Established within CIBUL, a “Gold Peak of Excellence” in the area of social sciences and the world leading research centre in the field of international business (International Business Review, forthcoming), it benefits from world-class expertise on a wide variety of international business-related topics such as internationalisation strategies of multinational firms, the management of international joint ventures and strategic alliances and the management of culture in international business transactions
- To contribute to the increase in knowledge and understanding of international business and management in India and South Asia (ISA)
- To provide UK and Indian PhD and post-doctoral researchers with a state-of-the-art research-oriented environment that fosters academic excellence and innovation in research methodologies.
- To provide a forum where knowledge and understanding of business can be exchanged between the academic and the corporate worlds, and within networks of shared interests.
- To disseminate knowledge of business practices in the ISA area to academics, businesses and policy-makers.
The changing world economy is characterised by the opening up of emerging economies, and the simultaneously globalisation and regionalisation of markets, in an attempt to secure the economic development and performance benefits of exploiting international business. Countries have adopted policies to make themselves more profitable locations in order to attract investment. For their part, firms respond by seeking performance gains, but also interact with policy formation. In turn, governments also have to balance equity and efficiency in their policies.
India is an emerging player in world business, at a time when globalisation is gathering pace. It has taken second place to China, in terms of business activity and location, in the past decade. It has potential similar to China, however, and shares with it many characteristics such as a population of well over a billion, low wage costs, dramatic internal wealth disparities, a focus on inward foreign investment, a liberalising and reforming economy, a huge internal market and an important business-oriented Diaspora. Following the implementation of internal reforms leading to a reorientation of its economic direction, India has the potential to play a major role in the globalisation process that characterises the world economy in the 21st century. This will create challenges, not only for India itself and its firms, but also for Western firms, governments and citizens.
Unfortunately, these, and other issues related to the rise of India in international business have virtually received no attention by academics. This is related to the fact that the stock of foreign investment in China in 2002 was more than ten times greater than that in India.
India is strongly conscious of its comparative position in relation to China, and many are determined that India’s potential should also be strongly realised. There are currently numerous high profile outsourcing moves to India
by European and U.S. firms, and this trend is likely to continue. The problems and issues generated in complex interactions between firms, governments and citizens can be addressed by a research centre. The UK has had a privileged relationship with India for a century, and a further deepening of bilateral links between the two countries is increasingly likely to take place to the benefits of the parties involved.
International business academia has followed international business practice, and has devoted much more attention to China than to India. Large analyst firms do not devote much attention to India either, which negatively impacts on the way India is perceived by the business community. When analysts do look at India, data are at best inaccurate or suspect. There is therefore a clear need to repair this glaring inadequacy in the attention structure of business and management academia. To date, we know of no research institute in the academic world (outside India itself) which concentrates specifically on business and management in India and South Asia – with the exception of the India and South Asia Business Centre (ISABC) at Leeds
Leeds University Business School (LUBS) contributed to the initial funding of the India Centre, which enabled the conversion of a row of terraced-houses at the heart of the University of Leeds’ campus into state-of-the-art, dedicated research facilities for the understanding of Indian business.
A total of £400k has been invested in the facilities. The India Centre, to be formally launched in 2006, is now actively looking for a three to five-years investment that will enable the development of its activities, leading to its long-term sustainability
Understanding trends in international business related to India in general, and the multi-faceted issues that arise from the growing role of India in the globalisation process requires a multi-disciplinary approach that can be best embedded within a research centre. Traditional single-discipline approaches, associated with conventionally-funded university Chairs, have resulted in a lack of responsiveness.
The need for scale and scope economies
The creation of new knowledge, with which to inform all users and beneficiaries at all levels, requires the exploitation of economies of scale, of scope (cross-fertilisation in multidisciplinary teams), of duration (specific investments), and of joint production, in the form of shared facilities. This requires substantial initial investment, and long-term support for the basic research, and economies of synergy to work through to the strategic output stage
The need for a dedicated approach
Very little research has been conducted on any aspect of Indian business practices. This follows the lack of dedicated research structures. Instead, India has been seen so far as a case study, as part of wider-range research. A dedicated structure with a physical location enables knowledge assimilation and knowledge sharing among multi-disciplinary teams of researchers and practitioners
- Business corporations with existing or potential business interests in India and South Asia
- Government and business organisations whose aim is to encourage and facilitate business in and with India and South Asia
- Diaspora business people and organisations in the U.K. with business interests related to India and South Asia
- Business academics and academic institutions relating to research and teaching in and about India and South Asia (this includes business schools in ISA)
- Non-business academics and institutions with interest and expertise in India and South Asia
- Research funding agencies with interests in academic research and economic development
- A strong research element
Little is known about Indian business in general, the specificities of Indian business practices, and their contribution to the globalisation process.
