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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies

For a Special Issue on
Innovation beyond borders

Manuscript deadline
31 May 2023

Cover image - Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies

Special Issue Editor(s)

JI YAN, Durham University
[email protected]

Christos Tsinopoulos, Durham University
[email protected]

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Innovation beyond borders

Background to the Special Issue

The impact of cross-border innovation on the survival of firms and economic growth has been brought out by escalating trade tensions. There are both political and academic debates on the activities, such as the co-development of new products, the sharing of Intellectual Property the staff flow and the ecosystem that surrounds supply chains. However, developments on cross-border intertwined innovation systems in a global context can generate substantial opportunities for and challenges to the integration and diffusion of innovation (Hånell et al., 2018; Swan et al., 2002; Zhang, 2017).  Some studies in this research area have explored the effects of supply chain configurations (Tsinopoulos and Mena, 2015), strategies for alliances (Stuart, 1997), and alliance diversity (Vlaisavljevic et al., 2016) on innovation processes.  Other work has explored processes to do with the development of absorptive capacity, often by looking at how openness to collaboration with national and international partners can support new product and services development (Björkman et al., 2007; Fang and Zou, 2010; Liu et al., 2009; Wang, 2019).

In a more general sense, there are several innovation perspectives that involve some level of boundary crossing and could be expanded to include geographical borders (Chesbrough and Bogers, 2014; Dahlander and Gann, 2010; Frow et al., 2015; Santos and Eisenhardt, 2005; von Hippel, 2005; Wei et al., 2009) thus also having major implications for innovation practices and policies (de Jong et al., 2010; Fu et al., 2011; Lopez-Berzosa and Gawer, 2014; Tsinopoulos et al., 2018; Yan et al., 2022). Here the challenge lies in connecting the underlying innovation concepts and theories to those in cross-border issues.

A further stream of studies has been exploring how exporting can initiate learning activities which ultimately increase an organization’s innovative capabilities and productivity (McCarthy et al., 2006; Michael and Palandjian, 2004; Sousa et al. 2021). Studies have also explored the use of dynamic capabilities in cross-border market co-creation (Pitelis and Teece, 2010). Related studies raise matters of distributed learning (Robertson et al., 2012), governance (Felin and Zenger, 2014; Ren et al 2022), failure experience (Tsinopoulos et al., 2019; Li et al. 2022), power (im)balances among innovation partners (Gambardella and Panico, 2014), and varied types of network structure (Qu, 2017; Wang et al., 2021). However, much less is known about context (Huizingh, 2011; Randhawa et al., 2016; West and Bogers, 2014), including cross-border open innovation, which can then shed light on the conditionalities of open innovation processes (Bogers et al., 2017). This is despite early evidence that interorganizational collaboration supports the effectiveness of innovation strategies (Faems et al., 2005).

Aims and Scope of the Special Issue

Despite the potential for significant contribution of the above streams of research, much of the debate has developed independently of the matter of cross-border activity.  Instead, research exploring innovation tends to focus at the spectrum which spans from the individual to the national levels.  Concurrently, research exploring innovation across the supply chain tends to focus on individual supply chains often bypassing and even ignoring the impact the crossing of borders may have on the sharing of ideas.

The objective of this special issue is, therefore, to provide a collection of papers that advance theory and empirical evidence on cross-border innovation and set the basis for a coherent future research programme. We propose to lay the groundwork for understanding the motives behind cross-border innovation, the coordination of international supply chains for innovation, and the conditions, contingencies and for innovation beyond borders.

We welcome quantitative and qualitative investigations, as well as mixed methods. And while we expect that (theory-grounded) empirical will have the highest chance of being successful through the review process, we will also consider conceptual or theoretical papers.  Specific research questions could therefore include but are not limited to the following:

  1. How does innovation diffuse across cross-border innovation network?
  2. What are the social, cultural and technical factors that drive or inhibit innovation across borders and how do they change?
  3. What is the role of cross border innovation in tackling grand challenges?
  4. What is the impact of digitalization on innovation, entrepreneurship and economic efficiency?
  5. How do supply chain integration initiatives change when there are changes in international agreements and what is the impact on collective innovation?
  6. How do organisations build their absorptive capacity when knowledge spans borders and supply chains?
  7. What is the role of process innovation and how does it diffuse across borders? How does it achieve legitimacy?
  8. What are the drivers of cross-border open innovation and when do firms prioritise cross order versus domestic innovation activity?
  9. What conditions are unique to supporting cross-border open innovation versus domestic innovation?
  10. Do different search strategies steer firms towards cross-border innovation activity?
  11. How do cross-border activities shape the contingencies of open innovation processes?
  12. How do national borders interact with other types and levels of borders in the face of innovation?

Readership and Plan for Citations

The proposed issue straddles the following areas: open innovation, supply chain management, organisational theory and international business. Each of these topics has a wide readership in themselves increasing the potential for a higher number of citations and readership of the special issue.  Although providing hard evidence of the number of citations this topic will attract may be difficult, a keyword search in EBSCO reveals more than 150,000 relevant articles.  Furthermore, given the timely manner of this topic we expect that its readership will extend beyond the academic populations.  For instance, issues associated with sharing of knowledge across international supply chains have been explored by the mainstream and business media in the last 2-3 years and following recent political developments.  The guest editors, whose work has attracted more than 13,000 citations (according to google scholar) are all active in social media platforms and are planning to actively promote the special issue both before and after its completion further increasing its readership and reach.


Scholars interested in developing and submitting work to the special issue will be invited to a paper development workshop at Durham University on the 12th -13th of November 2022. Participation at the conference will be encouraged and promoted via the guest editors’ Universities and research centres.  However, it will not be a precondition to submission to the special issue. Conference papers are encouraged to be submitted simultaneously to the special issue. Submissions are not limited to conference participants. Meanwhile, presentation in the conference does not guarantee final publication. We hope the feedback received in the conference is helpful for authors to develop the manuscripts.

Submission Instructions

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article

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