CAVE! HIC DRAGONES! Alan M. Rugman's Contributions to the Field of International Business Book uri icon


  • I am delighted to be here today to honor the work of Alan Rugman. Alain Verbeke (Calgary) and I will discuss Alan's contributions, with me focusing primarily on his contributions to the field of international business (IB); Alain, his contributions to international management (IM). Alan and I first met 25 years ago, introduced by a mutual friend, Judy Alexander, at the Canadian Economics Association annual meetings I believe in 1979 (maybe Alan remembers). Judy and Alan had been office mates while doing their PhDs in Economics at Simon Fraser University. A couple of years later, Alan and I co-sponsored a conference together at Dalhousie University on multinational enterprises (MNEs) and transfer pricing and then co-edited the conference papers as Multinational Enterprises and Transfer Pricing (1985). We have participated in each other's conferences, read and/or edited each other's papers, and organized panels at annual meetings on a regular basis since then. I have read and own copies of almost all of Alan's published works. We have also taught occasional executive training courses together for the Canadian government. I have seen him give multiple conference and professional presentations over the years. In my opinion, Alan Rugman is one of the world's leading scholars of IB, ranking with John Dunning and Raymond Vernon in terms of his contributions to the discipline. He is an extraordinarily prolific scholar, with more books and articles in top journals than almost anyone else in the Academy of International Business (AIB). If asked, I suspect Alan would identify himself as a professor and scholar of international (not global, see below) strategic management (ISM), with his research standing at the intersection of IB, strategic management, international economics and public policy. Trained as an international economist, Alan recognized early on that transaction costs provided an explanation for the existence and success of the MNE. Alan Rugman's most important contribution to international business theory, in my opinion, revolves around two activities: first, his role in building the theory of internalization as a general theory of the MNE and, second, his bridging the gap between internalization theory and strategic management.11Many of the core readings are brought together in Rugman (1996b). Other major scholarly contributions are his work with Joe D'Cruz on the double diamond of competitiveness; with Alain Verbeke on political strategies of MNEs (e.g., shelter-based strategies) and MNE theory (location- and non-location bound firm-specific advantages (FSAs), linking internalization theory with the strategy literature); and his own work on regional integration (Canada-US Free Trade and NAFTA). I also believe that our co-edited book, Rugman and Eden (1985), is the seminal work in this area. Along with single and co-authored books, journal articles, book chapters, monographs, and so on, Alan has also been a prolific book series editor in IB and global strategic management, inviting and pulling together the works of dozens and dozens of scholars around the themes he has seen as key in the profession. Alan has also played an extraordinarily active role in professional associations, most notably the AIB where he has held the positions of Vice President, Program Chair, and now President. He is a long-time AIB Fellow also. We all know that Alan Rugman does not "suffer fools gladly"; he can make very critical comments about academic papers, comments that others might judge unnecessarily harsh. He says what he thinks and gives honest, but blunt, criticism. Since he is almost always right, the comments are always useful even if they can be hard to hear! 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

author list (cited authors)

  • Eden, L.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Eden, Lorraine

publication date

  • November 2005