Seven EIBAians in search of an author
EIBA Fellow, ISEG-Lisbon School of Economics and Management, University of Lisboa
© Copyright 2015 Vítor Corado Simões. All rights reserved.
First published in EIBAzine, November 2015
This is not a play about strange characters as Luigi Pirandello’s one. This is an account about real people who have played important roles in shaping EIBA’s trajectory, and in turning it into the thriving organization it is today. Yet, these EIBAians share a common problem with Pirandello’s characters: they are also in search of an author. In this case, an author that might put in context the contributions of the seven EIBAians evoked here, together with others, to make EIBA the key organization to congregate the IB community in Europe (and elsewhere). EIBA has already commemorated its 40th birthday. Time has come to write a comprehensive history of EIBA!
In his wonderful book The Living Company, Arie de Geus (1997), a former Director of Strategic Planning at Shell and a visiting fellow at London Business School, shows that longer-living organisations are those who are able to develop appropriate cohesion levels and to swiftly adapt to environmental changes. The building up of a common culture and vision, a persona, is essential for organisations to survive. As De Geus (1997: 100) put it, there is a need “to find a way to develop a healthy relationship between the entity’s persona and its environment”. This article is intended to be a contribution to the development of EIBA’s persona, by recollecting people who has made its history. It is also aimed at building organizational cohesion, by providing younger members of the EIBA community with a brief perspective on those who, though being no longer with us, have once played a pivotal role in EIBA.
The seven people who are evoked here have been either Presidents of EIBA and/or Deans of the EIBA Fellows. This was the criterion used to select them. I recognize that other EIBAians might also deserve a place in EIBA’s history, as Nino B. Kumar or Jim Taggart (the eldest of us remember him and his kilt in EIBA Gala Dinners; besides that, I shared with Jim the love for green-and-white stripes football teams as well as for the study of subsidiary’s behaviour). They are all men. Although women were already members of the EIBA Board in the 1990s (I remember Sabine Urban and Francesca Sanna-Randaccio), the first woman to serve as EIBA President was Marina Papanastassiou, who organised the 28th EIBA Conference in Athens in 2002. The good news is that all of them are still active in our profession, namely Francesca, who is serving, at the time of writing, as Dean of the EIBA Fellows). The seven EIBAians are mentioned below in alphabetical order, although I will not follow this order elsewhere in the text: Danny Van Den Bulcke, Gunnar Hedlund, Hans-Günther Meissner, Harald Vestergaard, John H. Dunning, Neil Hood and Roland Schuit. I had the privilege to work and to develop a strong friendship with them all.
Hans-Günther Meissner (see Image 1) was the first to serve as President of EIBA: in 1978, he chaired the 4th EIBA Conference in Dortmund. I have not attended this one, but I remember the 14th EIBA Conference, also convened by Hans-Günther in Berlin, in 1988. This entailed a huge amount of work and was the testimony of an incredible level of commitment to EIBA. Organising a conference for more than 200 people at distance in a still-divided Berlin was not an easy task. The conference was a landmark for EIBA, since it somewhat announced what came to happen less than one year later. In spite of the Wall, Hans-Günther was extremely pleased to welcome his EIBA friends at the heart of Germany. I remind a reception held alongside the Wall at West Berlin municipality building, whose large glass windows enabled us to watch the guards martially marching on the other side, policing the Wall. It was a strange feeling drinking a good Mosel wine while looking through the glass to ‘another world’.
Hans-Günther was not just a conference organizer. He was a highly recognized and prolific scholar. After learning Sociology and Psychology, he specialised in International Marketing, becoming Emeritus in 1994. Hans-Günther authored a large set of books and articles in German language, but also in English, namely in the Journal of Marketing (Campbell et al., 1998), and Spanish (Meissner & Garcia-Echevarria, 1988).
Image 1: Hans-Günther Meissner (Stuttgart, December 1997)
Roland Schuit (see Image 2) organized the 10th EIBA Annual Conference, held in Rotterdam, in 1985. Professor at Erasmus University, Roland was a wonderful convivial man, being instrumental in welcoming young scholars to EIBA. He had a key role in EIBA Conferences: he played Santa Claus, distributing the usual gifts at the end of the Conference. There was a division of labour with Danny van den Bulcke, who was in charge of delivering the speech and announcing people to receive the gifts and awards; only after Roland passing away, has Danny handled the delivery of gifts, but not the Santa Claus role. I remember a talk with Roland in Reading, in the final day of the conference organized by John Cantwell, in which Roland taught me about the Do’s and Don’ts in organizing an EIBA Conference.
Roland was not just a show man. He was a committed and well-regarded scholar, with very good connections with multinational firms. From a presentation he made at EIBA, I learned about the research Shell was carrying out on the theme of ‘May Shell die?’, which led to De Geus (1997) book. He published about SMEs and venture capital firms: his book on the internationalization of venture capital firms (Schuit, 1989) is one of the pioneering works in this field.
