Foundation and development of the Chapter
What became the AIB United Kingdom & Ireland Chapter (AIB UK&I) dates back to 1973 when Michael Z Brooke of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) took the initiative to develop the International Business community in the UK. The Chapter began when Michael was requested by Vern Terpstra, the President of AIB to form a Chapter in Western Europe. Michael opted for creating a Chapter in the UK as he considered that organising a chapter for all of West Europe was too daunting. He held the inaugural meeting of AIB UK with 64 participants on a spring day in 1973 at UMIST. This meeting was Michael’s response to Lee Nehrt’s enquiry (Vern Terpstra’s successor) as to why UK members were not being recruited in greater numbers.
Peter Buckley recalls the first meeting - “The impetus for the establishment of a UK chapter of AIB came from Michael Brooke. In 1973 Michael organised (what in retrospect became) the first meeting of AIB UK in Manchester. I attended as a PhD student from Lancaster having recently been appointed Esmee Fairbairn Research Assistant to John Dunning at Reading. Dunning gave the only formal talk on the state of the art in International Business (IB) and the other participants all gave short summaries of their research, before we adjourned to the pub. The first formal meeting of AIB UK took place in Reading in 1975 and early meetings settled into a Bradford–Manchester–Reading–Strathclyde circuit.”
The history of the first 25 years of the AIB UK Chapter is summarised in a pamphlet written by Michael Z Brooke published in 1998 on the 25th Anniversary of the Chapter. The pamphlet provides an outline of the foundation of the Chapter including the relationship with the Academy of IB (AIB) and the European IB Association (EIBA). The history also refers to some of the debates about the boundaries and content of IB in the 1970s and 1980s and highlights the contributions to this debate by the Chapter. The pamphlet contains a list of the papers presented at conferences between 1973 to 1998 and reveals a growing number of papers on a wide range of topics, many by leading members of the IB community, for example, Julian Birkinshaw, Keith Brouthers, Peter Buckley, John Cantwell, Mark Casson, John Dunning, Neil Hood, Klaus Meyer, Ram Mudambi and Stephen Young.
The development of the Chapter was supported by leading IB scholars. The Chapter benefited from the strong support of Peter Buckley from the earliest days until today. He has provided invaluable support for the development of the Chapter and advice and encouragement to Chapter Chairs, track chairs, and doctoral panels. Stephen Young also provided invaluable advice to the Chapter over many years. The first constitution was drawn up by Peter Buckley and Stephen developed this constitution, which remains the core of the governing processes of the Chapter. John Dunning and Alan Rugman were stanch supporters of the Chapter by regularly attending the conferences, presenting papers and providing advice to Chapter Chairs and to PhD students in the doctoral sessions.
Since the early foundational days of the Chapter a series of Chairs have led a large number of committed academics on the Executive Board of the Chapter to develop and promote the IB community in the UK and further afield. In 2006 the Chapter was extended to include the Republic of Ireland and became the AIB UK & Ireland Chapter. Personal insights into the development of the Chapter are provide by reports from the Chairs of the Chapter from Peter Buckley onwards. The reports from the Chairs of the Chapter outlining the developments in the Chapter and pamphlet on the history of the first 25 years of the Chapter written by Michael Z Brooke.
From the beginning, the major work of the Chapter has been the annual conference. The conference has seen a significant increase in the number of papers presented; from a handful of papers in the 1970s and 1980s to about 50 or so papers by the late 1990s (see The First 25 Years – 1973 to 1998). In the early to mid-2000s this had risen to about 100 papers. Currently, the conference attracts around 150 papers. The conference developed a strong doctoral panel and special tracks of major contemporary issues and on developing IB research. The development of the annual conference stimulated a significant enhancement in administrative structure of the Chapter. The initial organisational structure was based on an informal network of a small but vibrant community of IB scholars based in the UK. As the work of the Chapter extended with larger and more developed conferences the Chapter developed a Constitution and an Executive Board. The organizational structure has continued to develop, covering a large number of areas. The Chapter has also developed links with external bodies and has become an important representative of the interests of the IB community in the UK and Ireland and in wider arenas. The development of the Chapter in terms of conferences, organisational structure and engagement with wider academic and user communities is outlined in the reports from Chapter Chairs