Comparing capitalisms: understanding institutional diversity and its implications for international business
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This paper examines the role of institutional analysis within the field of international business (IB) studies. Within IB, institutions matter, but the view of institutions tends to be “thin”, utilizing summary indicators rather than detailed description, and thus approaches institutions as unidimensional “variables” that impact on particular facets of business activity. This paper argues that IB research would be usefully advanced by greater attention to comparing the topography of institutional landscapes and understanding their diversity. A number of alternative case-based approaches are outlined that draw on a growing “comparative capitalisms” literature in sociology and political science. The paper develops a number of empirical examples to show the utility and limits of these approaches for IB scholars.