School of Business and Economics

Discipline groups

Ian Hodgkinson

Professor Ian R. Hodgkinson

Head of Discipline Group

International Business, Strategy and Innovation Discipline Group

The International Business, Strategy and Innovation (IBSI) group comprises teachers and researchers whose work draws on multiple disciplines including economics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, information systems and political science.

The IBSI group is committed to the advancement of world-class management scholarship and to the development of ideas that will help managers make better sense of some of the most complex problems of globalisation and the digital economy.

Key areas of specialism within the IBSI group include:

  • Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets
  • Internationalisation Strategies
  • Culture-strategy Nexus in Global Organisations
  • Social Innovations and Entrepreneurship
  • Strategy and Performance in Complex Environments
  • Digital Innovations and Development

The international business environment is highly turbulent and complex. The diversity of customer preferences, country cultures, economic status, decision-making approaches and organisational practices, makes international management highly challenging. This is particularly the case when institutional characteristics vary dramatically between domestic and foreign markets, from formal regulatory controls to informal social network ties.

The problems facing managers and organisations in today’s global economy are centred on the need to enhance the effectiveness of managerial practices and cross-cultural collaborations between individuals, teams and organisations that cut across different international contexts.

The IBSI group addresses several of the most pressing needs in international business:

  • How can human mobility and international knowledge spillovers be utilised for firm success?
  • What are the specific conditions for effective cross-cultural management and team working?
  • Where and how can technology adoption be used for successful international negotiations?
  • What are the internationalisation strategies for high performance among firms in emerging markets?
  • How should corporate governance be designed, and executive pay practices transformed, for international business success?

For contemporary firms, strategy is fundamental to managerial and organisational agility and adaptation in times of growing economic, political, social and geographical turbulence. The importance of effective strategizing is paramount across the private, public and third sectors and resonates with all firms from multinationals, family firms, start-ups, born globals, government bodies, national governing bodies and charitable organisations.

From our observations, many managers and organisations struggle to reconcile the alignment of divergent goals, environmental opportunities and threats, and organisational competencies through the strategy process and in firm strategic decision-making practices.

Moreover, alignment of working practices and the harnessing of collaborative activities between different international contexts remains fractious despite a consensus that such co-action is paramount for modern business success.

These problems resonate with a set of core questions that the IBSI group has been addressing:

  • How to optimise and harmonise different decision-making approaches for successful strategising?
  • When to utilise information technology in the strategic decision-making process?
  • How to manage culture, identity and strategy in international collaborative working?
  • How to create ambidextrous action and outcomes for business agility and innovation?
  • What form should virtual working take for successful international collaboration?
  • How to advance globalisation through effective global sourcing?

The role of entrepreneurship and innovation for managerial practice, organisational outcomes and societal advancement is driven by social and corporate entrepreneurship, digitally enabled social innovations and social media.

While there has been a tendency to only focus on either the characteristics of the individual entrepreneur or the innovation activities of the firm, there must now be recognition of the complexity of business ecosystems; comprising multichannel individual interactions, a multitude of organisational market actors, as well as wider technological advancements in society. A complexity that requires firms to transform established thinking, value propositions and existing business models.

The challenge for contemporary management is how to capture this network complexity and harness opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation that exist within the whole ecosystem; not only within the realm of the organisation and its managers, but also within the wider international environment.

To this end, the IBSI group is exploring several questions of great consequence:

  • How to revolutionise the financial sector through fintech innovations?
  • When and how should innovation be outsourced?
  • Can innovation in management education transform business schools?
  • What are the key innovation practices in high-tech firms and technology start-ups?
  • Considering austerity, how can public-sector innovations achieve more with less?
  • What should managerial interventions for business model innovation look like?

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