Journal of Management Studies—State Capitalism and Firms: Ownership, Institutions and Beyond

When:  Sep 30, 2024 from 09:00 to 23:59 (ET)
Associated with  Entrepreneurship (ENT)

Submission Deadline: 30 September 2024

Guest Editors:
Alvaro Cuervo-Cazurra, Northeastern University, USA
Anna Grosman, Loughborough University London, UK
Ilya Okhmatovskiy, Nova School of Business and Economics, Portugal
Gerhard Schnyder, Loughborough University London, UK
Geoffrey Wood, Western University, Canada

JMS Editor:
Brian Boyd, Northern Arizona University, USA

Much work on management has seen the government as a provider of institutions, i.e., the rules of the game that govern transactions (North, 1990). However, governments worldwide have changed their attitudes towards markets and taken a much more active role than assumed in many theoretical models. This has given rise to state capitalism as a distinct yet littleunderstood phenomenon that affects all aspects of firms. State capitalism is “an economic system in which the state uses various tools for proactive intervention in economic production and the functioning of markets” (Wright et al., 2021, p. 2). The term has been used in many ways, inter alia as a description of the former Soviet Union’s system, and later, of developmental states in emerging economies more generally, or indeed, as a specific label for the Chinese economic system (Sperber, 2019; Alami & Dixon, 2020).

In practice, state capitalism can assume many different forms, encompassing both positive and negative features (Sallai & Schnyder, 2021), be implemented in advanced and emerging countries alike, and come back and forth over time (Cuervo-Cazurra et al., 2019), perhaps as one aspect of a Polanyian double movement. The market turmoil related to the pandemic and geopolitical instability has resulted in a statist turn even within traditionally liberal markets. In this process, governments are increasingly using sophisticated tools to achieve their objectives, whether they are political or socio-economic in nature. There is no consensus as to what constitutes a desirable level of statism – interventions such as the bailouts of banks and manufacturing firms, financial assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, or even quantitative easing have all been lauded as necessary to stabilize the global financial ecosystem, or as ad hoc fixes that bring problems of their own with them (Wood et al., 2022). Active industrial policy regularly goes in and out of fashion (Musacchio and Lazzarini, 2014).

In theoretical terms, the concept of state capitalism has been deployed by both neoliberals and the ultra-left; more middle-of-the-road, and, at times, eclectic explanations have gained traction in recent years. Developments and extensions of comparative institutional analysis have sought to impart a greater coherence to thinking about this phenomenon. However, this theoretical project is still an evolving one, and remains somewhat unclear as to how state capitalism plays out across sectors and firms, and in the process of management. Management scholarship has begun to rethink the role of the state, yet the main theories of the roles of states and markets in the economy were generated when governments were in retreat from the economy and primarily informed by a negative view of government activism (CuervoCazurra et al., 2014). Many of them – like most management theories – are also firmly rooted in the experience of advanced economies (Morris et al., 2023). This has left management scholars short of theoretical tools to understand the advantages of state intervention in the economy that motivated the new wave of state capitalism. This situation, in turn, led to management scholars mainly importing theories from other social sciences fields, such as political science and sociology of development to fill in the gap (Carney, 2018; Haggard, 2018). Central to the literature on comparative institutionalism has been that more than one economic policy recipe is viable, and the same goes for configurations of state intervention (cf. Jackson and Deeg, 2008). Yet, more research is needed to develop a contextual, contingent, and nuanced view of state capitalism that is management- and firm-centred.

Acknowledging the advantages of government intervention in the economy alongside more problematic aspects opens the opportunity to develop an enriched, contextualized theory of state capitalism. Earlier studies in the 2000s used a mix of theoretical approaches, oftentimes relying on more than one theory to conceptualize the influence of the state, mostly through ownership in an integrative way (Doh, 2000; Uhlenbruck et al., 2003; Wright et al., 2000). These theories, in particular, resource dependence theory, resource-based view, agency theory, and organizational learning, enabled scholars to explain how state-owned firms could benefit from privatization to develop their resources toward competitive advantage (Radić et al., 2021). 

