A blue globe on a keyboard to as an international business concept

International Business and Enterprise

About us

The International Business and Enterprise (IBE) research cluster is a leading centre for the study of business and management in an international context. We are embedded in the Adam Smith Business School and offer a platform for world-class research, teaching and knowledge exchange on international business and management.

Our work is broadly organised around the following research streams:

  • International entrepreneurship (IE) and the internationalisation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
  • Professional service firms and globalisation
  • Sustainable development and the business-society nexus
  • Digital globalisation
  • Methodological issues in international business and entrepreneurship
  • International economic history

Members of the cluster regularly publish in leading International Business journals such as the Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of World Business, Global Strategy Journal, International Business Review, and Critical Perspectives on International Business, as well as major general management journals such as Human Relations and Organization Studies and more specialist journals such as Business and Society and World Development. We embrace interdisciplinarity and maintain productive links with other disciplines such as Business and Society, Development Studies, International Marketing, International Political Economy and Organisation Studies.

The IBE cluster was previously known as the Centre for Internationalisation and Enterprise Research (CIER). CIER was launched by Professor Stephen Young and Professor Marian Jones in 2006. Professor Pavlos Dimitratos joined CIER in 2006 and led the centre in the 2010s before passing the baton to Professor Mehdi Boussebaa in 2020.


"IBE are doing some terrific research and really building the field of international entrepreneurship."  

Professor Patricia McDougall, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University Bloomington

"The International Business and Enterprise Cluster at Glasgow has a firmly established reputation as a world-leading centre in its field.  It is now building some exciting new initiatives on this foundation. Its research, teaching and academic culture are all excellent, and I always find visiting there to be a very stimulating experience."

Professor John Child, Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham

Our research community

We edit and serve on the editorial boards of several leading journals, such as the Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of World Business, International Business Review, Organization Studies, Critical Perspectives on International Business, Journal of Professions and Organization, Human Relations and Data in Brief.

We are active in several major scholarly associations (Academy of International Business, Academy of Management, European Group for Organisational Studies), networks within the British Academy of Management and research centres such as the Scottish Centre for China Research and the SBIA consortium at the University of Edinburgh. We also play leading roles in the AIB sustainability, teaching and education, and women in AIB special interest groups, and hold executive committee membership at the AIB-UKI chapter.

We have extensive international links with researchers, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), development agencies, multinational corporations and policymakers. We carry out our research across the globe, and our members frequently contribute to the international media. 

Members of the cluster are recognised for their substantive contributions to contemporary debates in the field and, as such, are consistently ranked highly for prolific scholarship through top-citation scores on Google Scholar and/or inclusion in The Stanford Ranking, a prestigious ranking at the international level which lists the top 100,000 scientists worldwide.


Our research themes

International entrepreneurship (IE) and the internationalisation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs)

International entrepreneurial firms and SMEs are of key interest to IB scholars. We address three key areas. First, we examine the internationalisation of established SMEs and why, what, where and how these firms address the challenges of doing business in foreign countries. These include exporters and micro multinationals, the latter employing advanced market entry models.

Second, we are concerned with early and/or rapidly internationalising firms and how they address the effects of newness and smallness.

Third, support for firms to succeed internationally is of importance for national governments, and we are interested in how policy can support the way in which SMEs can effectively innovate and compete in response to the changing global environment.

Dr Junzhe Ji, Professor Margaret Fletcher, Dr Rose Narooz, Dr Noemi Sinkovics, Professor Rudolf Sinkovics and Dr Yee Kwan Tang


Professional service firms and globalisation

We investigate the internationalisation of professional service firms (PSFs), and the role played by large, transnational PSFs in the globalisation of the world economy.

Specifically, we examine how PSFs expand and organise across nations, how they adapt (or not) to different institutional contexts and how they (re)shape societies around the world in line with corporate objectives.

We also examine how PSFs seek to shape transnational governance regimes to create a global market for their services.

