First 25 Years (1973 - 1998)
From its beginning the United Kingdom Chapter of the AIB has been through many ups and downs to meet its present stable (all too stable some might say) state.
When Peter Buckley asked me to write the history of the Chapter, I immediately found myself with a problem: I had just retreated from a spacious office in Urmston to my house where, in spite of turning three rooms into an office, storage was strictly limited.
As a result I had to decree that all non-active files must be destroyed. That meant I had no documents to start with, only my memory. I was left with an appeal for help. This appeal produced few documents but many corrections to my memory. And there the project remained with a few bursts of actions (thanks to Jeremy Clegg).
Delighted and excited as I am by the progress that has taken place from tiny beginnings, I note a distinct slowing down in activity these days. This means that the story has had to be based on inadequate evidence or it would not be ready before the Chapter’s centenary.
So there we are, remember 25 years of progress, with a few landmarks that are highlighted in these pages.
- Michael Z. Brooke
THE ACADEMY OF IB - UNITED KINGDOM CHAPTER
The hubbub which has long surrounded management education turned out an innovation much earlier in the century which had to struggle, like all innovations, for academic recognition. Education for export had always existed but was more concerned with bulls of lading than with management strategies, the new discipline emerged from research projects in the United States; it spread only gradually to Europe fostered by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The following paragraphs sketch out the Academy’s origins in the UK and where it came from.
A group of American scholars struggling to legitimize this growing but then unrecognized specialization to be called ‘IB’ came together in the 1960s to form an organization to promote recognition and to further the study of the subject. The meeting formed an organization then called the Association for Education in IB. AN early landmark was the launch of a publication call the Journal of IB Studies edited by Bill Ogram (Ernes W Ogram Jnr) one if its founders. The Journal was published twice yearly for ten years jointly with the School of Business Administration of Georgia State University.
To signal a move upmarket, in 1973 the Association changed its name to the Academy of IB; this change reflected the already changing status of the subject, soon to become a bandwagon. The chairman, elected for two years and at first usually from among the founders, himself appointed regional chairmen within the United States and outside to promote the growth of the Academy. In 1971-2 Vern Terpstra was chairman and Dean Berry chairman of Western Europe.
During the presidency of Vern Terpstra in the early 1970s, Michael Brooke was appointed chairman of the United Kingdom region and during the following year, a letter was received from Lee Nehrt his successor asking why there were not more members in the UK.
The scarcity of members in those days led to the summoning of a first meeting open to anyone interested in teaching or research in IB and this openness has remained. The Academy has never had a strict boundary or rigid induction process.
In 1973, the first meeting of the Academy in Britain was held at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology and was for one day. Few of the 64 participants were members, although many of them joined later. This was an informal gathering to which participants were invited to outline their research and teaching interests. The only formal (prearranged) speech was by John Dunning who spoke about research trends.
The second meeting was held in Reading in 1975 and the increased formality of this occasion – all the speakers were prearranged – marked the beginning of a series of annual meetings which has continued in different centres ever since. The third meeting was held in Bradford when opportunities were once more provided for participants to report on their research.
The next meeting in Manchester brought in members from several other countries including the United States and Japan. The chairman was that year’s president of the Academy, the late Dick Farmer, who scandalized some of the establishment citizens of Manchester by turning up to a Lord Mayor’s reception very informally dressed indeed.
For the later seventies we are short of records, but the chapter was kept alive by the Manchester-Bradford axis. Gradually, step by step the chapter grew stronger, but the founders were in a state of suspense about how it would be sustained. Contrast that with the state of affairs today when the chapter dominated IB research in Britain and is all too well established.
ORGANIZATION AND THE CHAIRMANSHIP
A major landmark was when the chairmanship changed hands and Peter Buckley took over. This change ensured, for the first time, that the chapter (as it had come to be called) no longer depended on a personal initiative and was more broadly based. Stephen Young (from Strathclyde) took over the chair from Peter and Fred Burton (of UMIST) five years later.
