can also decrease their presence, either by reducing the level of sales or by changing the mode of internationalization into a less resource intensive one (D’Angelo et al., 2020; Surdu et al., 2019). Nevertheless, we still have a rather incomplete understanding of the effects that such changes have on the short- and long-term performance of firms.


Objectives of this Special Issue

  • To increase understanding of the various cycles and waves of internationalization and, more specifically, why firms engage in various forms of de-internationalization and re-internationalization.
  • To identify the determinants and consequences of de-internationalization and re-internationalization using different levels of analysis – such as the firm, market, industry and state level.
  • To account for, and ideally incorporate, de-internationalization and re-internationalization in existing IB theory where appropriate and as a basis for new theoretical perspectives where needed.
  • To increase understanding of the relationship between de-internationalization and re-internationalization.
  • To understand how the various forms of de-internationalization (e.g., complete and partial exit from markets, reduction in sales intensity, change in mode of entry) depend on the initial market entry mode and how understanding this can advance theorization in IB.


Illustrative Topics

Exemplary research questions within the intended scope of this Special Issue include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • What internal to the firm (e.g., resources, capabilities) but also external factors (e.g., institutional and market related changes) contribute towards de-internationalization and re-internationalization depending on the foreign mode of entry that a firm has adopted?
  • How do internal and external factors interact to increase or decrease the likelihood of de-internationalization and re-internationalization?
  • What is the role of different forms of foreign experiential knowledge (e.g., marketing, business, institutional) in the de-internationalization process?
  • What is the effect of de-internationalization at different firm-level outcomes such as performance and innovation?
  • How does de-internationalization affect different aspects of firm performance depending on whether the exit was forced (as a result of a critical incident) or was part of a proactive strategic decision?
  • What decision making process do acquiring and divesting parties follow to deal with issues linked to uncertainty, information asymmetry/costs and the disclosure of technological knowledge and intangible assets under different industry conditions?
  • How do host and home country institutions and governmental intervention or control influence the de- and re-internationalization activities of MNEs?
  • How do firms gain more from the adoption of new production technologies during the backshoring process?
  • How is the way that a firm exited a market and the experience gained, linked with the likelihood of re-entry and the mode that will be used in order to re-enter that market or a different one?
  • What kind of internal changes firms need to carry out in order to re-start international operations once those have been stopped?
  • How do firms allocate and restructure internal and external resources to increase the likelihood that they will re-enter export markets and perform well?
  • Do firms that exited and then re-entered foreign markets achieve higher levels of performance in relation to newly entrants?




Amiti, M., Redding, S.J., & Weinstein, D.E. (2019). The Impact of the 2018 Tariffs on Prices and Welfare. Journal of Economic Perspectives33(4), 187-210.

Andersson, U., Dasí, Á., Mudambi, R., & Pedersen, T. (2016). Technology, innovation and knowledge: The importance of ideas and international connectivity. Journal of World Business51(1), 153-162.

Bamiatzi, V., Bozos, K., Cavusgil, S.T., & Hult, G.T.M. (2016). Revisiting the firm, industry, and country effects on profitability under recessionary and expansion periods: A multilevel analysis. Strategic Management Journal37(7), 1448-1471.

Bernini, M., Du, J., & Love, J.H. (2016). Explaining intermittent exporting: Exit and conditional re-entry in export markets. Journal of International Business Studies47(9), 1058-1076.

Berry, H. (2013). When do firms divest foreign operations?. Organization Science24(1), 246-261.

Cavusgil, S. T. and Knight, G. (2015). The Born-Global Firm: An Entrepreneurial and Capabilities Perspective on Early and Rapid Internationalization, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 46, No. 1 (2015), 3-16.

Chen, J., Sousa, C.M., & He, X. (2019). Export market re-entry: Time-out period and price/quality dynamisms. Journal of World Business54(2), 154-168.

Chung, C.C., Lee, S.H., Beamish, P.W., Southam, C., & Nam, D.D. (2013). Pitting real options theory against risk diversification theory: International diversification and joint ownership control in economic crisis. Journal of World Business48(1), 122-136.

