Moving beyond Delinking, Decoloniality and the Pluriverse: Reflections on the ‘Decolonizing International Business’ Debate

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Abstract

Purpose: This viewpoint adds context and variety to the “decolonizing international business” debate by engaging in a discussion of the decolonial thinking approach and proposing a broader framework for analysing the link between international business (IB) activities on the one hand and colonisation and decolonisation on the other. The purpose of this paper is to inspire a more intensive engagement of IB scholarship with issues related to colonisation and decolonisation. Design/methodology/approach: This paper involves taking a reflexive review on recent calls to decolonise IB, contextualising and extending the decolonisation debate in the academic field of IB. Findings: This paper argues that the current discussion of decolonisation should be extended beyond the decolonial thinking approach and its focus on knowledge and the cultural dimension towards a broader framework that covers both colonisation and decolonisation as well as the respective economic, political, social and cultural dimensions. It introduces the varieties of colonisation and decolonisation approach, which considers the complexities of the phenomenon and covers the economic, social, political and cultural dimensions. Research limitations/implications: Through its focus on foreign market expansion, international trade, global value chains and formal and informal institutions in the business environment, the academic field of IB provides several starting points for research on the link between IB activities and colonisation and decolonisation. The decolonisation debate can be used to inspire future research in IB, for example, with respect to the role of multinational corporations in colonisation and neo-colonisation processes and the implications of the emerging multipolar world order for IB. Practical implications: IB scholars will be better informed when engaging in discussions on decolonisation and the decolonise IB project. This paper suggests considering both colonisation and decolonisation processes as well as the respective economic, political, social and cultural dimensions in research and teaching. The varieties of colonisation and decolonisation approach provides a comprehensive and flexible alternative framework to analyse issues related to colonisation and decolonisation. Social implications: A balanced view of the implications of colonisation and decolonisation with respect to economic, political, social and cultural dimensions may suitably be incorporated in the field of IB and contribute to tackling grand societal challenges. This applies likewise to past, current and future processes of colonisation and decolonisation. Originality/value: This paper contextualises and adds a new perspective and variety to the current debate on decolonising IB. This is valuable for engaging in discussions on decolonisation and future conceptual and empirical research on the topic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-117
Number of pages23
JournalCritical Perspectives on International Business
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024

Keywords

  • Colonisation
  • Decolonial thinking
  • Decolonisation
  • International business
  • World order

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