During the 1980s and 1990s membership of the Academy in Britain has increased considerably reflecting a growing commitment to the subject of IB in this country. Recruitment was kept down in the early years when people who conducted research and teaching in the subject did not regard it as their main specialization and owed allegiance to other professional bodies – a recruitment problem also reported elsewhere. This subject is picked up under ‘issues’.
This double allegiance was one of the issues that delayed the emergence of a formal organization. An effective committee eventually emerged with members ratified or elected at annual meetings.
OTHER DEVELOPTMENTS AND CONTROVERSIES
Over the years, there have been a number of developments and some controversies.
During recent years, other important developments have taken place, mainly on the initiative of individual members. A treasurer in Britain, willing to collect subscriptions before forwarding them to head office, made recruitment much easier; would-be members did not have the expense of changing their pounds to dollars. This initiative, negotiated by Stanley Paliwoda and maintained by his successor (Fred Burton) was later vetoed by the head office of the Academy. This was disappointing to the British members who thought the system had worked well and abolishing it would make the recruiting and holding of British members more difficult. From the American side, the move was regarded as part of a necessary action to tighten up the hard-pressed finances of the Academy; an allegation that funds urgently needed by head office had been used for regional purposes was strenuously denied on the grounds that the only money not transferred has been used to pay expenses for international activities of British officials on instructions from head office. Salt was rubbed into the local wound when permission was granted to use credit cards for a payment of an enhanced subscription and there the matter has rested. In spite of adverse reactions from members of the UK chapter, the AIB still offers remarkable value for money, due to the commitment of members who undertake much of the work voluntarily. From its beginnings with a small all-American membership in the 1960s it has grown in only 30 years to a mass membership organization with over 2,300 members in more than 50 countries. Subscriptions to JIBS and the opportunity to participate in the Annual Conferences are valued as main benefits.
Annual meetings, with attendances once counted in their tens, now number hundreds and are internationally important events. Meanwhile the Journal has achieved a standard unmatched by most academic journals.
All this has been achieved with a subscription well below that of organizations of a similar prestige. The low subscription has been made possible by a tradition of voluntary service that has grown up and that has been fully reflected in the UK chapter.
Another important development for the UK Chapter was a long-desired introduction by Peter Enderwick of a newsletter to spread information about the activities of the organization and its members. Under the editorship of Jeremy Clegg (then at Bath), the Autumn 1992 newsletter ran to 39 closely packed and informative pages. Newsletter production has now passed to Adam Cross.
The international character of the Academy
Although setting up chapters in other countries, in the 1970s the Academy was shy of attempting an Annual General Meeting outside of the United States, yet a number of scholars from that and other countries did come to an annual meeting of the UK chapter in the mid-1970s. Since then Annual General Meetings have been held in several countries, including Brussels in 1992 when the chairman was Peter Buckley. The 1998 meeting will be held in Vienna.
One consequence of the one-time reluctance of the Academy to entrust itself to meetings outside the home country was the founding of a rival organization – the European IB Association (EIBA) - in Brussels with the backing of staff form the European Foundation of Management Development. Some doubted the need for two organizations for IB, and particularly the implication that there exists a specifically European approach to the subject, but the continuing success of both organizations is surely a tribute to the growing importance of the subject area.
A joint meeting
In December 1992, the AIB, UK chapter joined in the annual meeting of EIBA in Reading. This meeting included a special set of sessions to mark the retirement of John Dunning (published in Buckley, Peter and Casson, Mark, Multinational Enterprises in the World Economy, Edward Elgar 1992). With a keynote speech by Oliver Williamson on ‘The Logic of Economic Organization,’ the conference themes included the following: Multinationals in Europe, multinational business history, IB finance, organization and industrial structure, a theory of international production, new geographical aspects of foreign direct investment as well as political considerations and trade policy.