Cumming, D.J., & Zahra, S.A. (2016). International business and entrepreneurship implications of Brexit. British Journal of Management27(4), 687-692.

D’Angelo, A., Ganotakis, P., & Love, J.H. (2020). Learning by exporting under fast, short-term changes: The moderating role of absorptive capacity and foreign collaborative agreements. International Business Review, 101687.

Dachs, B., Kinkel, S., & Jäger, A. (2019). Bringing it all back home? Backshoring of manufacturing activities and the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies. Journal of World Business54(6), 101017.

Freeman, S. and Cavusgil, S. T. (2007). Towards a Typology of Commitment States among Managers of Born Global Firms: A Study of Accelerated Internationalization, Journal of International Marketing, Vol. 15, No. 4 (2007) 1-40.

Fuad, M., & Gaur, A.S. (2019). Merger waves, entry-timing, and cross-border acquisition completion: A frictional lens perspective. Journal of World Business54(2), 107-118.

Gaur, A.S., Pattnaik, C., Singh, D., & Lee, J.Y. (2019). Internalization advantage and subsidiary performance: The role of business group affiliation and host country characteristics. Journal of International Business Studies50(8), 1253-1282.

Javalgi, R.R.G., Deligonul, S., Dixit, A., & Cavusgil, S.T. (2011). International market reentry: A review and research framework. International Business Review20(4), 377-393.

Johanson, J., & Vahlne, J.E. (2009). The Uppsala internationalization process model revisited: From liability of foreignness to liability of outsidership. Journal of International Business Studies40(9), 1411-1431.

Kafouros, M., & Aliyev, M., 2016. Institutional development and firm profitability in transition economies. Journal of World Business51(3), 369-378.

Kafouros, M., Wang, C., Mavroudi, E., Hong, J., & Katsikeas, C.S. (2018). Geographic dispersion and co-location in global R&D portfolios: Consequences for firm performance. Research Policy47(7), 1243-1255.

Kiss, A., Danis, W. and Cavusgil, S. T. (2012). International Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies: A Critical Review and Research Agenda,” Journal of Business Venturing, Vol. 27, Number 2 (2012), 266-290.

Konara, P., & Ganotakis, P. (2020). Firm-specific resources and foreign divestments via selloffs: Value is in the eye of the beholder. Journal of Business Research110, 423-434.

Lee, H., Chung, C.C., & Beamish, P.W. (2019). Configurational characteristics of mandate portfolios and their impact on foreign subsidiary survival. Journal of World Business54(5), 100999.

Liesch, P.W., Weerawardena, J., Mort, G.S., Knight, G.A., & Kastelle, T. (2007). Editors’ Introduction to ‘The Early and Rapid Internationalization of the Firm’, Special Issue of the. Journal of World Business42(3), 232-35.

Love, J.H., & Ganotakis, P. (2013). Learning by exporting: Lessons from high-technology SMEs. International Business Review22(1), 1-17.

Love, J.H., & Máñez, J.A. (2019). Persistence in exporting: Cumulative and punctuated learning effects. International Business Review28(1), 74-89.

Lu, J. W., Song, Y., & Shan, M. (2018). Social trust in subnational regions and foreign subsidiary performance: Evidence from foreign investments in China. Journal of International Business Studies49(6), 761-773

Mohr, A., Batsakis, G., & Stone, Z. (2018). Explaining the effect of rapid internationalization on horizontal foreign divestment in the retail sector: An extended Penrosean perspective. Journal of International Business Studies49(7), 779-808.

Mohr, A., Konara, P., & Ganotakis, P. (2020). Explaining the performance of divested overseas subsidiaries. International Business Review29(1), 101602.

Oviatt, B.M., & McDougall, P.P. (1994). Toward a theory of international new ventures. Journal of International Business Studies25(1), 45-64.

Richard, P. J., Devinney, T. M., Yip, G. S., & Johnson, G. (2009). Measuring organizational performance: Towards methodological best practice. Journal of Management35(3), 718-804.

Rodrigues, S.B., & Dieleman, M. (2018). The internationalization paradox: Untangling dependence in multinational state hybrids. Journal of World Business53(1), 39-51.

Sampson, T. (2017). Brexit: the economics of international disintegration. Journal of Economic Perspectives31(4), 163-84.

