Strategic Complexity in International Business

Peter Buckley and Mark Casson

in Oxford Handbook of International Business

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780199241828
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596834 | DOI:
Strategic Complexity in International Business

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It is suggested that although there have been significant theoretical achievements in international business over the past forty years, the current prospects are not so good. This chapter makes suggestions on how the subject may develop. It begins with a critique of recent calls for the use of ‘softer’ theories, and considers whether the increasing complexity of the international business environment makes formal modelling impossible; it concludes that it does not, and that much of the apparent complexity is subjective.

Two main sources of complexity are identified—uncertainty in long‐term planning, and networks (physical and social). Rational action techniques that can be used to analyse strategic complexity under uncertainty, and networks, are described, and examples of their use presented. It is suggested that the most productive theoretical developments in international business are likely to be based on this approach.

Keywords: complexity; international business; long‐term planning; models; networks; rational action techniques; strategic planning; uncertainty

Chapter.  12440 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Economics

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