For this issue of AIB Insights, we assemble four articles related to the topic of sustainability and stakeholder management. These articles complement our 2022 special issue on Managing Sustainable Development in International Business (Zhao, Dilyard, & Rose, 2022). Aspects of sustainability and stakeholders have become increasingly prominent in the international business field in recent years. Researchers have recognized the multidimensional nature of both sustainability and shareholder management; as such, they demand attention from many constituencies within the international business arena. Each of the four papers in this issue addresses a distinct aspect, considering these issues from the perspectives of marketing, corporate governance, expatriate management, and teaching. While the articles individually address different elements of sustainability, collectively, they provide evidence of the complex nature of the associated problems.
The issue’s first article, by Arilova Randrianasolo, is entitled “Global versus Localized Positioning Strategies in Bottom of the Pyramid Markets: The Roles of AEDC and Animosity”. This article was instigated by the AIB Insights call for papers on marketing in international business, organized by Guest Editors Brian Chabowski, Constantine Katsikeas, Saeed Samiee, and Attila Yaprak along with AIB Insights Associate Editor Elizabeth Rose. Randrianasolo examines two contrasting psychological constructs that affect base of the pyramid consumers: admiration for – and animosity toward – economically developed countries. The article advocates for a three-step process for how MNEs should consider these two opposing forces in their decision-making processes regarding strategies for global versus local brand positioning. This approach is intended to assist managers to recognize the often-underappreciated complexities of base of the pyramid consumers, and provide guidance for MNEs entering these markets.
The second article, by Saori Sugeno, is “Stakeholders vs Shareholders: The Clash of Corporate Governance Models in Japan’s Fujitec Ltd. and Oasis Management Showdown”. This article first contrasts the largely shareholder-focused approaches to corporate governance that are generally associated with firms in the UK and the US with the more stakeholder-focused processes that are traditionally observed in Japan. Sugeno then notes that UK and US firms are increasingly adopting a more stakeholder-focused model of corporate governance, in response to pressures associated with attempting to meet sustainability goals. At the same time, Japanese firms have gradually been aligning more with a shareholder model; among other factors, this offers the potential to assist in overcoming previously-lacking transparency. As such, Sugeno argues that models combining elements of both approaches are likely to define the future. The conflict between Hong-Kong-based investment firm Fujitec Ltd. and Japanese firm Oasis Management is used to develop insights for managers, policymakers, and practitioners, with respect to navigating international corporate governance and effective stakeholder engagement.
The third article, “Sustainable Expatriate Management: Rethinking International Assignments”, is co-authored by Marina Schmitz, Enno Ommen, and Anja Karlshaus. This piece incorporates environmental, social, and economic factors to examine the concept of sustainable expatriate management, and how corporations can more effectively implement processes to support UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The authors apply the UN SDG framework to examine how businesses can revise existing expatriate management practices to increase their sustainability. The article also presents a model for understanding three layers of sustainability in expatriate management, which can assist managers in identifying blind spots in their current practices.
The final article of the issue is “A New Approach for Teaching and Learning Sustainability: Futures Studies Meets International Business”, by Marina Schmitz and Miguel Cordova. In addition to its focus on sustainability, this article also builds on the theme of our 2020 special issue on Responsibilities of Educators in International Business (Bird, Panina, & Newburry, 2020). The authors note that anticipatory competencies are likely to be essential in navigating grand challenges in the current uncertain and complex international environment. In order to prepare managers to tackle a multitude of global issues, Schmitz and Cordova advocate that applying concepts such as futures literacy to international business education will better equip our students.
We hope that you enjoy this issue of AIB Insights. As noted earlier in the year, we are expanding from four to five issues in 2023, with a goal to eventually publish six issues per year. Given this goal, we are on the lookout for more high-quality submissions, like the ones featured in this issue. Please watch for our fifth 2023 issue, in November, which will feature applied articles based on the finalist dissertations for the AIB Best Dissertation Award, along with interviews with the winners of the AIB Fellows career achievement awards at the 2023 AIB Meeting. Please continue to submit your applied international business research to AIB Insights!