Call for Papers

The International Business Conference is designed to bring together current research from the fields of international business, multinational corporations, foreign direct investment, and small and medium sized multinationals with a particular focus on international political risk management. The objective is to analyse patterns and forces, which influence political risk management in today’s fast changing world affairs with regard to multinational corporations’ foreign operations. The conference offers an excellent opportunity to meet thought leaders and professionals from around the world to exchange information and ideas on a variety of international business topics. Full papers and case study presentations are invited. All accepted extended abstracts (minimum 3 pages) and full papers will be published in the conference proceedings volume and delivered in the conference. In addition, some selected papers will be further reviewed and expanded if necessary and subsequently published in a special volume of an edited book by an internationally recognized publisher.

In a very quickly changing current world, the focus for political risk seems to be shifting from developing countries to developed ones. Interestingly, for instance, there is a rise in populist and nationalist views among a number of politicians in the western world. When such people are elected they may bring trade and investment restrictions, higher government spending and lower taxes, resulting in wider fiscal deficits and restrictions on immigration. Surprisingly, some of such views have even been able to gain additional power recently.

Donald Trump was elected as the US president in 2016 by campaigning over such perspectives; and one of the first decisions of his government was abandoning the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. Even the future of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement is not really clear under the Trump administration though the negotiations are still in progress. His policies on free trade, inward foreign direct investment, NATO, foreign policy and immigration etc. are reflecting a significant shift from the traditional approaches in US. The relations of US with the EU countries have also been in a general deterioration since Trump came into power.

Another interesting event has been Britain’s exit from EU, so called the Brexit, following a referendum in June 2016. After this decision, many Eurosceptic politicians in other European countries celebrated the result, and expected other countries to follow the British example. The recent French presidential elections were a very important stage in shaping such expectations for the future as Marine Le Pen was also running for the presidency, based on an anti-EU campaign. Pro-EU Emmanuel Macron’s presidency has currently calmed down such concerns. But, it seems that by the time for a full recovery from the global financial and economic crisis, those discussions and the risks against the existing establishments will be on the scene.
The European affairs were not limited only to these events. Moreover, for instance, the Ukrainian territory Crimea’s annexation by Russia in March 2014 with a military intervention has changed the security position on the European continent significantly. Though there were contradicting views even within EU over the conflict, it now seems that Poland for example has particular concerns due to the unpredictability of Russia that does not avoid using even military power.

In the late 1980s after the collapse of communist regimes and the end of the cold war, however, there was initially a huge optimism for peace and political stability in Europe. Yes, there was a long civil war in the ex-Yugoslavia in the centre of Europe for a very long time; but with the impetus of the end of cold war, the European Union started an ambitious enlargement process and then many newly independent or ex-communist countries have either joined the EU or applied for full-membership. While all such developments were in progress, Russia was forced to accept all these as she was also in her own restructuring process. In 1999, Vladimir Putin first became the prime minister and then the acting president in Russia. Since then, Russia’s standing regarding the world political events have resembled the Soviet period.

While the western world has been struggling with these developments, the developing countries are also having important problems with further implications on the industrial word. One of such major affairs is the civil war in Syria started in 2011 and still continues. At the moment, nobody can predict which type of resolution will be the final stage. But even this single event has caused millions refugees’ flow from the region mainly to Europe. The Syrian refugees have particularly been a burden on neighbouring Turkey, and also on Greece and Germany not only financially but also regarding social and political aspects.

Another interesting political risk case could be Turkey. Since the coup attempt on 15 July 2016, there have been important political developments in the country. For instance, just after the coup attempt a state of emergency was declared; and then a referendum was held on 16 April 2017 to amend the country’s constitution. This was followed by a major structural change in the political structure to replace the existing parliament-based government with a presidential system. As a results, there are serious concerns whether Turkey is evolving into an authoritarian regime. Under such circumstances, the Turkish president Mr. Erdogan accused some European countries’ governments to support the opposition in Turkey just before the referendum. These events were followed by some others such as the arrest of a number of German citizens including a journalist and not allowing German parliamentarians to visit the German soldiers stationed in a military base in Turkey. The German government consequently decided to withdraw its soldiers from Turkey. All these events have created mistrust and concerns between the two governments.

A final outburst has come from the Middle East. The four Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia have first cut off their diplomatic relations and then initiated a boycott against Qatar stating that the government in Doha has links to terrorist groups. The conflict arose less than a month after Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia where he called for Muslim nations to unite against extremism. This issue may be escalated as Iran and Turkey have been backing Qatar while the other countries have been increasing their pressure. There are serious worries that the dispute may be ended with a military action in the regions.

