The US commercial-military-political complex and the emergence of international business and management studies

Robert Westwood, Gavin Alexander Jack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367 - 388
Number of pages22
JournalCritical Perspectives on International Business
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

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