Advancing interdisciplinary research: Insights from the JIBS special issue

Joseph L.C. Cheng, Julian Birkinshaw, Donald R. Lessard, David C. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Twenty-five years ago, Dunning articulated a vision for greater interdisciplinary grounding in international business (IB) research. Motivated by his foresight, this special issue aims to encourage research that explicitly combines ideas from different disciplines, with a view to creating new integrative theories with greater explanatory power than those based on a single discipline. Five articles selected from a pool of 60 submissions are presented in the special issue, each with its own distinctive interdisciplinary contribution to expanding our knowledge about an important IB phenomenon. In editing the special issue, the editors developed a new understanding of the opportunities and challenges in conducting interdisciplinary research. These insights are reported in the current editorial essay. We conclude by discussing four approaches to interdisciplinary inquiry observed across the five accepted papers: (1) addressing a new phenomenon, (2) asking a fresh question, (3) finding a better answer and (4) contributing to a base discipline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-648
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of International Business Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • bridging between disciplines
  • integrative theorizing
  • interdisciplinary research
  • multilevel analysis
  • new research directions
  • new theory development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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