Image 2: Cheers with Roland Schuit (Lisbon, December 2013)
The 1991 EIBA Conference took place at Copenhagen Business School, organized by Harald Vestergaard (see Image 3). Professor of Finance, Harald was a quiet man, supportive, and with a strong sense of friendship. More than publishing widely cited papers or books, he was focused on teaching and on helping colleagues, paying attention to their needs and providing support. A look at the classical International Finance manual by Eiteman, Stonehill & Moffet (2013) enables to find a reference to the contribution provided by Harald to earlier editions.
The Copenhagen Conference runned smoothly, thanks to a perfect organization. If I remember well the first version of the well-known article by Bruce Kogut and Udo Zander on the evolutionary theory of the firm was presented there. Two other memories from the Conference show Harald’s multi-faced character. He invited the Board members to a drink at his home, and at the Gala Dinner there has a stunning performance of an entertainer, with clever jokes about our profession (as far as I know, he was a former student of Harald). I was particularly touched by this, since I had the commitment to organize the 1993 Conference in Lisbon. In 1993, I had the opportunity to further interact with Harald in a more relaxed environment (see Image 3), making my conviction about his human skills even stronger.
Image 3: Vítor Corado Simões, Gerry van Dijk, Mrs. Vestergaard and Harald Vestergaard (Azeitão, May 1993)
As a result of Gunnar Hedlund’s initiative, EIBA was held in Stockholm in 1996. Gunnar (see Image 4) was a brilliant, introspective and insightful scholar, and a long term EIBA member. Unfortunately, the illness that ultimately led to his death prevented Gunnar from joining us at the Conference. I still remember how Örjan Solvell, who took in charge the organization, and his team were penalized by Gunnar’s absence. All of us were, in fact. That time I was not able the usual feeling of joy when strolling through Gamla Stan. The absence was especially felt at the wonderful dinner at Stadshuset’s Golden Room. At the place in which Nobel Prizes are given, mixed feelings emerged: it was great to be there, but the main responsible for the event was not among us.
However, Gunnar’s memory is still alive in EIBA for two main reasons. The first has to do with his research contributions, namely the introduction of the concept of heterarchy (Hedlund, 1986), and his SMJ article (Hedlund, 1994) on knowledge management, in which he provided a new vision of the relationship between tacit and articulated knowledge, influenced by his collaboration with Ikujiro Nonaka; I would underline two pioneering aspects of his model: the attention granted to the role played by small groups in the knowledge management process, and the extension to inter-organisational knowledge sharing. The second regards the fact that in 1997 the Boards of the Institute of International Business (IIB) and the EIBA decided to launch the Gunnar Hedlund Award for the best PhD thesis in the field of International Business. Everybody will remember Örjan Solvell’s loud voice saying, ‘and the winner is…’.
Image 4: Gunnar Hedlund (right) with Jean-François Hennart, (Lisbon, December 1993)
Differently for the others, the friendship with the last three EIBAians I recollect here, was not started in an EIBA context. I got acquainted with John H. Dunning when he came to Portugal in 1980 as an OECD expert to advice Portugal’s Instituto de Investimento Estrangeiro (Foreign Investment Institute), for which I worked at that time, on attracting FDI. The week I spent accompanying John was instrumental in strengthening my commitment to research on international business issues. I remember discussing with him about the merits of national and foreign investors, when he raised a question that became carved in my memory: “Why should foreign investors behave in a less positive way than domestic ones?”. With his capacity to attract and integrate younger researchers, he later invited me to write a chapter on Portugal for his book Multinational Enterprises, Economic Structure and International Competitiveness (Dunning, 1995). The first time I met Neil Hood and Danny Van Den Bulcke was in connection with this, at a workshop convened by John H. Dunning, and held at the wonderful scenario of Bellagio (Italy), on the shores of Lake Como, in September 1983, to discuss the draft contributions for the book. Danny contributed a paper on Belgium (Van Den Bulcke, 1995), and Neil acted as discussant.
The empathy generated with Neil Hood (see Image 5) was immediate, since we had both a double appartenance: academic and non-academic. Similarly to Hans-Günther, Neil also organized the EIBA Conference twice: in 1985 and in 1986 (this year in cooperation with Danny van den Bulcke). He invited me to attend the 11th EIBA Conference in Glasgow. I was not able to go due to professional commitments, but I heard recollections about the unforgettable Mediaeval Dinner held at a Scottish castle.
