Purpose – This paper seeks to present an analysis of the historical emergence of international business and management studies (IBMS) within the context of the post-World War II USA. It seeks to show how certain conditions of this time and place shaped the orientation of foundational IBMS texts and set a course for the subsequent development of the field.
Design/methodology/approach – The approach is primarily conceptual. The paper pursues both a historical analysis and a close reading of foundational texts within IBMS. It first examines the key conditions for the emergence of IBMS including: the internationalization of the US economy and businesses; the Cold War and perceived expansion of Soviet interests; and finally decolonisation processes around the world. These are interrelated aspects of a commercial-military-political complex, which simultaneously enabled and constrained the emergence of IBMS scholarship. The paper moves on to link these conditions to two seminal IBMS texts.
Findings – The paper reveals the localised and particular conditions that surrounded the emergence of IBMS and how IBMS was constituted to serve particular and localised interests associated with those conditions.
Originality/value – The paper's originality and value lie in a unique historical and discursive analysis of the conditions for the emergence of IBMS that were, in part, instrumental in the development of the field. It thus responds to calls for a “historical turn” in International Business scholarship.
Westwood, R & Jack, G 2008, 'The US commercial-military-political complex and the emergence of international business and management studies', Critical Perspectives on International Business, vol.4, no. 4, pp. 367-388.
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