Soule, S.A., Swaminathan, A., & Tihanyi, L. (2014). The diffusion of foreign divestment from Burma. Strategic Management Journal35(7), 1032-1052.

Surdu, I., Mellahi, K., Glaister, K.W., & Nardella, G. (2018). Why wait? Organizational learning, institutional quality and the speed of foreign market re-entry after initial entry and exit. Journal of World Business53(6), 911-929.

Surdu, I., Mellahi, K., & Glaister, K.W. 2019. Once bitten, not necessarily shy? Determinants of foreign market re-entry commitment strategies. Journal of International Business Studies50(3), 393-422.

Vissak, T., & Francioni, B. (2013). Serial nonlinear internationalization in practice: A case study. International Business Review22(6), 951-962.

Wang, C., Hong, J., Kafouros, M., & Wright, M. (2012). Exploring the role of government involvement in outward FDI from emerging economies. Journal of International Business Studies43(7), 655-676.

Welch, C.L., & Welch, L.S. (2009). Re-internationalisation: Exploration and conceptualisation. International Business Review18(6), 567-577.

Yang, J.Y., Lu, J., & Jiang, R. (2017). Too slow or too fast? Speed of FDI expansions, industry globalization, and firm performance. Long Range Planning50(1), 74-92.


Virtual Symposium on the Temporality of Entrepreneurial Opportunities

17 07 2020

I wanted to reach out to let you know about a virtual symposium on the temporality of entrepreneurial opportunities that some colleagues and I will be hosting on July 24 in advance of the AoM conference.

We think that entrepreneurial opportunities-as situations (e.g., Shane & Venkataraman, 2000), social constructs (e.g., Alvarez & Barney, 2007) and/or objects of entrepreneurial discourse (e.g., Cornelissen and Clarke, 2010)-have something to do with a contrast between the status quo (i.e. the past) and the imagined future which may be realized through action in the present. But we’ve noticed that the entrepreneurship literature rarely deals explicitly or directly with the relationship between entrepreneurial opportunities and the passage of time (e.g., historical time, process time, clock time, etc.).

Join us on July 24, 2020 at 8 AM Pacific Time for a panel discussion and dialogue on the question-how does an explicit focus on time, temporality or history shape the way you conceptualize and study entrepreneurial opportunity?

Panelists include Dimo Dimov, David Kirsch, Jacqueline Kirtley, Tanja Leppäaho, Rob Mitchell, Dan Raff, Andrew Smith, Dan Wadhwani and Matt Wood.

Here the link to participate in the session. The meeting ID is 986 4484 7268. The password for the meeting will be ENT&Time. Upon joining the meeting, you will be prompted to provide your consent to participating in a recorded meeting. We will be posting a video recording of this meeting for further discussion and engagement as an asynchronous event of the Academy of Management annual meeting co-hosted by the entrepreneurship and management history divisions.

OHN returns & CfP “Entrepreneurship and Transformations”

15 07 2020

Organizational History Network

Hello everyone and apologies for the long pause between posts, which was partly due to illness, but also, as you can imagine, due to the extraordinary times we find ourselves in. Many of us had to prepare online teaching at short notice, and many of the events we blog about have been cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic. Going forward, we will only run one blog per week on Fridays, as there simply not as many events and updates as there would usually be.

But today we have some good news, as one of our great editors, Christina Lubinski, is looking for submissions for an exciting new special issue in Business History on historical entrepreneurship.

Stay safe & healthy


Business History Special Issue

Entrepreneurship and Transformations

Special Issue Editor(s)

View original post 1,008 more words

CFP: Family Business Review (FBR) Special Issue on History-informed Family Business Research

10 07 2020

Call for Papers for the 2023

Family Business Review (FBR) Special Issue on History-informed Family Business Research




Guest Editors

Roy Suddaby, University of Victoria (

Brian S. Silverman, University of Toronto (

Alfredo De Massis, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano and Lancaster University (

Peter Jaskiewicz, University of Ottawa (

Evelyn R. Micelotta, University of Ottawa (



Special Issue Theme

History is pervasive in family business settings, where values, beliefs, narratives, and artefacts of the founding family are handed down from generation to generation (Colli, 2003). The history of a family and its business therefore pervades family business goals, practices, and outcomes, creating a close link between the history of family businesses, their present traditions, and future aspirations (De Massis et al., 2016; Jaskiewicz et al., 2015; Zellweger et al., 2012).