Image 5: Neil Hood, Ann Hood and John Dunning (Lisbon, December 1993)
Born in Scotland (and very proud of his Scottish heritage), Neil had a career that might seem strange today, since after leaving secondary school he started to work in the steel industry, entering the University at a later stage only (something that also happened with John Dunning), and combined teaching and research with outside appointments; he was director of Locate in Scotland, actively promoting foreign direct investment in Scotland, and deputy chairman of Scottish Enterprise. In 1983, together with Stephen Young, he created the Strathclyde International Business Unit. In spite of his extra-academic commitments, he published extensively, always in cooperation with colleagues. His book The Economics of Multinational Enterprise (Hood & Young, 1979), co-authored with S. Young (Hood & Young, 1979), was a ‘must read’ in the early 1980s and became one of the most cited references at the time. Other important contributions are Multinationals in Retreat (Hood & Young, 1982), focused on the closure of multinational subsidiaries in Britain, and the edited volume The globalization of multinational enterprise activity and economic development (Young & Hood, 2000). For younger scholars, however, Neil is best known for his collaboration with Julian Birkinshaw, which led to key contributions for the understanding of multinational subsidiaries (Birkinshaw & Hood, 1998, 2000 and 2001; Birkinshaw, Hood & Jonsson, 1998; Birkinshaw, Hood & Young, 2005). In his last years of life, Neil turned his attention to the family, especially the grand-children, writing books to introduce children in Christian religion. In 2008, after his death, the Neil Hood Memorial Fund was established, with a view to encourage an international outlook among business students, by providing travel awards to undergraduate students of business who might otherwise be unable to afford to study abroad.
The friendship with Danny started via his hobby. Occasionally, we were strolling through the woods enjoying the magnificent views over Lake Como when Danny asked me to hold his camera (what a distinction!) and take a picture of him. We then spent around one hour walking and talking, and of course Danny profited to take plenty of pictures. When we came back to Villa Serbelloni, he had convinced me to join EIBA and I had learned that there were Belgians who preferred to speak English than French. I only met Danny again in 1986, in London, for the EIBA Conference which took just one day, immediately before the AIB Conference. It was only later that I learned that EIBA was then on troubled waters. Nobody had volunteered to organize the 1986 Conference, and Danny and Neil took on their shoulders the task of keeping EIBA on track, by co-organising the Conference in London. Danny went further, and held the next Conference in Antwerp. I confess that I remember more the social side of this Conference than the academic one. Danny introduced an important innovation: the pre-conference sightseeing walk with a guide, which unfortunately was discontinued later (a consequence of EIBA’s growth). We have seen a tryptic by Rubens that was a real masterpiece. Two other memorable moments were the chamber concert held at a very small church, and the cheese & beer Gala Dinner. This was the first time that I noticed how talented Danny was as an entertainer with his very particular sense of humour.
We all recognize now Danny as ‘Mr. EIBA’. In fact, he has been for many years the ‘soul’ of our Academy. His memory is honoured through the Danny Van Den Bulcke Prize for the best paper presented at the EIBA Conference. The articles by Philippe Gugler, Francesca Sanna-Randaccio and Filip De Beule at issue nº 14 of EIBAzine, published in May 2014, shortly after his death, and the session held at EIBA Uppsala have paid the tribute to Danny’s contribution to the development of both EIBA and the IB discipline. I have nothing to add, except to remind how, like Superman, Danny travelled throughout the World, from the Atacama Desert to the Great Wall of China, rivaling as Superman to contribute towards a better understanding of IB and to attract young scholars to join EIBA (see Images 6 and 7).
Images 6 and 7: Danny van den Bulcke - The Superman and the Great Wall of China
Although he has never been president of EIBA nor organised a Conference, John H. Dunning was the EIBA guru. He was the intellectual lighthouse for more than one generation of IB scholars. Besides designing the eclectic paradigm, he was concerned with the development of the profession, and actively supported young scholars, irrespectively of being their students or not. He was the supervisor of some of the most brilliant IB scholars today, such as John Cantwell, Philippe Gugler, Rajneesh Narula or Sarianna Lundan. The acknowledgement of his intellectual stature and his contribution to EIBA led to his election as the first Dean of the EIBA Fellows.
