Monday, March 31, 2014

Call for special issue papers: Learning and Knowledge Management In and Out of Emerging Markets

Journal of World Business

Call for papers for a special issue
Submission Deadline: September 1, 2014

Learning and Knowledge Management In and Out of Emerging Markets

  • Guest Editors: Preet S. Aulakh, Sumit K. Kundu, and Somnath Lahiri
  • Supervising Editor: Mike Peng

Significant attention has been devoted in recent years to understand how MNCs from developed nations enter and compete in various emerging markets. A growing body of research has also focused on how MNCs from emerging markets internationalize to compete in the global arena. There is unanimity amongst scholars that competing within emerging markets and internationalizing out of these markets require strategic choices that are markedly different from those prescribed in traditional models of MNC behavior (Aulakh & Kotabe, 2008; Contractor et al., 2007; Hoskisson et al., 2013; Luo & Tung, 2009; Meyer et al., 2009). But how MNCs learn and manage knowledge as they compete in and out of emerging markets has gained little scrutiny in the contemporary international business research (Lahiri, 2011; Peng et al., 2010). The aim of this JWB special issue is to foster scholarship that develops new theory and promotes novel empirical and practitioner insights on MNC learning and knowledge management (LKM) strategies in the context of emerging markets.

The importance, processes, and outcomes of LKM have been well documented in the literature. Organizational learning theory considers firms as cognitive enterprises. Although some overlaps exist between learning and knowledge management, the former can be considered a precursor of the latter. Through learning, organizations are able to create, acquire, and transfer knowledge and accordingly modify their behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights. Knowledge acquired as a result of learning allows firms to either reinforce or change organizational routines. Scholars have forwarded the notion of learning organizations, wherein individual-level learning is transferred to the organization level resulting in shared mental models. These mental models allow organizations to update their beliefs about various cause-effect relationships relating to themselves, their markets, and competitors, and devise strategies to adjust and respond to internal and external environments. Learning and consequent knowledge development is facilitated by firms’ experience, both positive and negative (Chang et al., 2012). Scholars agree that properly implemented LKM processes can be a source of competitive advantage. However, they also caution that firms can make erroneous strategic decisions if learning is based on biased representation of past reality.

To compete in foreign markets MNCs need to learn and gather knowledge about the local business environment including roles played by various stakeholders, business partners and competitors. Dealing with various components of learning (information acquisition, information dissemination, shared interpretation, and development of organizational memory) and knowledge management can be tricky as host nations may present institutional environments that may be ambiguous and uncertain to foreign MNCs. Therefore, MNCs may need to frame different LKM strategies that fit local contexts and allow them to compete over local rivals by grafting new knowledge or engaging in learning and knowledge gathering from others. Given that business environments in emerging markets are markedly different from those in developed nations, question arises as to how MNCs engage in LKM as they compete in and out of emerging markets and whether LKM processes differ owing to differences in MNCs’ home market attributes.

This special issue solicits scholarly contributions that advance our understanding of LKM strategies that (a) MNCs from developed nations deploy to enter and compete within emerging markets, and (b) MNCs from emerging markets utilize in their own internationalization processes. The following is an illustrative list of questions:
  • How do developed nation MNCs (DMNCs) learn and build knowledge from their prior entries into emerging markets? What strategies and structures do they employ to use existing knowledge to compete in emerging markets? 
  • How do emerging market MNCs (EMNCs) learn and build knowledge from their prior internationalization moves out of their home markets? What strategies and structures do they employ to use existing knowledge to compete in developed markets or other emerging markets (Peng, 2012)? 
  • How and why LKM strategies of DMNCs and EMNCs differ? In addition, how do these strategies differ across manufacturing and service sectors (Kundu & Merchant, 2008)? 
  • Does affiliation with specific networks or business groups influence the KLM strategies of firms? 
  • What role does distance (institutional, organizational, geographical) (Berry et al., 2010) play in the LKM strategies of DMNCs and EMNCs? 
  • How do DMNCs and EMNCs organize resources and capabilities (Lahiri et al., 2012) to efficiently formulate and implement LKM strategies? 
  • How do DMNCs and EMNCs institute policies, structures, and processes to facilitate LKM (Sun et al., 2012)? 
  • How do LKM strategies affect global competitiveness and performance of DMNCs and EMNCs? 

Submission process

Authors should email their manuscripts in Word (no PDF please) to all three Guest Editors (and copy Supervising Editor) with the subject labeled “Submission to JWB SI: Learning and knowledge management” by September 1, 2014. Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with the Guide for Authors available at The anticipated publication date is 2016. All submitted manuscripts will be subjected to JWB’s blind review process.

Submitted manuscripts may be conceptual or empirical (quantitative or qualitative). Questions about the special issue may be directed at any of the following guest editors:


Aulakh, P.S., & Kotabe, M. (2008). Institutional changes and organizational transformation in developing economies. Journal of International Management, 14(3): 209-216.

Berry, H., Guillén, M.F., & Zhou, N. (2010). An institutional approach to cross-national distance. Journal of International Business Studies, 17: 1-26.

Chang, Y., Gong, Y., & Peng, M.W. (2012). Expatriate knowledge transfer, subsidiary absorptive capacity, and subsidiary performance. Academy of Management Journal, 55(4): 927-948.

Contractor, F.J., Kumar, V., & Kundu, S.K. (2007). Nature of the relationship between international expansion and performance: The case of emerging market firms. Journal of World Business, 42(4): 401-417.

Hoskisson, R.E., Wright, M., Filatotchev, I., & Peng, M.W. (2013). Emerging multinationals from mid-range economies: The influence of institutions and factor markets. Journal of Management Studies (In Press).

Kundu, S.K., & Merchant, H. (2008). Service multinationals: Their past, present, and future. Management International Review, 48: 371-377.

Lahiri, S. (2011). India-focused publications in leading international business journals. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 28(2): 427-447.

Lahiri, S., Kedia, B.L., & Mukherjee, D. (2012). The impact of management capability on the firm resourceperformance relationship: Evidence from Indian offshore outsourcing service providers. Journal of World Business, 47(1): 145-155.

Luo, Y., & Tung, R.L. (2007). International expansion of emerging market enterprises: A springboard perspective. Journal of International Business Studies, 38(4): 481-498.

Meyer, K.E., Estrin, S., Bhaumik, S.K., & Peng, M.W. (2009). Institutions, resources, and entry strategies in emerging economies. Strategic Management Journal, 30(1): 61-80.

Peng, M.W. (2012). The global strategy of emerging multinationals from China. Global Strategy Journal, 2(2): 97-107.

Peng, M.W., Bhagat, R.S., & Chang, S-J. (2010).Asia and global business. Journal of International Business Studies, 41(3): 373-376.

Sun, S.L., Peng, M.W., Ren, B., & Yan, D. (2012). A comparative ownership advantage framework for crossborder M&As: The rise of Chinese and Indian MNEs. Journal of World Business, 47(1): 4-16.