Because of the prominence of history in family businesses, these firms have often been stigmatized as a form of business organization that is steadfast to its history and traditions, path dependent, conservative, resistant to changes and unable to adapt to dynamic and constantly evolving markets (Chandler, 1977; Morck & Yeung, 2003; Poza et al., 1997). Yet, family businesses remain dominant in any economy (La Porta et al., 1999), many of them are highly innovative (De Massis et al., 2018), resilient to crises, and equipped with the stamina to pursue entrepreneurial projects over generations (Jaskiewicz et al., 2016; Sinha, Jaskiewicz, Gibb, & Combs, 2020). The latter is consistent with emerging research suggesting that the history and traditions of families and their businesses do not have to be a rigid burden but, in some cases, can be a holy grail for enduring innovation and change (Erdogan et al., 2020; Jaskiewicz, Combs, & Ketchen, 2016; Suddaby & Jaskiewicz, 2020).


While researchers thus recognize the paradoxical nature of the family business as an organization that can be burdened or empowered by history, theory on how history actually ties into family business’ tradition, change, and aspiration remains scarce (De Massis, Frattini, Kotlar, Messeni Petruzzelli, & Wright, 2016; Erdogan et al., 2020; Sinha et al., 2020; Suddaby, Coraiola, Harvey, & Foster, 2020; Suddaby & Jaskiewicz, 2020). One reason for this unsatisfactory status quo is the weak connection between history and family business scholarship that has limited current understanding of what family business scholars can learn from the wealth of history and historical research, and how they can integrate related learnings in the study of family business (e.g., Colli, 2003; Colli & Fernandez Perez, 2020).


Considering the rapidly growing interest in studying the link between history and family businesses, we believe that it is warranted and timely to build a strong foundation for a history-informed approach to the study of family businesses, by which we refer to family business research that draws on historical research methods and/or leverages history as a key component (or variable) of theory or empirical analysis (Argyres et al., 2020; Sasaki et al., 2020; Sinha et al., 2020; Suddaby & Foster, 2017; Suddaby et al., 2020).


This Special Issue therefore calls for new, interdisciplinary research on family firms that extends our understanding of how and why history and historical research methods can enrich theoretical explanations of family business behavior and of temporal phenomena happening in family business settings. We call for both “history in theory” and “history to theory” studies. We call for original studies that propose novel and more fine-grained theoretical understanding of the role and use of history in family business processes as well as a reconceptualization of history and the use of history in family business research. At the same time, we encourage scholars to develop and apply historical research methods that allow them to use historical data and records to build and test their theoretical models about family business behaviors and outcomes. By doing so, this Special Issue favors the development and application of new perspectives and innovative methodological approaches for addressing critical questions in family business that favor a better integration of the academic fields of history and family business.


