Stephen J Kobrin

Stephen J Kobrin
  • William H. Wurster Emeritus Professor of Multinational Management

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    3205 SH-DH
    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: global strategy, globalization, impact of the information revolution, international political economy

Overview

Education

PhD, University of Michigan, 1975; MBA, University of Pennsylvania, 1961; BMgtE, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1960

Career and Recent Professional Awards; Teaching Awards

Fellow, Academy of International Business

Academic Positions Held

Wharton: 1987-present (Editor, Wharton School Publishing, 2008-present; Director, The Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management & International Studies, 2006-2007; named William H. Wurster Professor of Multinational Management, 1992; Director, The Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies, 1994-2000; Director, William H. Wurster Center for International Management Studies, 1992-94; Chairperson, Management Department, 1989-92; Anheuser-Busch Term Professor of Management, 1987-92). Previous appointments: New York University; The Conference Board; Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Other Positions

Brand Manager, Procter & Gamble, 1965-71

Professional Leadership

Fellow, World Economic Forum, 1995-present; President, Academy of International Business, 2001-2002

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Research

  • Stephen J Kobrin, “Is a Networked World Economy Sustainable?”. In The Multiple Dimensions of Institutional Complexity (Progress in International Business Research, Vol. 15), edited by A. Verbeke, R.V. Tulder, E.L. Rose, and Y. Wei, (Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing, 2021)

  • Stephen J Kobrin (2020), How Globalization Became a Thing That Goes Bump in the Night, Journal of International Business Policy.

    Abstract: For almost 200 years, globalization has been seen as a positive development, albeit with costs and benefits, and as progress and modernization, a broadening of humanity’s scope from the local and parochial to the cosmopolitan and international. That changed dramatically with the Great Recession, the waves of migration of the last decade, and the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic of 2020. For many, globalization now connotes economic dislocation, increasing inequality, unwanted immigration, and a vehicle for the transmission of disease. The pandemic reminds us that most economic activity takes place within national borders. It has emphasized the dangers rather than the benefits of efficient linkages between markets, laying bare the dangers of complex global supply chains where any node can become a “choke point”, and the risks of overspecialization or the concentration of technological knowledge and/or production capacity in a single country or region. A more positive view of globalization will require restoring the balance between independence and integration, mitigation of its costs within and between countries, and dealing with redundancy and supply risk.

  • Stephen J Kobrin (2019), Make Internationalism Great Again: The AIB in an Age of Populist Nationalism, AIB Insights, 19 (1).

  • Stephen J Kobrin (2017), Bricks and Mortar in a Borderless World: Globalization, the Backlash, and the Multinational Enterprise, Global Strategy Journal, 7 (2).

    Abstract: Globalization, increased interconnectedness, and deep integration resulted in significant increases in trade and FDI from 1989 through 2008. The recession marked the end of that trend and the rise of a broad-based opposition that has economic, social, and political components. This article explores the backlash, arguing that is driven by sociotropic perceptions. While globalization can be explained as a cyclical or structural phenomenon, I argue that technological change results in a networked global economy, the transition from a space of places to a space of flows, and increases the potential cost of devolution to the point where economic independence is no longer feasible. Nonetheless, I conclude that MNCs face a period of prolonged uncertainty and develop implications for firm strategy.

Activity

Latest Research

Stephen J Kobrin, “Is a Networked World Economy Sustainable?”. In The Multiple Dimensions of Institutional Complexity (Progress in International Business Research, Vol. 15), edited by A. Verbeke, R.V. Tulder, E.L. Rose, and Y. Wei, (Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing, 2021)
All Research

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