The 2010s saw a rise in publications on state capitalism as governments increasingly ventured abroad (Cuervo-Cazurra et al., 2023; Finchelstein, 2017). This created a shift in theoretical foundation toward one dominant theory, institutional theory, as the studies started to explore institutional pressures at home and abroad, institutional logics, institutional compatibility/ legitimacy of state-owned firms, the liability of stateness that government ownership brings, institutional quality and institutional voids (Jackson and Deeg, 2019; Jackson and Deeg, 2008). However, there were several theoretical traditions within the broad institutionalist tradition that have led to a variety of insights and diverging predictions. Some strands of neo-institutionalist thinking (DiMaggio and Powell, 1991; Scott, 1995; Scott and Davis, 2007) argued for the negative effects of government ownership due to perceived illegitimacy (Cuervo-Cazurra and Li, 2021); however, much of neo-institutionalism concerned itself with micro issues. Institutional economics, which has prioritized private property rights, was sceptical of the role of the state as an active economic agent (North, 1990; La Porta et al., 2008). In contrast, the comparative institutional literature argued that more statist courses may be economically viable in the medium and longer terms (Witt and Redding, 2013).

However, the theoretical understanding of state capitalism goes beyond institutional theorizing. The social capital theory gained momentum through studies on political interference of the state, for example, political connections, political promotions and appointments (Tihanyi et al., 2019), or avoidance of state control, such as political disconnections (Burt and Opper, 2020). The political embeddedness perspective (Okhmatovskiy, 2010; Sun et al., 2010) explained why firms were drawn to connect with the government (for example, to gain prestige and privileged access to government resources) but also to keep distance from the government (for example, to reduce costs associated with government interventions). Entrepreneurship scholars explored the notion of the entrepreneurial state and interactions between the state and entrepreneurs, using theories of entrepreneurial orientation and cognition (Romero-Martínez et al., 2010; Tang et al., 2017). Agency theory, being a theory of contracts, primarily depicted government ownership arrangements as being sub-optimal (when compared to a private firm with dispersed ownership) due to conflicting objectives between the government and stateowned firms (Wright et al., 2021), expropriation (Grosman et al., 2019), or lack of accountability toward the de facto principal, in this instance, the citizen, in the same manner as institutional investors often lacked accountability to savers (Cuervo-Cazurra et al., 2023), and minority government ownership as being beneficial due to the longevity of investment and less interference (Inoue et al., 2013). The last decade has produced a body of integrative, crosscountry work about varieties of state capitalism (Cuervo-Cazurra et al., 2023; Hu et al., 2019; Li et al., 2014; Musacchio et al., 2015; Wright et al., 2021) and systematic literature reviews (Cuervo-Cazurra et al., 2022; Wei et al., 2023).

Against this backdrop, the Special Issue aims to contribute to theory building through theoretical and empirical inquiry into state capitalism and firm strategies. It also seeks to enable management scholars to engage with other disciplines, as a basis for theoretical development and proliferation.

State capitalism has been studied from a variety of perspectives such as economics, finance, international business, management, political science, sociology, among others. This Special Issue seeks to augment these distinct streams of literature by looking at how state capitalism impacts firms within the state orbit as well as firms operating in contexts with high incidences of state capitalism, and what this means for theory development. From the perspective of firms within the state orbit, state capitalism can provide significant advantages, such as access to government contracts, subsidies, and preferential treatment. However, these firms may also face challenges, such as increased regulation and political interference in their operations (cf. Sallai & Schnyder, 2021).

For competitors outside of the state orbit, state capitalism can present significant challenges. Firms operating in contexts with high incidences of state capitalism may face obstacles such as protectionist policies, restricted access to key resources or markets, and greater regulatory burdens, even if they may benefit from positive spillover effects. These firms may need to develop strategies to navigate these challenges, such as building alliances or focusing on niche markets that are less affected by state intervention.

