Research Group International Business

Transition towards a brighter future

Internationally operating businesses and global value chains are at the core of complex networks that involve flows of goods, services, capital, technology, knowledge and investments. The rapid pace of evolution in our world is challenging businesses to re-think how they can gain a competitive advantage over the longer term. Reliance on old paradigms is not enough to succeed in the new global panorama.

The resilient businesses that are capable of navigating their way through uncertain and difficult times also seem to be those that are taking responsibility for our world and contemporary societal problems. The current global crisis has shown that the transition towards sustainable, restorative and regenerative approaches are associated with resilient businesses.

This triple transition process represents an opportunity to contribute to multiple stakeholders, societies and our planet.

Mission and Focus

The mission of the International Business team is to support the transition of internationally operating businesses and their ecosystems towards sustainable, restorative and regenerative practices. Through a process of co-creation, we are helping to build resilient businesses, improve society and protect the planet’s resources.

Key Themes for Competence Development

The research agenda embraces the above mission. To achieve its goals, the research agenda supports the development of key competences in three main areas: business configuration, business dynamics, and business orchestration. Additionally, the research agenda promotes the use of key enablers such as digitisation and intercultural negotiations.

Business Configuration

Effective business configuration is critical to dealing with the interdependencies and local-global dichotomies that international businesses contend with in their operations.

  • By considering these configurations in the context of their ecosystem, the research group promotes best practices for the transition towards sustainable, restorative and regenerative business practices. The research identifies practical guidelines to equip internationally operating businesses with the tools they need to achieve higher levels of resilience and to transition successfully to sustainability.

Business Dynamics

Internationally operating businesses are evolving continuously, improving their position in global value chains to benefit from their participation in networks. Added value can be achieved by transitioning towards sustainable, restorative and regenerative models.

  • The research projects support the process of internationally operating businesses entering into new markets, creating new markets and/or upgrading their position in existing markets. In particular, collaboration and partnerships are leveraged to enable business opportunities that conciliate profit generation with positive impact on people and planet.

Business Orchestration

Businesses in the international arena deal with multiple stakeholders and often need to coordinate their activities at a wider scale. Interacting with multiple stakeholders in a triple and quadruple helix approach can be a source of complexity but also of value creation, supporting economic progress and societal well-being, and protecting the earth’s resources.

  • The research output provides assessment tools and analysis that serve as a compass to help internationally operating businesses get their bearings when the roles of multiple stakeholders are intertwined.

Key Enablers: Digitisation & Intercultural Negotiations

International operations take place in a context that is characterised by high levels of digitisation and in countries with a specific cultural identity.

  • The research agenda considers digitisation and intercultural negotiations from an economics and business perspective and in relation to the main research lines. Connecting technology with cultural expertise enables organisations to improve their business practice by applying digital and intercultural ad-hoc tools in their international operations.


The team focuses on the needs of the business community and works on applied research initiatives in co-creation with companies. The adoption of multilevel and multidisciplinary techniques means that our approach helps to reveal the bigger picture and to connect the dots.

We collaborate with a global network of national and international experts and knowledge institutes around the world to ensure that our projects benefit from the most recent knowledge and insights.

Our experts organise workshops and events to share their insights, contribute to the public debate and shed new light on the principles of doing business. We also publish our findings in professional and academic journals.

Contact us

Would you like to discuss opportunities with us and explore solutions for your international business? Please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]