It is interesting to go through all these events which are, in fact, not the all. Let us keep in mind that we have not yet even mentioned the acts of global terrorism in major cities in the world. As is known, the deaths have been counted by hundreds by now.

These issues are not only political but they may have significant economic or business-related consequences. For instance, the Brexit has already proved that there will be unexpected outcomes on multinationals’ operations in Britain. For example, it is claimed that many banks and financial sector companies based in London are planning to relocate their operations somewhere in the continental European cities such as Frankfurt. Or similarly, as a major direct investor in the world, Germany’s political relations with Turkey may adversely affect German multinationals’ operations in Turkey.
In this environment, probably caused partly by the global financial and economic crisis, there are serious concerns among business people, politicians, academics and thought leaders that the world is getting more insecure due to global terrorism, nationalist and authoritarian tendencies etc... Naturally, multinational corporations’ FDI activities cannot be isolated from all such developments. Therefore, political risk management will surely be a very interesting area to study particularly these days. In other words, in the current global environment of high political risks and policy uncertainty, it will certainly be valuable to examine the evolution of political risk perceptions of multinationals and also the tools and techniques they use to skilfully manage such risks. Analysing how investors perceive and deal with these risks will additionally contribute to a better understanding of the role of political risk insurance in the post-crisis investment landscape, and how it can help to multinationals’ direct investment activities in high risk regions or countries.

In this respect, Würzburg International Business Forum’s International Business Conference will bring academics, professionals, business people and representatives of the public sector from Germany and also from other countries together to analyse the current situation and foresee the future developments regarding political risk management within the framework of foreign direct investment and all other activities of multinational corporations. As an extension of this main theme, availability and use of political risk insurance will be also evaluated. The Conference will also provide an international forum for the exchange of information and experience on firm internationalization, export-import business, international entrepreneurship and risk management in different countries and the implications of these so far on countries’ economies and societies from a broader perspective. The Conference will explore both theoretical issues in the field and practical issues in formulating policy and strategy and it will also pay attention to the issue of employment and growth regarding multinationals and foreign direct investment.

  • overall trends in FDI and multinational corporations’ political risk perceptions;
  • corporate views on foreign investment and the political risk environment in the world in general, and the developed and developing countries in particular; and
  • the ability of the political risk insurance industry to respond to an emerging post-crisis investment landscape.

  • Why and how multinationals need to manage political risks: Motivations, strategies and tools
  • Political risk insurance and investment insurance
  • Role of export credit agencies (ECAs)
  • Role of multinational institutions (such as MIGA)
  • Political risk insurance and providers’ approach to the new international scene
  • Insurance for terrorism: Who takes the risk?
  • Major risks: Regulatory risks, confiscation, expropriation, transfer difficulties etc.
  • Sectoral case studies regarding political risk management such as energy sector, extractive industries, manufacturing, services etc.
  • Emerging paradigms of political risk management
  • Political risk perceptions of German and other country multinationals regarding, US, Russia, China, Iran, Qatar, Turkey and other countries historically and at present.
  • Political risk management approaches and strategies, tools and mechanisms
  • Expectations and decisions regarding further investment or divestment in some countries and reasons behind
  • The future of free trade and investment agreements under the Trump administration
  • FDI by small and medium-sized German and other country multinationals and effects of their activities on value creation, employment and growth in both home and host countries
  • Small multinationals approach towards political risk management: Do political risks discourage small and medium-sized firms to be involved in internationalization and FDI?
  • Political risk as an obstacle to small and medium-sized firm internationalization
  • Lessons to be learned from the German Mittelstand in terms of internationalization and foreign direct investment activities under political risks
  • Political risk management practices in Germany, in the European Union and other European countries
  • Political risk management practices in Asia, the Middle East and the North Africa, Africa, in Americas etc.
  • Emerging multinationals and political risk management
  • Refugee flows and political risks
  • SME internationalization and the role of officially-supported Export Credit Agencies
  • International opportunity recognition and opportunity development of companies under increasing political uncertainty and risk (regulatory risks etc.)
  • Other topics relevant to the theme of the conference
  • Full Papers and Extended Abstracts Submission: until 27th April 2018
  • Acceptance Confirmation: 4th May 2018
  • Early Bird Registration: from 2nd March to 13th April 2018
  • Registration Closes: 12th May 2018
  • Conference Opens: 24th May 2018
  • Conference Closes: 25th May 2018