Bibliographic analysis of the scholarly writings of John Daniels

Provides an historical overview of John Daniels' research interests and publications, created by using the Publish or Perish software

Written by Anne-Wil Harzing, AIB Fellows Bibliometrician. This analysis first appeared in the AIB Newsletter.

Introduction

John Daniels’s publishing career spanned nearly 40 years, with his first publication in 1970 and his last article published in 2008. Fittingly for an IB scholar, both his first and his last journal article were published in the Journal of International Business Studies (JIBS). With eight publications, JIBS  was Daniels’ most frequent outlet during his publishing career.

However, he also published regularly in other IB journals such as Management International Review (6), Multinational Business Review (3), and Transnational Corporations (2), trade journals such as Foreign Trade Review (3) and The International Trade Journal (2), as well as in a very wide range of other journals, including the Academy of Management Journal and Strategic Management Journal.

Daniels single-authored many of his articles, but also had longstanding co-authors such as Radebaugh, Sullivan, and Trevino. Daniels’ large body of scholarly work has been cited more than 6,500 times in Google Scholar, with an h-index of 27. Below is a selective summary of his most important work in five sections: IB teaching; Core IB topics; Managing MNCs, HRM in MNCs; Technology transfer; and the field of IB.

International Business teaching: textbook and curriculum review

Although Daniels has a very distinguished research record, he is perhaps best-known for his textbook: International Business: Environment and Operations. Initially co-authored with Ernest W. Ogram (first and second edition) and Lee Radebaugh, Daniels and Radebaugh were later joined by Daniel Sullivan. The book was first published in January 1976 and made it through no less than seventeen editions, with the last edition published in 2021.

The book was translated into both Spanish and Russian, and there is a separate global edition. Although there are now at least a dozen textbooks on the topic of IB, this is the one that many of us grew up with. At nearly 3,000 citations, it is also by far Daniels’ most cited publication.

With Radebaugh, Daniels also published an International business curriculum survey (1974) for the Academy of International Business, discussed in a 1975 JIBS article: The Evolvement of International Business Education. He also wrote about Building a course around films: a case example of an international management course (1981) at a time where this was highly innovative. In 2003 he updated the curriculum survey in Specialization to infusion: IB studies in the 1990s.

Core IB topics: FDI, exporting, and entry modes

Daniels’ first academic article in 1970 dealt with foreign direct manufacturing investment in the United States, very much the “topic du jour” in that era and a theme he would revisit throughout his career, looking at both inward and outward FDI. See for instance: Pull Factors for Direct Investment (1980), Japanese manufacturing foreign direct investment in the United States (1994), FDI theory and foreign direct investment in the United States (1995), Market reform and FDI in Latin America (2002) and Foreign direct investment from Latin America and the Caribbean (2007).

He also pursued related core IB topics such as exporting with The exporter-nonexporter interface (1976), The choice of technology and export commitment (1982) and Perceived industrial innovation advantage and export commitment (1983), and studied various entry modes such as acquisitions (US Foreign Acquisitions: An Endangered Species?, 1980) and joint ventures (US joint ventures in China: motivation and management of political risk, 1985). His work in high-technology industries (see below) also had a strong focus on joint ventures. His most cited article (Profit performance: do foreign operations make a difference?, 1989), generating more than 600 citations, also deals with a core IB topic: the performance outcomes of internationalization.

Managing MNCs: structure, management, and marketing

In addition to studying International Business topics, drawing on international economics and strategy, Daniels also ventured into topics traditionally associated with International Management. Just like Jose de la Torre, he published early on the transfer of management practices with an article in the Academy of Management Journal on Comparative home country influences on management practices abroad (1972). The article in question provides a fascinating insight into publishing practices at the time. It contains a mere five references and almost none of the now standard article sections: introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. After two short paragraphs of background and 1.5 page of research methods, the rest of the article is devoted purely to a descriptive presentation of the results.

A second article in the Academy of Management Journal provided one of the first studies on organizational design in MNCs (Strategy and structure of US multinationals: An exploratory study, 1984). Although, published well after Stopford’s seminal work in Administrative Science Quarterly (1968), it appeared around the same time as Egelhoff’s ASQ article and Herbert’s Academy of Management Review article on similar topics.

Daniels followed this up with the “Aftermath of the matrix mania” in 1984, Organizing for dual strategies of product diversity and international expansion in the recently launched Strategic Management Journal and Approaches to European regional management by large US multinational firms in Management International Review, both in 1985. He also ventured into international marketing with articles on: Bridging national and global marketing strategies through regional operations (1987) and Marketing channel decisions of foreign manufacturing subsidiaries in the US (1991)

HRM in MNCs: Subsidiary managers

Daniels also published significant work in the area of International HRM. Having started my own publishing career with the article “The persistent myth of high expatriate failure rates”, I was very familiar with his work on this topic: Why Are Early Departure Rates from Foreign Assignments Lower than Historically Reported? (1998) and Causes and consequences of declining early departures from foreign assignments (2002).