Manuscripts may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • How can family business phenomena be better theorized when the historical context where they take place, and the complex temporal dimensions through which they occur, are explicitly taken into account?
  • How do family businesses and their actors use history to give meaning to the present, inform their expectations about the future, and make business and family decisions?
  • What is the role of rhetorical history in shaping family business behavior, its determinants and outcomes? (Suddaby, Foster, & Trank, 2010). What is the relationship between narrative, story-telling, and history in the strategy processes of a family business?
  • How can traditions be (re-)conceptualized in family business settings to better account for their ambivalent roles for family business’ goals, behavior, and outcomes?
  • How can history-informed research be used to manage the tradition and innovation paradox or other typical paradoxes characterizing family business behavior?
  • How can family firms leverage their history, and/or resources pertaining to different points in their past, to make their way toward the future through acts directed to innovation (e.g., “innovation through traditions”) and/or entrepreneurship (e.g., “entrepreneurial legacy”), or other vital organizational processes?
  • How can change and innovation be used in a family business setting to perpetuate history and traditions (e.g., “tradition through innovation”)?
  • What are the distinctive organizational routines and capabilities that enable family firms to combine and reconfigure their history over time and build a bundle of valuable historical resources?
  • What are the distinctive organizational routines and capabilities that enable family firms to adopt retrospective and prospective approaches to using their resources to concurrently perpetuate tradition and achieve innovation (e.g., “temporal symbiosis”)?
  • How do the past and the historical context inform how family-centered and business-centered goals are set in the family business context?
  • How do the past and the historical context inform how new business opportunities are identified, evaluated and exploited? What’s the role played by history for transgenerational entrepreneurship in the family enterprise?
  • How can the assumptions behind transgenerational or path dependence-based predictions about family business behavior (e.g., decline in entrepreneurial attitude across generations) be understood when the historical context is considered?
  • How did specific and non-recurrent events or actions in the history of the family and/or its business lead to particular firm behaviors, and to the development of organizational capabilities (or lack thereof)?
  • What are the advantages of employing a historically embedded approach to improve current understanding of how family businesses learn, innovate, and make strategic decisions over time? How can such approaches be adapted and extended by family business scholars?
  • How do family business phenomena and practices evolve over time, and how are they shaped by the interactions between family firms, families, and their histories?
  • What are the unpredictable, nonrecurrent events either in the family or in the business system that change the course of history and the evolution of a family business organization?
  • How do different actors, groups, or family business organizations perceive time when it is conceived as a complex, socially constructed concept?
  • How do individuals and groups within family businesses conceive time in practice, and allocate their attention differently to the past, present, and future?
  • How do different temporal foci and/or orientations of different actors within the family business, and /or their perception of the past, influence the behavior and performance of the family firm? How do such orientations change in the presence of specific situational factors, such as intra-family succession or business exit?
  • How can an “historical cognizance” perspective (Kipping & Üsdiken, 2014) that incorporates period effects and historical contingencies into the theorizing process be useful to predict family firm behavior and its effect on family and business outcomes?
  • How can historical research methods and historical data be useful to family business research for understanding the context of contemporary phenomena, identifying sources of exogenous variations, developing and testing informed causal inferences and theories, and supporting analyses of temporal phenomena occurring across generations?


Submission Process

Manuscripts must be submitted through the Family Business Review web site indicating “Special Issue History” as the manuscript type. The special issue guest editors will review the received manuscripts for publication consideration in this special issue of FBR. Editors reserve the right to desk reject complete papers if they are deemed underdeveloped for this issue.


Timeline for 2022 Special Issue on History

May 28/29, 2021       Paper Development Workshop at FERC Conference

July 1, 2021               Manuscripts due. Please submit manuscripts via the FBR online submission portal at (please be sure to select “Special Issue History” as the submission type).

Sept. 1, 2021              1st round feedback on reviews provided to authors

Feb 1, 2022                Invited revisions due

April 1, 2022              2nd round feedback on reviews provided to authors

Sept 1, 2022               2nd round invited revisions due

Nov 1, 2022               3rd round feedback on reviews provided to authors

Jan 1, 2023                 All papers & editor’s introduction finalized; contents transferred to Sage

March 2023               FBR Special Issue “History-informed Family Business Research” published





Paper Development Workshop

We encourage authors to attend the Paper Development Workshop (PDW) for this Special Issue before submitting their manuscripts. The PDW will be offered during the Family Enterprise Research Conference (FERC) at the University of Florida Atlantic University, Delray Beach, Florida on May 28-29, 2021. More information about FERC in 2021 can be found here: We will add more detailed information on the PDW to the webpage at the beginning of 2021.


About FBR

Launched in 1988, Family Business Review is an interdisciplinary scholarly forum publishing conceptual, theoretical, and empirical research that aims to advance the understanding of family business around the world. FBR has a 2-year impact factor of 6.188, ranking it 13th out of 147 journals in the category business.



We look forward to receiving your manuscripts and working hard with you to make this issue a success for our field. For questions, please contact any member of the Special Issue co-editors.



Argyres, N. S., De Massis A., Foss N. J., Frattini F., Jones G., Silverman B.S. (2020). History-informed strategy research: The promise of history and historical research methods in advancing strategy scholarship. Strategic Management Journal, 41(3), 343-368.

