De-Globalization: Theories, Predictions, and Opportunities for International Business Research

Journal of International Business Studies, 50, 7, 1053-1077

25 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2019 Last revised: 22 Aug 2019

See all articles by Michael A. Witt

Michael A. Witt

INSEAD; Harvard University, Reischauer Institute

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

De-globalization, now a distinct possibility, would induce a significant qualitative shift in strategies, structures, and behaviors observable in international business (IB). Coming to terms with this qualitative shift would require IB research to develop a much deeper integration of politics, the key driver of de-globalization. To support such integration, this paper introduces two relevant theories of (de-)globalization from political science, liberalism and realism. Both predict de-globalization under current conditions but lead to different expectations about the future world economy: liberalism suggests a patchwork of economic linkages, while realism predicts the emergence of economic blocs around major countries. This paper discusses the resulting opportunities in three areas of IB research: political strategies and roles of multinational enterprises (MNEs), global value chains, and the role of the national context. For political strategies and roles, there is a need to explore how regular business activities and deliberate political agency of MNEs affect the political sustainability of globalization. For value chains, questions include their future reach and specialization, changes in organizational forms, and the impact of political considerations on location decisions. Research opportunities on national contexts relate to their ability to sustain globalization and their connection with economic and military power.

Keywords: globalization, internationalization theory, international relations and political science, political backlash, global institutions, trade blocs, political strategies, global supply chain strategies, institutional context

JEL Classification: M16, F5, F6, F13, F53, F55

Suggested Citation

Witt, Michael A., De-Globalization: Theories, Predictions, and Opportunities for International Business Research (2019). Journal of International Business Studies, 50, 7, 1053-1077, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3315247 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3315247

Michael A. Witt (Contact Author)

INSEAD ( email )

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Singapore, 138676
Singapore

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.insead.edu/michael-witt/research

Harvard University, Reischauer Institute

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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