The impact of state capitalism on firm strategies depends on various factors, such as the specific form of state intervention, the industry in which firms operate, and the political and economic context in which they are situated. The Special Issue seeks a rich empirical analysis and theoretical understanding of how state capitalism impacts firms in various contexts. We envision this Special Issue to attract scholars working not only on management of state-owned enterprises (Bernier et al., 2020; Raynard et al., 2020), but also on government-business relations (Gond et al., 2011; Kourula et al., 2019), political connections (Sun et al., 2015; Wei et al., 2023), and other state-related fields by providing a platform to discuss common challenges and explore cross-fertilization of theories and methodologies. Since conceptualization andw empirical exploration of state capitalism progressed in parallel across several academic disciplines, we encourage submitting authors to bring theoretical and methodological insights from various domains of social science.

We are particularly interested in submissions addressing the following themes (with illustrative examples of relevant research questions provided for every theme):

State Capitalism and the Firm
1. What are the principal forms of state capitalism encountered in the contemporary world, and how do these differences play out at the firm level?
2. What defines state capitalism, and what are the implications of redefining the economic role of the state for how we understand the firm?
3. How do the relationships between the state and firms are shaped by institutions that characterize different forms of state capitalism?
4. What are the mechanisms of strategic adaptation to various forms of state capitalism?
5. How does state capitalism affect competition and cooperation among firms?
6. What are the effects of state capitalism on entrepreneurship and innovation?

State Ownership
1. What competing paradigms of state ownership exist and what are the implications for firm strategy?
2. What sectoral spillover effects does state ownership generate, and what are the implications for management?
3. Does state ownership redefine the boundaries of the firm?
4. What are the differences in mechanisms of state control used in state-owned firms and in firms under state influence but without state ownership?
5. What are the corporate governance challenges associated with state ownership and what are the implications for firm strategy?

Government Influence
1. How do mechanisms of state control and support differ from each other and what is their impact on firm strategies?
2. What are the implications for private firms’ ability to compete with state-supported firms receiving financial and other resources from the state?
3. What is the impact of public-private governance mechanisms and networks on firm strategies?
4. How does personal and organizational embeddedness in political networks influence firm strategies?

Strategies for Firm Success in the Face of Government Influence
1. What strategies do firms (both private and state-owned) use to evade government economic activism?
2. What happens when government influence is reversed: state capitalism and state capture by firms.
3. How can firms use international expansion to reduce government influence?
4. What is the optimal distance from the state under various forms of state capitalism?

Submission portal opens: 01 September 2024
Submission deadline: 30 September 2024
Expected publication: 2027

Submissions should be prepared using the JMS Manuscript Preparation Guidelines
Manuscripts should be submitted through the online submission website:

Papers will be reviewed according to the JMS double-blind review process. Informal inquiries relating to the Special Issue, proposed topics and potential fit with the Special Issue objectives are welcome. 

Please direct them to all the guest editors: Alvaro Cuervo-Cazurra ( Anna Grosman, (, Ilya Okhmatovskiy (, Gerhard Schnyder (, and Geoffrey Wood (

Online Pre-submission Information Session: In February 2024, the editorial team will organize an online information session for the authors working on papers potentially suitable for submission to the Special Issue. Prospective contributors will have an opportunity to ask questions about the themes to be covered by the Special Issue and about the manuscript review process. Ph.D. students and junior faculty members are especially welcome to attend this pre-submission information session. Participation in the pre-submission information session is recommended but will not be a prerequisite for submitting a manuscript for the Special Issue.

Post-submission Workshop: The editorial team will organize an in-person revision workshop for the Special Issue submissions in 2025. Authors who receive a revise and resubmit decision on their manuscripts will be invited to attend this workshop. Participation in the workshop will not guarantee acceptance of the paper in the Special Issue and attendance will not be a prerequisite for publication.

