The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has dramatically escalated de-globalization undercurrents and global decoupling (e.g., O'Neil, 2020; Schell, 2020). The pandemic has vividly revealed the vulnerability of optimized global supply chains and single offshoring manufacturing hubs and has forced MNEs to consider and adopt new configurations of loosely-coupled ecosystems. This new reality is consistent with the framing of de-globalization (Witt, 2019a, 2019b), and the emergence of global decoupling in both business and geopolitical terms, especially between the U.S. and China, reminiscent of the old Cold War (Petricevic & Teece, 2019).
China's entry into the WTO in 2001 was the catalyst for a huge expansion in global international trade and foreign direct investment. China, however, also adroitly exploited WTO regimes for adjudicating rule infractions and fundamentally failed to adhere to policies and practices on which the WTO was founded and to which it committed to abiding by (Jannace & Tiffany, 2019), which fostered the antecedents of de-globalization dynamics and the ongoing global decoupling (Petricevic & Teece, 2019).
The consequences of de-globalization are evident in (i) the actual decline in overall flows of global international trade and foreign direct investment (FDI), and (ii) the decomposition and looser coupling of the prevailing tightly-coupled global value chains and manufacturing hubs (Witt, 2009a). It reflects a weakening of bilateral interdependence between China and the U.S. and their related allies (thus global decoupling), in both economic and technological domains (Li, 2019), and in political and ideological spheres (Dupont, 2020), consistent with China-style state capitalism and techno-nationalism (Petricevic & Teece, 2019; Shim & Shin, 2016). This global decoupling bears far-reaching consequences (Li, 2019; Teece, 2020; Witt, 2009b), as reflected in the ongoing cases of Tiktok, WeChat, Huawei, ARM, Zoom, among other high-tech firms (Helberg, 2020; The Economist, 2020a, 2020b).
Various perspectives have been offered to explain global decoupling, such as Thucydides's Trap (Allison, 2017), and institutional conflict relating to 'bifurcated governance' with two incompatible 'rules of the game'– the rule of law vs. rule of ruler (Petricevic & Teece, 2019). Moreover, digital technologies reinforce this bifurcated world (Kendall-Taylor, Frantz, & Wright, 2020).
The MOR forum on DE-GLOBALIZATION and GLOBAL DECOUPLING is inviting commentaries that address two broad questions: (1) What are the most salient contextual forces driving the trend toward de-globalization and global decoupling (e.g., global supply chains, social media, reshoring and relocation of manufacturing hubs, software development, electronic payments, platformization, and ecosystem). (2) How can MNEs headquartered in liberal democracies or state capitalistic systems best adapt and respond to these emerging dynamics?
The Editors of Management and Organization Review believe that this is an opportune time to explore the strengths and vulnerabilities of current forms of globalization at the firm level, including their global markets, supply chains, R&D centers, and international alliance partners across the emerging boundaries shaping global decoupling.
This forum seeks to feature phenomenon-based empirical or theoretical commentaries, including case studies.
Commentaries will be evaluated through a new experimental two-week fast track review process.
Topics and Scope:
Theoretical or empirical commentaries are expected to address but are not limited to the following main themes:
Commentaries can be submitted beginning November 1st 2020 for initial publication in MOR 17.1. Please submit commentaries (maximum 2000 words) via the MOR online submission system here: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/mor
When asked to select an article type, please select the Dialogue, Debate, and Discussion category and note in your cover letter that you are submitting a commentary to the 'Forum on De-globalization and Global Decoupling' to ensure that your submission is properly assigned.
Allison, G. T. 2017. Destined for war: Can America and China escape Thucydides's Trap? New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Dupont, A. 2020. New Cold War: De-risking US-China conflict. Hinrich Foundation. https://www.hinrichfoundation.com/research/wp/us-china/new-cold-war/
Helberg, 2020. Silicon Valley can't be neutral in the U.S.-China Cold War: Firms like Zoom show that 'one company, two systems' doesn't work. Foreign Policy. Accessed on June 23, 2020. Available at https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/06/22/zoom-china-us-cold-war-unsafe/?utm_source=PostUp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=22522&utm_term=Editors
Jannace, W., & Tiffany, P. 2019. A new world order: The rule or law, or the law of rulers? Fordham International Law Journal, 42(5): 1379–1417.
Kendall-Taylor, A., Erica Frantz, E., & Wright, J. 2020. The digital dictators: How technology strengthens autocracy. Foreign Affairs, 3-4: 103–115.
Li, W. 2019. Towards economic decoupling? Mapping Chinese discourse on the China-US trade war. Chinese Journal of International Politics, 12: 519–556.
O'Neil, S. K. 2020. How to pandemic-proof globalization: Redundancy, not re-shoring, is the key to supply-chain security. Foreign Affairs. Access on April 1, 2020. Available at: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2020-04-01/how-pandemic-proof-globalization
Petricevic, O., & Teece, D.J. 2019. The structural reshaping of globalization: Implications for strategic sectors, profiting from innovation, and the multinational enterprise. Journal of International Business Studies, 50: 1487–1512.
Schell, O. 2020a. The ugly end of Chimerica: The coronavirus pandemic has turned a conscious uncoupling into a messy breakup. Foreign Policy, Spring Issue: 26–29.
Shim, Y. & Shin, D. H. 2016. Neo-techno nationalism: The case of China's handset industry. Telecommunications Policy, 40(2–3): 197–209.
Teece, D. J. 2020. Fundamental issues in strategy: Time to reassess? Strategic Management Review, 1(1): 103–144.
The Economist. 2020a. China v America: Doing business with China. Accessed on July 18, 2020. Available at https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/07/18/china-v-america.
The Economist. 2020b. Will TikTok survive? Accessed on September 19, 2020. Available at
Witt, M. A. 2019a. De-globalization: Theories, predictions, and implications for international business research. Journal of International Business Studies, 50: 1053–1077.
Witt, M.A. 2019b. China's challenge: Geopolitics, de-globalization, and the future of Chinese business. Management and Organization Review, 15(4): 687–704.
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