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Cheng Li and Alvaro Cuervo-Cazurra investigated the relationship between misconduct by multinationals' foreign suppliers and subsidiaries and the multinationals' corporate social responsibility (CSR). They explain and find that multinationals whose foreign suppliers or subsidiaries experienced major environmental, social, and governance (ESG) breaches improved their CSR performance after the incident when compared to multinationals without such breaches. Additionally, these responses by multinationals to supplier and subsidiary misbehavior are more robust for multinationals from home countries with CSR mandates. Finally, they found that while major subsidiary misbehavior led to higher internal CSR performance, major supplier misbehavior resulted in higher external CSR performance. The findings provide valuable insights for managers of multinationals dealing with the challenges of managing misbehavior in far-flung suppliers and subsidiaries. They need not only to solve the particular misbehavior, but also implement multinational-wide initiatives to compensate for the breach in the social contract with stakeholders

Researchers at Rutgers University and the University of Manchester examine the central role of managerial perceptions in shaping a company's response to its country joining the World Trade Organization (WTO). They find that firms from emerging markets whose managers view domestic institutions positively are more likely to expand internationally post-accession. This suggests that, to promote the internationalization of emerging markets-based companies, policymakers should prioritize improving domestic institutions and fostering positive perceptions towards those institutions among managers.

Research by Luis Dau and his colleagues at Northeastern University and Villanova University shows how international trade and sustainability agreements facilitate the adoption of corporate social responsibility (CSR) standards by state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in emerging market countries. By exploring how SOEs respond to increasing pressure from global institutions, the authors reveal the social and political factors affecting national-level decision-making and subsequent company behavior. Overall, the findings provide valuable insights for both academics and practitioners regarding the intricate relationships between trade policies, business practices, and ownership structures.

The Center for Emerging Markets is supported by a generous gift from Venkat and Pratima Srinivasan that allows Northeastern University students to pursue innovative projects that addresses pressing problems in emerging markets. This fall, CEM awarded seven grants to students to pursue projects around the world.

Companies that invest in robust remote work policies are better insulated from the business impact of natural disasters, according to research from John Bai and his collaborators published in the Harvard Business Review.

Harvard Business Review

Global brands increasingly set sustainability standards for their first-tier suppliers in emerging market countries and expect them to ensure that similar standards are met by their lower-tier suppliers. This cascading approach encourages sustainability practices to be adopted throughout the supply chain.

In the year since AI tools have become widely available, Nada Sanders has interviewed leaders across industries to asses how generative AI has altered their practices. Her research reveals that organizations are focusing their investments on enhancing the human skills of their workforce.

Harvard Business Review

In China, NGOs often collaborate with multinational companies to promote sustainability among their suppliers. This “two-step influence model” allows NGOs to indirectly influence local firms. The success of these collaborations depends on alignment with government priorities, with stronger impacts where the environment is a lower priority. Multinationals benefit from local knowledge and networks through these partnerships but must carefully manage trust and expectations. Moreover, collaboration with NGOs can help achieve sustainability goals but also invites scrutiny.

Multinational corporations (MNCs) often have less power over their emerging market suppliers than is commonly believed. New research suggests that MNCs can use various strategies to influence their suppliers' behavior, but these strategies have complex and paradoxical effects on their performance and reputation. MNCs should consider the goals and interests of their suppliers when creating sustainability strategies for their global value chains.

Sand is a vital material for construction, but it is being depleted faster than nature can replenish it. This poses serious environmental and social problems, such as habitat loss, water pollution, and conflicts over resources. To address this issue, researchers have explored sustainable alternatives to sand, but there are no easy solutions because of availability, performance, price, and demand-related considerations, particularly in emerging markets where population growth and economic priorities will place increasing pressure on this limited resource.