On the 12th – 14th April 2018, the Birmingham Business School successfully hosted the 45th Academy of International Business Annual (AIB UK&I) Conference. As the contemporary world is currently experiencing pivotal forces of change, particularly related to uncertain and turbulent political environments, the theme of the conference was to explore international business strategies in a changing commercial and political landscape. Approximately 200 delegates attended the prestigious event, including some of the top scholars within the International Business field. Panellists and presenters stimulated lively discussions on contemporary issues within the field, culminating in the effective dissemination of research ideas with delegates from across the globe.
The opening plenary, chaired by Professor Peter J. Buckley, and featuring Professor Jeremy Clegg, Professor Sarianna Lundan and Professor Roger Strange provided a thought providing discussion concerning whether corporations contribute to society or whether was any such societal benefits occur as a result of regulated behaviour. Inevitably, the discussion went on to talk about the role of corporate social responsibility and corporate governance. The session ended with the classic debate concerning whether or not large organisations engage in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and environmental initiatives due to philanthropic desires or economic motives. Whatever the case CSR, particularly sustainability, is becoming a key topic that policy makers are looking to address.
Furthermore, in line with the conference theme, Professor Raquel Ortega-Argiles presented her research looking at Brexit and what lies ahead for the UK. In this thought-provoking session, both Professor Anand Menon and Professor Alasdair Smith stated that anyone expecting a Brexit deal between the UK and EU in 2020 are living in ‘cloud cuckoo land’. Interestingly, when considering the theoretical context of Brexit, Professor Ursula Ott asserted that although many have compared UK’s Brexit deals to the EU’s agreements with Norway, Switzerland and Canada, the Ukrainian model may, in fact, be most achievable. Concurrently, another key plenary was chaired by Professor Nigel Driffield, titled ‘Developing impact cases for REF’, where Professor Simon Collinson provided his thoughts on how researchers can drive impact; a key topic in the current HE climate
One of the final panels consisted of meeting the editors of leading journals within the field, with the replication of studies proving to be a key topic of conversation. Replication has largely been traditionally discouraged in the field as academic papers are required to provide readers with new knowledge. Natural sciences on the other hand continuously replicate studies before asserting ideas, with replication enabling the verification and validation of findings. The editors were also on hand to offer encouragement to delegates; major revisions are positive sign that your paper is half-way to being published. They also stressed the importance of positioning; academics should have a clear target journal when conducting their research. In fact, Professor David Bailey stated that 70% of researchers do not know where they will be submitting their paper. Of course, thinking ahead is likely to increase the chance of publication success.
Overall, the conference was a great success and provided an invaluable opportunity to discuss contemporary IB issues and develop Birmingham’s reputation as a growing hub for IB scholarship.
This policy briefing was written by Dr Amir Qamar, Research Associate, City-REDI, University of Birmingham.
The views expressed in this analysis post are those of the authors and not necessarily those of City-REDI or the University of Birmingham.
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