Industry 4.0 in international business research

Yadong Luo, Shaker A. Zahra

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The advent of Industry 4.0 promises to transform the global business landscape, the nature of markets and industries, and the way multinationals organize their operations as well as how and where they compete. These changes will have important – indeed profound – implications for IB scholarship. In this article, we explain Industry 4.0 and its distinguishing characteristics; discuss its organizational and strategic implications for multinationals; and outline the fundamental questions it raises for future IB research. To spur future analysis, we also present a conceptual foundation that articulates the new features, processes, and capabilities that support MNEs’ pursuit of Industry 4.0-related opportunities surrounding digitalization, intelligence, technology, and innovation. We also discuss what Industry 4.0 means for IB research concerning social engagement, environmental sustainability, and international entrepreneurship. We elucidate how this new landscape shapes the extant IB literature and how future research can push it further along.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-417
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of International Business Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to Professor Rosalie Tung and the anonymous reviewer for their excellent comments and suggestions that help improve this commentary.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Academy of International Business.


  • Digitalization
  • Industry 4.0
  • Intelligence
  • MNE strategy
  • New IB landscape


Dive into the research topics of 'Industry 4.0 in international business research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this