Chandler, A. D. (1977). The visible hand: The managerial revolution in American business. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.

Colli, A. (2003). The history of family business, 1850-2000 (Vol. 47). Cambridge University Press.

Colli, A., & Perez, P. F. (2020). Historical methods in family business studies. In Handbook of qualitative research methods for family business. Edward Elgar Publishing.

De Massis, A., Audretsch, D., Uhlaner, L., Kammerlander, N. (2018). Innovation with limited resources: Management lessons from the German Mittelstand. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 35(1), 125-146.

De Massis, A., Frattini, F., Kotlar, J., Messeni-Petruzzelli, A., Wright M. (2016). Innovation through tradition: Lessons from innovative family businesses and directions for future research. Academy of Management Perspectives, 30(1), 93-116.

Erdogan I., Rondi E., De Massis A. (2020). Managing the tradition and innovation paradox in family firms: A family imprinting perspective. Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, 44(1), 20-54.

Jaskiewicz, P., Combs, J. G., Ketchen Jr, D. J., & Ireland, R. D. (2016). Enduring entrepreneurship: antecedents, triggering mechanisms, and outcomes. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 10(4), 337-345.

Jaskiewicz, P., Combs, J. G., & Rau, S. B. (2015). Entrepreneurial legacy: Toward a theory of how some family firms nurture transgenerational entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Venturing, 30(1), 29-49.

Kipping, M., & Üsdiken, B. (2014). History in organization and management theory: More than meets the eye. The Academy of Management Annals, 8(1), 535-588.

La Porta, R., Lopez‐de‐Silanes, F., & Shleifer, A. (1999). Corporate ownership around the world. The journal of finance, 54(2), 471-517.

Morck, R., & Yeung, B. (2003). Agency problems in large family business groups. Entrepreneurship theory and practice, 27(4), 367-382.

Poza, E. J., Alfred, T., & Maheshwari, A. (1997). Stakeholder perceptions of culture and management practices in family and family firms ‐ A preliminary report. Family Business Review, 10(2), 135-155.

Sasaki, I., Kotlar, J. Ravasi, D., & Vaara, E. (2020). Dealing with revered past: Historical identity statements and strategic change in Japanese family firms. Strategic Management Journal, 41(3), 590-623.

Sinha, P. N., Jaskiewicz, P., Gibb, J., & Combs, J. G. (2020). Managing history: How New Zealand’s Gallagher Group used rhetorical narratives to reprioritize and modify imprinted strategic guideposts. Strategic Management Journal, 41(3), 557-589.

Suddaby, R., Coraiola, D., Harvey, C., & Foster, W. (2020). History and the micro‐foundations of dynamic capabilities. Strategic Management Journal, 41(3), 530-556.

Suddaby, R., & Foster, W. M. (2017). History and organizational change. Journal of Management, 43(1), 19-38.

Suddaby, R., Foster, W. M., & Trank, C. Q. (2010). Rhetorical history as a source of competitive advantage. Advances in Strategic Management, 27, 147-173.

Suddaby, R. & Jaskiewicz, P. (2020). Managing traditions: A critical capability for family business success. Family Business Review, forthcoming.

Zellweger, T. M., Kellermanns, F. W., Chrisman, J. J., & Chua, J. H. (2012). Family control and family firm valuation by family CEOs: The importance of intentions for transgenerational control. Organization Science, 23(3), 851-868.



Cass is No Longer

7 07 2020
Cass Business School, which is located in London’s financial district, has decided to rename itself as it has some to light that Sir John Cass was a slave trader. (The business school acquired its current name in 2001 after it received a substantial donation from the Sir John Cass Foundation, which was originally established to educate the children of London’s poor). The Cass Foundation is now investigating whether it is allowed to remove the name of its founding donor.           
The timing of this move is a happy coincidence, as it allows that business school to name itself after a new donor at a point when money is tight. Let’s hope they do their due diligence this time round. Personally, I think it would be great if they named the business school after a donor who is an immigrant entrepreneur, which is what Manchester Business School did when it acquired the name Alliance Manchester Business School after a donation from Lord Alliance.