Alami, I. and Dixon, A. D. (2020). ‘State capitalism(s) redux? Theories, tensions, controversies’. Competition and Change, 24, 70–94.
Bernier, L., Florio, M. and Bance, P. (2020). The Routledge handbook of state-owned enterprises. Routledge.
Bruton, G. D., Zahra, S. A., Van de Ven, A. H. and Hitt, M. A. (2022). ‘Indigenous Theory Uses, Abuses, and Future’. Journal of Management Studies, 59, 1057–73.
Burt, R. S. and Opper, S. (2020). ‘Political connection and disconnection: Still a success factor for Chinese entrepreneurs’. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 44, 1199-228.
Carney, R. (2018). Authoritarian capitalism: Sovereign wealth funds and state-owned enterprises in East Asia and beyond. Cambridge University Press.
Child, J., Rodrigues, S. B. and Tse, K. K.-T. (2012). ‘The Dynamics of Influence in Corporate Co-Evolution’. Journal of Management Studies, 49, 1246–73.
Cuervo-Cazurra, A., Gaur, A. and Singh, D. (2019). ‘Pro-market institutions and global strategy: The pendulum of pro-market reforms and reversals’. Journal of International Business Studies, 50, 598-632.
Cuervo-Cazurra, A., Grosman, A. and Wood, G. T. (2023). ‘Cross-country variations in sovereign wealth funds’ transparency’. Journal of International Business Policy. doi: 10.1057/s42214-023-00149-0
Cuervo-Cazurra, A., Grosman, A. and Megginson, W. L. (2023). ‘A review of the internationalization of state-owned firms and sovereign wealth funds: Governments’ nonbusiness objectives and discreet power’. Journal of International Business Studies, 54, 78-106.
Cuervo-Cazurra, A. Inkpen, A., Musacchio, A. and Ramaswamy, K. (2014). ‘Governments as owners: State-owned multinational companies’. Journal of International Business Studies, 45, 919-42.
Cuervo-Cazurra, A. and Li, C. (2021). ‘State ownership and internationalization: The advantage and disadvantage of stateness’. Journal of World Business, 56, 101112.
DiMaggio, P. J. and Powell, W. (1991). The new institutionalism in organizational analysis. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Doh, J. P. (2000). ‘Entrepreneurial privatization strategies: Order of entry and local partner collaboration as sources of competitive advantage’. Academy of Management Review, 25, 551-71.
Finchelstein, D. (2017). ‘The role of the State in the internationalization of Latin American firms’. Journal of World Business, 52, 578–90.
Gond, J. P., Kang, N. and Moon, J. (2011). ‘The government of self-regulation: On the comparative dynamics of corporate social responsibility’. Economy and Society, 40, 640– 71.
Grosman, A., Aguilera, R. V. and Wright, M. (2019). ‘Lost in translation? Corporate governance, independent boards and blockholder appropriation’. Journal of World Business, 54, 258-72.
Haggard, S. (2018). Developmental states. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
Hu, H.W., Cui, L. and Aulakh, P.S. (2019). ‘State capitalism and performance persistence of business group-affiliated firms: A comparative study of China and India’. Journal of International Business Studies, 50, 193-222.
Inoue, C. F., Lazzarini, S. G. and Musacchio, A. (2013). ‘Leviathan as a minority shareholder: Firm-level implications of state equity purchases’. Academy of Management Journal, 56, 1775-801.
Jackson, G. and Deeg, R. (2008). ‘Comparing capitalisms: Understanding institutional diversity and its implications for international business’. Journal of International Business Studies, 39, 540-61.
Jackson, G. and Deeg, R. (2019). ‘Comparing capitalisms and taking institutional context seriously’. Journal of International Business Studies, 50, 4-19.
Kourula, A., Moon, J., Salles-Djelic, M.-L. and Wickert, C. (2019). ‘New roles of government in the governance of business conduct: Implications for management and organizational research’. Organization Studies, 40, 1101-23.
Li, M.H., Cui, L. and Lu, J. (2014). ‘Varieties in state capitalism: Outward FDI strategies of central and local state-owned enterprises from emerging economy countries’. Journal of International Business Studies, 45, 980-1004.
Morris, S., Aguilera, R. V., Fisher, G. and Thatcher, S. M. (2023). ‘Theorizing from emerging markets: Challenges, opportunities, and publishing advice’. Academy of Management Review, 48, 1-10.