A dedicated research centre can address the problems, issues and opportunities that are faced by Indian-based and UK-based firms, in relation to the emergence and opening of India- the globalisation of competition, and its implication in terms of foreign market servicing strategies for Indian and European firms. Issues of particular importance include
- foreign market servicing strategies of Indian firms within India itself and abroad, and non-Indian firms in India
- inward and outward foreign direct investment into/from India, its trends and characteristics, its impact on firm performance
- the rise of “Third World Multinationals” and challenges posed by the internationalisation of Indian firms; contrasts with the experience of Malaysian and Chinese firms
- the specificities of Indian management practices, and their contribution to the process of globalisation; the implications of internationalisation by Indian firms on structures, culture and management; the link between ownership structure, internationalisation and performance in an Indian context
- the Indian outsourcing industry and the challenges posed by its expansion to Indian, non-Indian firms and governments
- comparative research on India v. China
- Key research output include:
- the publication of research reports and articles targeted at specific audiences (see “Knowledge dissemination and training” below) in academics’ and practitioners’ journals, the business and financial press – in partnership with the Financial Times
- the compilation and harmonisation of existing databases on inward and outward foreign direct investment flows and stocks between India and key other countries
- the creation of unique datasets on aspects of Indian v. Chinese business at firm- and industry-level
- Knowledge dissemination and training
There are many means by which this can be accomplished, to many different audiences. Some opportunities, in both a short- and medium terms include
- In-house seminars of ‘work in progress’ for researchers and academics. These can be carried on independently of external funding, although further funding will be applied for
- More formal public seminars targeted at academics, business and financial analysts and commentators. The frequency of these will depend upon the availability of suitable speakers
- Research publications related to projects identified above, and published in top international business and management journals, with a strong focus on policy- and business-implications
- Database dissemination to an audience of business and financial analysts, researchers, business users. This activity will be income-generating
- Management Development Programmes and short courses, both in the UK and India where there is a clear market need and where the course subjects and client base are complementary to the research mission of the centre. This activity will be income generating
- Focused seminars on topics such as “Doing business with India”, in partnership with UKTI, targeted at first-time UK investor / exporter in India. This activity will be income-generating too
- A contribution to enhancing India’s educational standards in the area of international business and management, which can be achieved by leveraging our partnership with IIM-Ahmedabad while developing further alliances with other Indian top B-schools. This will lead to the delivery of seminars for research students and courses in international business at partner educational and research institutions
- A web site acting as a gateway to existing research in the area of Indian business, with specific sections targeted at academics, practitioners, and policy-makers
A Centre on Indian business should also act as a forum where companies and managers with an interest in India can meet, and exchange information both with one another and with the researchers based in the Centre. In an area where there is so little existing research, and where the business opportunities are so big, it is hoped that the mutual exchange of information, ideas and experience, will be perceived to be profitable to all the parties concerned. This will further the research opportunities of the Centre, as well as advancing its potential income-generating capacity
- Capacity building in research on Indian Business
Research training courses and seminars to be provided for doctoral students with interests in India and South Asia. An ESRC-sponsored research training programme, open to all UK research students was recently delivered by CIBUL staff members. A similar, ESRC-recognised programme could be designed to enhance the research skills of doctoral students in the UK involved in qualitative research methods with particular reference to emerging markets
- ISABC was delighted to host the visit of the Indian High Commissioner in the UK on November 8th, 2005. His Excellency attended a number of presentations related to the activities of ISABC
- ISABC made a written submission to the “Inquiry into Trade and Investment Opportunities with India” to the Trade and Industry Committee (Parliament)
- ISABC was part of the UK delegation for the official launch of the UK-India Education and Research initiative (UKIERI) in March 13-18th 2006 in Delhi
- Our project on inwards and outward direct investment into and from India is under-way. We hope to be able to report on its progress by Summer 2006
- A weblog related to the research interests of the centre has been launched at http://watching-india.blogspot.com
- ISABC signed a number of partnership agreements in recent years. Our partners include
James E. Lynch India & South Asia Business Centre (ISABC)
10-12 Cromer Terrace
Leeds LS2 9JT
Tel: +44 (0) 113 343 4497
Mobile: +44 (0)772 557 6665
Secretary: +44 (0)113 343 4592
Fax: +44 (0)113 343 4754
Knowledge Transfer Secretary
Tel: +44 (0)113 343 6521
Fax: +44 (0)113 343 6808
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