Again much has been said about John’s contribution to EIBA. The doctorial tutorial, that John has championed for many years, was renamed John H. Dunning Doctoral Tutorial in International Business in recognition of his contribution to the profession and to promote the emergence of new IB talents. I will just remind here three moments related to John’s participation in EIBA Conferences. The first happened at the Gala Dinner of the 1992 Conference, organized by John Cantwell. The first edition of his magnum opus, Multinational Enterprises and the Global Economy, had just been presented (Dunning, 1993). John promised his wife Christine that he will never write something similar, and that he will reduce his workload to have a more quiet life (probably enjoying Cornwall). However, he was not able to fully stand to his promise. Until the end of his life, and in spite of the illness, John has always been active, and developing further work plans, including his wonderful biography Seasons of a Scholar (Dunning, 2008). He strengthened his concern with business ethics and the role of religion in instilling values, namely compassion, in International Business. Related to this, the second moment I recollect is the plenary session he organised at the 24th EIBA in Jerusalem, the city of the three religions, about IB and religion. His intellectual voyage on this theme led to Making Globalisation Good: The Moral Challenges of Global Capitalism, the excellent book he edited in 2003 (Dunning, 2003). There, he “pays especial attention to the role which the globally oriented and promulgated values and behavioural norms of the various religions can play in advancing” the goal of upgrading “the moral and economic values of global capitalism” (Dunning, 2003: 8). Finally, I will underline John’s sense of humour. A striking example is provided by presentation at the 32nd EIBA Conference at Fribourg in 2005, in which he made recourse to his “crystal ball” to forecast how FDI would evolve up to 2027 (Image 8).
Image 8: John Dunning presenting the results provided by his “crystal ball” (Fribourg, December 2006)
This is my tribute to seven EIBAians who have played key roles in EIBA history. Of course, the history of our Academy has been, and is being, made by many other scholars, from different vintages, many of which are still actively participating in EIBA’s life as we will see in Rio de Janeiro. My account was mainly intended to share with younger EIBA members my recollections about seven eminent EIBAians. They are, in fact, in search of an author. EIBA is in its forties. Time has come to for an author to write EIBA history, capturing the diversity of ‘characters’ which make EIBA Family and the richness of EIBA life along its journey since 1975!
Birkinshaw, Julian and Neil Hood (1998), ‘Multinational subsidiary evolution: Capability and charter change in foreign-owned subsidiary companies’, Academy of Management Review, 23(4): 773-795.
Birkinshaw, Julian and Neil Hood (2000), ‘Characteristics of foreign subsidiaries in industry clusters’, Journal of International Business Studies, 31(1): 141-154.
Birkinshaw, Julian and Neil Hood (2001), ‘Unleash innovation in foreign subsidiaries’, Harvard Business Review, 79(3): 131-7.
Birkinshaw, Julian, Neil Hood and Stefan Jonsson (1998), ‘Building firm-specific advantages in multinational corporations: The role of subsidiary initiative’, Strategic Management Journal, 19(3): 221-242.
Birkinshaw, Julian, Neil Hood and Stephen Young (2005), ‘Subsidiary entrepreneurship, internal and external competitive forces, and subsidiary performance’, International Business Review, 14(2): 227-248. .
Campbell, Nigel CG, John L. Graham, Alain Jolibert and Hans-Günther Meissner (1988), ‘Marketing Negotiations in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States’, The Journal of Marketing, 52(2): 49-62.
Dunning, John H., ed. (1985), Multinational Enterprises, Economic Structure, and International Competitiveness, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Dunning, John H. (1993), Multinational Enterprises and the Global Economy, Wokingham: Addison-Wesley.
Dunning, John H., ed. (2003), Making Globalisation Good: The Moral Challenges of Global Capitalism, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.
Dunning, John H. (2008), Seasons of a Scholar, Edward Elgar.
Eiteman, David K., Arthur I. Stonehill, and Michael H. Moffett (2013), Multinational Business Finance, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education
Hedlund, Gunnar (1986), ‘The hypermodern MNC—A heterarchy?’, Human Resource Management, 25(1): 9-35.
Hedlund, Gunnar (1994), ‘A model of knowledge management and the N‐form corporation’, Strategic Management Journal, 15(S2): 73-90.
Hood, Neil, and Stephen Young (1979), The economics of multinational enterprise, London: Longman.
Hood, Neil and Stephen Young (1982), Multinationals in retreat: The Scottish experience, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Kogut, Bruce and Udo Zander (1993), ‘Knowledge of the firm and the evolutionary theory of the multinational corporation’, Journal of International Business Studies, 24 (4): 625–645.
Meissner, Hans G.(2012), Strategic International Marketing, Berlin Heidelberg: Springer Science & Business Media.
Meissner, Hans Günther and Santiago García Echevarría (1998), Estrategia de Marketing Internacional, Madrid: Ediciones Díaz de Santos.
Schuit, J.R.W. (1989), The Internationalisation Process of the Venture Capital Industry, Rotterdam: CBO.
Van Den Bulcke, Däniel (1985), ‘Belgium’, in Dunning, John H. (1985), Multinational Enterprises, Economic Structure, and International Competitiveness, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Inc., pp. 249-280.
Young, Stephen and Neil Hood, eds. (2000), The globalization of multinational enterprise activity and economic development, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Copyright © 2018 Vítor Corado Simões. All rights reserved. Page last modified on Sat 6 Jan 2018 15:37
Vítor Corado Simões is an EIBA Fellow and a faculty member at the ISEG-Lisbon School of Economics and Management, University of Lisboa, Portugal.