Apart from this there have been no joint meetings with other organizations undertaken by the chapter, although some were proposed in 1990 (with the British Academy of Management, the Academy of Marketing (formerly MEG) and the International Economics Study Group), this suggestion was not pursued.
Members of the chapter have contributed articles to the Journal of IB Studies. Among the British writers who have contributed since 1990 are: David Norburn, Sue Birley, Adrian Payne, Sidney Gray, Clare Roberts, Peter Doyle, John Saunders, Veronica Wong, CW Neale, Peter Buckley, and Michael Brooke.
The conference held as Thames Polytechnic (now University of Greenwich) in 1988 started the tradition of producing bound copies of the proceedings of the Chapter’s annual meetings. Publication of an edited volume of about a dozen papers on the theme of the conference by Macmillan has been negotiated by AIB Secretary Carla Millar of the City University Business School. A second contract for a further five years of this AIB Macmillan series in IB was negotiated in 1997.
Doctoral workshops: a notable development
In June 1993, the committee of the chapter decided to apply for funding from the Economic and Social Research Council for funding for an advanced doctoral research methods workshop under the Council’s research training development activities scheme. The workshop was held at the University of Bath in September 1994 in the Centre of IB Research organized by Jeremy Clegg. Twenty five students for Ph.D. (or DBA or M.Phil.) attended the course on post graduate research in IB. Those who attended were promised: ‘lectures by experts in key areas of IB and international management research. Discussion sessions to provide access for participants to question speakers closely. Presentation sessions for research students to present and discuss their doctoral research in parallel small groups, with the invited speakers providing tutorial guidance and feedback. Each PhD student’s project will be allocated an hour. The matching of PhD projects with the most appropriate tutor, who will read each student’s PhD material in advance. The discussion will cover the application of research methods in the PhD project concerned.’
The results convinced the committee that the need for training for the rapidly increasing number of doctoral students in IB justified the initiative and would justify further projects along the same lines.
The annual meetings
A list of annual meetings can be found in appendix 2. The titles of these meetings notably reflect the effort of the organizers to find interesting and topical subjects; the papers, in contrast, followed established themes, the interests of researchers. Most meetings also included business sessions (now called ‘Members Meetings’) to discuss the progress of the Academy in this country and to elect officers. The following issues have dominated recent annual meetings.
(1) The boundaries of the subject. It was alleged at the 1992 conference that there is an ‘absence of a framework within which learning experiences can be communicated.’ Unsurprisingly this allegation was never adequately answered, it is doubtful if it could be.
Individual scholars decide how they classify their scholarship. If one calls it ‘IB,’ then it is that even if the results are of equal interest to finance specialists. In fact most writings on IB were of interest to other disciplines as well – usually finance or economics; in the last decade many authors produced writings of interest to social sciences and management.
The gradual identification of the sub-headings of IB can be considered a theme of most of the conference. Some have used the phrase ‘international management’ synonymously regarding it as more active in tone, while admitting that the more common phrase is likely to be more accepted in academic circles.
(2) The Multinational Enterprise and Industrial Organization was the theme of the 1987 conference at Lancaster.
(3) New Frontiers in IB as the theme of the 1987 conference at Thames Polytechnic.
(4) Europe and the Multinationals was the theme of the 1990 conference held in Strathclyde University in the year in which Glasgow was designated the European City of Culture.
(5) Changing Patterns of International Involvement was the theme of the 1991 conference at the South Bank Polytechnic. This concentrated on the implication for IB of growth in developing markets and of the emergence of the countries of Eastern Europe.
(6) Internationalization strategies. The annual meeting in 1993, held in the University of Glamorgan, took the process of internationalization as its theme. Apart from a session on the theory of internationalization (‘exploring theoretical perspectives’), this conference looked at the functional issues (export, technology, and procurement) and the geographical features – Western Europe, Eastern Europe and China – although curiously inward as well as outward investment was considered under Western Europe. Naturally joint ventures and strategic alliances were rated among the current routes to internationalization.