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Deadline: 31 January 2020

Special Issue Call for Papers

Management in the MENA Region

Over the last two decades, we have witnessed a phenomenal rise of both developed and emerging economies multinational enterprises (DMNEs and EMNEs) driven mainly by increased globalization and liberalization of economies. Today, EMNEs account for about 1/3rd of the Fortune Global 500 companies and they profoundly shape the evolving and complex global economy. In this context, there are pertinent questions that need to be answered, such as how they operate, what they produce in terms of goods and services and how they establish an international presence. What strategies do they deploy to overcome political, institutional, commercial and other environmental obstacles? Do EMNEs follow the same path as global developed economies multinational enterprises do? How do they collaborate with other private and public sector organizations in the region? Answers to such questions would enrich our understanding, extend current theoretical insights of EMNEs and provide valuable guidance for practitioners and policy-makers.

Although some emerging countries, such as China and India, have already made significant economic and technological progress, others, such as those from the MENA region, are still lagging behind. To clarify what constitutes the MENA region, as widely used and acceptable definition, we employ membership countries considered under the Academy of International Business MENA Chapter as a guideline. Since the economic crisis in 2008 and the subsequent Arab Spring in 2010, various countries in the MENA region have been trying to transform their economies to become more competitive and innovative with the view to allow increased internationalization of their companies as well as becoming more attractive to inward investors. For example, the UAE is hosting the forthcoming Expo 2020, which has brought with it a number of policy measures to spur on economic development and the location attractiveness of the UAE. While the world is increasingly interconnected via goods, markets, labor and knowledge flows, we are at the intersection of challenging times that raise important and, at the same time, interesting questions, such as what strategies EMNEs from the MENA region can employ to play a more important and sustainable role in the global business community. Also, many DMNEs entering the MENA region are faced with complex challenges due to the region’s unique and diversified political, religious, cultural and commercial indigenous environments.

With the aim of transforming their countries into competitive and responsible participants in the global economy, governments in the MENA region have managed to refocus on economic development. These efforts have called for government policy initiatives, which encompasses environmental, economic, cultural and social standards, in order to foster sustainable business activities. Indeed, the MENA region has been following developed countries in proactively setting sustainability standards in various industries and in accordance with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

While the existing International Business literature has focused predominantly on China and India (Buckley et al. 2007; Luo and Tung 2007; Gaur et al. 2018; Khanna and Palepu. 2004; Aulakh et al. 2016; Contractor et al. 2014; Ciftci 2019), there are far fewer studies on the MENA region, both as a host to and a source of foreign investment. The pioneering studies by Budhwar and Mellahi (2007; 2017) on international human resource management in the Middle East represent just the few IB dimensions that have been so far captured and analyzed rigorously in the MENA region (see Budhwar, Pereira, Mellahi and Singh, forthcoming, for a comprehensive review). This highlights the urgent need to research the many unique and complex characteristics that impact enterprises in the MENA region.

Understanding how MNEs, local businesses and other stakeholders handle and overcome the unique political, religious, cultural and commercial environments present in the MENA region becomes critical for the global success of MNEs. Combined with the efforts of EMNEs from the MENA region to increasingly engage in outward investments offers a rich contextual testbed for theorizing and analyzing the strategic role that the MENA region can play in the global business community.

Therefore, the focus of this Special Issue is to offer new insights into the unique challenges and opportunities that the MENA presents, both for MNEs, local businesses and other stakeholders present in the region. More specifically, it seeks to bring forward insights about sustainable international business practices in the MENA region.  We welcome conceptual and empirical papers that employ quantitative, qualitative, and/ or mixed-methods approaches to address one of the following or other related themes:

  • What are the unique challenges and opportunities faced by DMNEs, EMNEs and local businesses in the MENA region?
  • How do DMNEs formulate optimal strategies when investing in the MENA region?
  • How do EMNEs from the MENA compare in their characteristics and internationalization activities with other EMNEs?
  • How do DMNEs and EMNEs cope with challenges when operating in the MENA region in terms of its unique political, religious, cultural and commercial environments?
  • What are the implications the MENA region environmental specificities for management and organization theory and practice?
  • What would constitute sustainable international business practices for businesses in the MENA region?
  • What management best practices can be derived from businesses active in the MENA region?
  • To what extent does operating in the MENA region may follow the best practices of leading DMNEs?

Submission Guidelines


  • Submission deadline: 31st January 2020
  • Review process: February. 2020 - June 2020
  • Contributions resubmitted to ISMO by Sept. 2020

Questions about the Special Issue should be directed to the guest editors.


