What's happening to international business?: University structural changes and identification with a discipline

Snejina Michailova, Janne Tienari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper aims to outline different views on international business (IB) as an academic discipline and looks into how IB scholars can cope with challenges to their disciplinary identity when stand-alone IB departments are merged with other departments such as management, marketing or strategy in business schools and universities. Design/methodology/approach: The article offers a critical reflection on the development and future of IB as a discipline. The two authors are an IB and a Management scholar, both of whom were engaged in recent departmental mergers at their respective business schools. While the authors do not analyze these particular mergers, their experiences are inevitably interwoven in the views they express. Findings: Mergers of stand-alone IB departments with other departments bring to light the nature of the IB discipline as a contested terrain. The article discusses how these structural changes challenge the disciplinary identity of IB scholars. It contributes, first, to discussions on the development of IB as a discipline and, second, to understanding identities and identification during major organizational change events in academia. Research limitations/implications: The authors suggest that the threat of marginalization of IB in the context of business schools and universities necessitates a move beyond the "big questions" debate to a critical self-examination and reflection on IB as a discipline and as a global scholarly community. Originality/value: The article offers a critical view on current processes and challenges related to IB as a discipline and an academic community.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalCritical Perspectives on International Business
Issue number1/2
Pages (from-to)51-64
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management


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