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Changing IB scholarship via rhetoric or bloody knuckles? A case study in the boundary conditions for persuasion


  • Jane Salk

    (1] Department of International Management and Strategy, University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, USA[2] MIT Sloan School of Management, MA, USA)


Papers challenging institutionalized fields to change are rare, and those not extinguished by neglect are rarer. Shenkar understands his target audience. Those in that target community of IB scholars studying cultural distance's (CD) associations with foreign direct investment (FDI) might read this paper as relatively radical. Culture scholars sometimes interpret the discussion of cultural friction (CF) as competing with, even slighting by omission, their corpus of work on contact and interaction. Both readings are false, and forced comparison with two later papers reveals retrospective bias at work. It further reveals CF as a metaphor, not theory; it is not a research agenda “assigned to the field”, even if it becomes a personal project for the author. Rhetorical theory is the basis to compare the reasoning of appeals and emotion. The discussion considers whether academic change agents might consider more use of emotion. Bringing Shenkar into focus enriches our appreciation for its impressive craftsmanship as well as its scholarship. I discuss implications for “impact” as a concept currently stuck with looking for citation over substance, and offer suggestions for reviewers and editors to lower the barriers for impact.

Suggested Citation

  • Jane Salk, 2012. "Changing IB scholarship via rhetoric or bloody knuckles? A case study in the boundary conditions for persuasion," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 43(1), pages 28-40, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:43:y:2012:i:1:p:28-40

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    Cited by:

    1. Drogendijk, Rian & Martín Martín, Oscar, 2015. "Relevant dimensions and contextual weights of distance in international business decisions: Evidence from Spanish and Chinese outward FDI," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 133-147.

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