Guest Editors

Pawan Budhwar, PhD, is a Professor of International HRM, an Associate Pro Vice Chancellor International (India) and the Director of Aston India Centre for Applied Research, Aston University, Birmingham, UK. Professor Budhwar is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of British Journal of Management and Associate Editor of Human Resource Management. He is the co-founder and first President of Indian Academy of Management, an affiliate of the AOM. Pawan’s research interest is in the broad area of HRM in emerging markets with a specific focus on India. He has published over 110 articles in leading journals and has also written and/or co-edited 18 books. Professor Budhwar is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, British Academy of Management, the Academy of Social Sciences and the Indian Academy of Management. He was AOM Caucuses Chair in 2009. He has been regularly invited to deliver keynote speeches at major conferences and has won many research related awards.

Vijay Pereira, PhD, is Associate Professor of Strategic and International HRM at Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi, UAE. He is the Associate Editor (Strategic Management and Organization Behavior) of Journal of Business Research. Dr. Pereira was the Associate Dean (Research) at the Australian University of Wollogong, Dubai and is a visiting scholar at Manchester and Portsmouth Universities, UK. He has experience and expertise in consulting, industry and academia, globally. Dr. Pereira has a track record of attracting funding and has published widely, in over 100 outlets, including in leading international journals, such as HRM US, Journal of World Business, International Journal of HRM, Journal of Business Research, HRM Review, Journal of International Management, and International Journal of Production Research, among others. He is currently on the editorial and advisory board for the journals Production and Operations Management (Listed in Financial Times), International Journal of HRM, Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Asian Business & Management Journal and South Asian History and Culture.

Yama Temouri, PhD, is Associate Professor of International Business at the University of Wollongong in Dubai, UAE. Prior to joining UOWD in 2016, Dr Temouri was an Associate Professor at Aston Business School in the United Kingdom. He is an Associate Editor for the Business Research Quarterly (Elsevier Publishers) and his research interests are mainly in the economics of multinational enterprises and their impact on host and home economies. He is currently studying the link between institutional quality, foreign direct investment and firm performance, as well as analyzing the locational choices of foreign direct investment in tax havens. Dr Temouri has published in top tier journals such as Journal of World Business, Journal of International Management; Journal of Business Research and Corporate Governance: An International Review. He also has extensive consultancy experience, including projects for the OECD, European Commission and for several UK Government Departments, including the United Kingdom Trade and Investment (UKTI) Department; the Department for Business, Innovation and Services (BIS) and the Innovation foundation NESTA.

International Studies of Management & Organization

Visit Journal Articles


Aulakh, P. S., S. K. Kundu, and S. Lahiri. 2016. “Learning and Knowledge Management in and out of Emerging Markets: Introduction to the Special Issue.” Journal of World Business 51(5): 655-661.

Buckley, P. J., L. J. Clegg, A. R. Cross, X. Liu, H. Voss, and P.  Zheng. 2007. “The Determinants of Chinese Outward Foreign Direct Investment.” Journal of International Business Studies 38(4): 499–518.

Budhwar, P., and K. Mellahi. 2017a. Handbook of Human Resource Management in the Middle East. Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.

Budhwar, P., and K. Mellahi.2007b. “Introduction: Human Resource Management in the Middle East.” International Journal of Human Resource Management 18(1): 2-10.

Budhwar, P., V. Pereira, K. Mellahi, and S. K. Singh. Forthcoming. “Emerging Patterns of HRM in the Middle East: Challenges and Future Research Agenda.” Asia Pacific Journal of Management. DOI: 10.1007/s10490-018-9587-7.

Ciftci, I., E. Tatoglu, G. Wood, M. Demirbag, and S. Zaim. 2019. “Corporate Governance and Firm Performance in Emerging Markets: Evidence from Turkey.” International Business Review 28(1): 90-103.

Contractor, F. J., S. Lahiri, B. Elango, and S.K.  Kundu. 2014. “Institutional, Cultural and Industry Related Determinants of Ownership Choices in Emerging Market FDI Acquisitions.” International Business Review 23(5): 931-941.

Gaur, A. S., X. Ma,and S. Ding. 2018. “Home Country Supportiveness/ un-favorableness and Outward Foreign Direct Investment from China.” Journal of International Business Studies 49(3): 324-345.

Khanna, T., and K.G. Palepu. 2004. “Globalization and Convergence in Corporate Governance: Evidence from Infosys and the Indian Software Industry.” Journal of International Business Studies 35(6): 484-507.

Luo Y. D., and R. L. Tung. 2007. “International Expansion of Emerging Market Enterprises: A Springboard Perspective.” Journal of International Business Studies 38(4): 481-498.

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