However, I was surprised to discover Daniels’ early work on subsidiary staffing in the Academy of Management Journal (Research Note: A Profile of Local Subsidiary Managers, 1973). I am not the only one unaware of this work as – judging on its single digit citation counts – it seems to have largely gone unnoticed by other academics. It was first cited only in 2015, more than 40 years after publication!

His 1974 JIBS article The education and mobility of European executives in US subsidiaries: A comparative study) article suffered the same faith. Hopefully, Michailova, Fee & DeNisi’s (2023) review of research on Host Country Nationals will lead academics to revisit Daniels’ early work: We remain mindful of Daniels’ (1973, 1974) work almost 50 years ago profiling HCNs and differentiating them from local workers not employed within MNEs […]. This line of inquiry would be worth revisiting to identify what is distinctive about HCNs in MNE.

Daniels was also one of the first academics to systematically study third country nationals in non-American manager, especially as third country national, in US multinationals: A separate but equal doctrine? (1974). Again, citations to this work didn’t pick up until the late 2000s, and the article is well worth revisiting for those working in IHRM. His interest in human resources was also reflected in his 1971 JIBS article on managing labour in less developed countries (US Subsidiary Adjustments to the Mexican Labor Market).

Technology transfer

From the early 1990s onwards, Daniels started a new stream of research on technology transfer, after publishing early articles about International High Technology Sales to Governments: A Comparative Analysis in 1981 and The choice of technology and export commitment in 1982. He focused on ownership and entry modes choice and studied the topic mainly in an Asian context.

Surprisingly, this body of work has also attracted relatively little attention from other researchers, with fewer than 200 Google Scholar citations for his entire oeuvre on the topic. This might well be explained by the fact that he published most of this work in specialised journals (The Journal of High Technology Management) and books. Again though, his work in this area is worth revisiting for those working in the field.

The field of IB: relevance, methods, and paradigms

Later in his career Daniels made his mark with critical evaluations of the field of IB, starting with a JIBS article that expanded on his AIB presidential address in 1990 on Relevance in international business research: A need for more linkages. Daniels’ chapter on Interview studies in IB research in Piekkari and Welch’s Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods for International Business (2004) is one of the five most highly cited chapters in this landmark handbook.

With Sullivan, Daniels also published three fascinating articles on the paradigmatic evolution of IB. Two book chapters “Defining international business through its research”, in What is international business? (2005) edited by Peter Buckley and  “International business studies: Episodic or evolutionary”? in Multinational Enterprises and Emerging Challenges of the 21st Century (2007) edited by John Dunning traced the paradigmatic evolution of IB. This was followed by Innovation in international business research: a call for multiple paradigms, (2008), Daniel’s last article, which was an inspiring parting gift for our profession. I reproduce its abstract in full.

Scholars disagree on IB's domain and future prescription, yet agree that research will engage topics dealing with dynamic change and hard-to-explain phenomena. This paper builds on these views, endorsing a multiparadigmatic perspective that complements IB's scientific and humanist paradigms with that of chaos theory. The latter, we argue, is instrumental in studying the non-normal patterns of nonlinear, far-from-equilibrium systems. We illustrate our ideas in the context of NGOs.

Finally, in 2014 Daniels came back for an encore, reflecting (with Jose de la Torre) on the first twenty years of AIB dissertation awards in AIB Insights.

Conclusion

This analysis shows John Daniels was a very versatile researcher, turning his hand to all the key early IB topics: FDI, exporting, entry modes, strategy, and structure of MNCs, technology transfer, and staffing policies. This latter work in HRM was only recently discovered by other academics; maybe the field of IB wasn’t yet ready for HR research in its early days? Like many of the early IB researchers Daniels was an allrounder, not a narrow specialist. He was also very committed to teaching, with his main textbook going through 17 editions, educating many generations of students into the field of IB for over 35 years.

Looking back – through the lens of John Daniels work – at the early volumes of our top journals such as Journal of International Business Studies and Academy of Management Journal, there is no doubt that our research in Business & Management has gained much in terms of conceptual development, methodological strength, and analytical rigour. However, with this has also come increasing specialisation, which has not necessarily led to a better understanding of complex and multifaceted IB phenomena. Personally, I have enjoyed re-visiting a past where being a generalist didn’t yet seem to be a career-limiting choice ūüėä.

Note

This analysis was hindered by the fact that John Daniels did not have a Google Scholar Profile. He also had many namesakes, i.e., scholars with the same name. Hence, this profile might not be 100% accurate. If you do find any important missing information or inaccuracies, please let me know.

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