Professor Mehdi Boussebaa

Sustainable development and the business-society nexus

We investigate how organisations can conduct business in an environmentally and socially sustainable way without risking financial viability.

Specifically, we examine how firms work or collaborate with a wide range of other actors towards the SDGs and how SMEs and MNEs can use innovation to future-proof their business models and establish resilience in the face of increasing resource constraints and other grand challenges (climate change, rising inequalities, migration)

Dr Noemi Sinkovics, Professor Rudolf Sinkovics, Professor Mehdi Boussebaa and Dr Saurabh Lall.

Digital globalisation

Advanced technologies, platforms and disruptive industry 4.0 technologies are triggering digital transformation and fundamentally altering business models and inter-firm partnerships. The technology impacts on relational exchange and the geographical organisation of business activities are neither constrained to sectors or geographical clusters but seemingly boundaryless.

However, the impacts are not uniquely positive (e.g. "virtuality trap"), context-dependent and have consequences on distributional outcomes (impact on labour, profit-capture and rents). Within this theme, we examine these phenomena.

Dr Noemi Sinkovics, Professor Rudolf Sinkovics, Professor Trevor Buck and Professor Margaret Fletcher.

Methodological issues in international business and entrepreneurship

Methodological issues can be particularly thorny considerations in international business (IB) and international entrepreneurship (IE) research. If not appropriately addressed, they can severely undermine valid inferences, limit the ability to generalise to populations of interest and to build theory. More generally, they can lead to poor recommendations regarding managerial practice and lead problematic outcomes.

Within this theme, we aim to understand how methodological advancements shape quantitative and qualitative research practice.

Dr Noemi Sinkovics, Professor Rudolf Sinkovics, Professor Margaret Fletcher, Professor Trevor Buck and Professor Mehdi Boussebaa.

The University of Glasgow Gilbert Scott Building in the evening

Impact and engagement

Learn more about our projects and activities

European economic integration

Image of EU flag against parliament in Brussels, Belgium, to represent the EURECON project

Professor Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol is the principal investigator on the EURECON project, which is financed by a €1.5 million Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). The goal of the EURECON project is to explore the historical views of European policymakers on how to make the organisation of the European Economic Community (EEC) fit for the creation of a single currency. The project will examine the origins of the issues that are currently plaguing the European Union (EU) by investigating the period between the creation of the EEC in 1957 and the decision to create a European single currency in 1992. 

Internationalisation and poverty reduction: Mexican SMEs

Industry factory to demonstrate the Internationalisation and poverty reduction: Mexican SMEs research project

Internationalisation is considered a significant mechanism for creating jobs and alleviating poverty. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are very important to the Mexican economy as they generate more than 7 out of 10 jobs and contribute more than 50% of the country’s GDP. Dr Rose Narooz is working with partners in Mexico on a Newton Fund Institutional Links/British Council-funded project which aims to gain new insights into the barriers to internationalisation for SMEs in the country.

Globalisation: Chinese professional service firms

Image of businesswoman in the office to represent the Chinese professional service firms research project

Professor Mehdi Boussebaa is the principal investigator on a British Academy-funded project examining the internationalisation strategies and practices of Chinese professional service firms. The research seeks to understand why, where and how these firms are expanding internationally. It will inform ongoing academic and policy debates about professional service firms as outcomes and agents of globalisation and will be equally useful for regulators of the business professions.

Combating energy poverty

Solar panel, photovoltaic, alternative electricity source

Dr Yee Kwan Tang is a co-investigator on a £299,701 Innovate UK-funded project which aims to provide clean, affordable and secure electricity to a remote village in Bangladesh. This innovative collaboration between industry and academia involves Dr Chong Li (PI) from the James Watt School of Engineering, UK technology company SEMWaves Ltd and local partners in Bangladesh. The team will test build a solar-hydraulic power generation system and its distribution in the region. The project aims to support Bangladesh in meeting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on universal access to affordable clean energy.