Musacchio, A. and Lazzarini, S. G. (2014). Reinventing state capitalism: Leviathan in business, Brazil and beyond. Harvard University Press.
Musacchio, A., Lazzarini, S. G. and Aguilera, R. V. (2015). ‘New varieties of state capitalism: Strategic and governance implications’. Academy of Management Perspectives, 29, 115–31.
North, D. C. (1990). Institutions, institutional change and economic performance. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
Okhmatovskiy, I. (2010). ‘Performance implications of ties to the government and SOEs: A political embeddedness perspective’. Journal of Management Studies, 47, 1020-47.
Porta, R. L., Lopez-de-Silanes, F. and Shleifer, A. (2008). ‘The economic consequences of legal origins’. Journal of Economic Literature, 46, 285-332.
Raynard, M., Lu, F. and Jing, R. (2020). ‘Reinventing the state-owned enterprise? Negotiating change during profound environmental upheaval’. Academy of Management Journal, 63: 1300-35.
Radić, M., Ravasi, D. and Munir, K. (2021). ‘Privatization: Implications of a shift from state to
private ownership’. Journal of Management, 47, 1596-1629.
Romero-Martínez, A. M., Fernández-Rodríguez, Z. and Vázquez-Inchausti, E. (2010). ‘Exploring corporate entrepreneurship in privatized firms’. Journal of World Business, 45, 2-8.
Sallai, D. and Schnyder, G. (2020). ‘What Is “Authoritarian” About Authoritarian Capitalism? The Dual Erosion of the Private–Public Divide in State-Dominated Business Systems’. Business and Society.
Scott, W. R. (1995). Institutions and organizations. Foundations for organizational science. London: A Sage Publication Series.
Scott, W. R. and Davis, G. F. (2007). Organizations and organizing: Rational, natural, and open system. Hoboken, NJ: Perspectives Pearson Prentice Hall.
Sperber, N. (2019). ‘The many lives of state capitalism: From classical Marxism to free-market advocacy’. History of the Human Sciences, 32, 100–24.
Sun, P., Mellahi, K. and Thun, E. (2010). ‘The dynamic value of MNE political embeddedness: The case of the Chinese automobile industry’. Journal of International Business Studies, 41, 1161–82.
Sun, P., Mellahi, K., Wright, M. and Xu, H. (2015). ‘Political Tie Heterogeneity and the Impact of Adverse Shocks on Firm Value’. Journal of Management Studies, 52, 1036–63.
Tang, J., Tang, Z. and Cowden, B. J. (2017). ‘Exploring the relationship between entrepreneurial orientation, CEO dual values, and SME performance in state–owned vs. nonstate–owned enterprises in China’. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 41, 883-908.
Tihanyi, L., Aguilera, R. V., Heugens, P., Van Essen, M., Sauerwald, S., Duran, P. and Turturea, R. (2019). ‘State ownership and political connections’. Journal of Management, 45, 2293-321.
Uhlenbruck, K., Meyer, K. E. and Hitt, M. A. (2003). ‘Organizational transformation in transition economies: resource‐based and organizational learning perspectives’. Journal of Management Studies, 40, 257-82.
Voegtlin, C., Scherer, A. G., Stahl, G. K. and Hawn, O. (2022). ‘Grand Societal Challenges and Responsible Innovation’. Journal of Management Studies, 59, 1–28.
Wei, Y., Jia, N. and Bonardi, J. P. (2023). ‘Corporate political connections: A multidisciplinary review’. Journal of Management, 49, 1870-910.
Witt, M. A. and Redding, G. (2013). ‘Asian business systems: Institutional comparison, clusters and implications for Varieties of Capitalism and business systems theory’. Socio-Economic Review, 11, 265-300.
Wood, G. T., Onali, E., Grosman, A. and Haider, Z. A. (2022). ‘A very British state capitalism: Variegation, political connections and bailouts during the COVID-19 crisis’. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 55, 673-96.
Wright, M., Hoskisson, R. E., Busenitz, L. W. and Dial, J. (2000). ‘Entrepreneurial growth through privatization: The upside of management buyouts’. Academy of Management Review, 25, 591-601.
Wright, M., Wood, G., Musacchio, A., Okhmatovskiy, I., Grosman, A. and Doh, J. P. (2021). ‘State capitalism in international context: Varieties and variations’. Journal of World Business, 56, 101160.