Regional Studies: Regional Studies Association Call for Papers: Special Issue

The Competitive Advantage of Regions: Economic Geography and Strategic Management Intersections

Regional Studies

We invite you to submit your research to this upcoming Special Issue of Regional Studies, a leading international journal in its field.

Background on the Special Issue

Economic geographers and strategic management scholars are often concerned with similar phenomena but are rarely in dialogue.

Economic geography scholars are intimately preoccupied by how the national, regional or city levels serve as a basis for competitive advantage, yet rarely explore the firm as a unit of analysis within this.

On the other hand, strategic management scholars frequently examine the drivers for firm-level competition at the national or industry level with comparatively less consideration for geographical delineations at other levels of analysis such as the neighbourhood, city or regional levels.

This Special Issue seeks to provoke a dialogue at the intersection of these two fields to explore opportunities for new scholarship and interaction.

Early work by Porter highlighted the importance of clusters in firm’s strategic location decisions (e.g. Porter 1980, 1990). Since that time a large body of research has developed in both economic geography and strategic management, but rarely at its intersection.

Some exceptions to this have been studies that have sought to deconstruct the sources of competitive advantage based on local embeddedness (Martin and Sunley, 2003), highlighting the role of boundary spanners in transnational companies (Schotter, Mudambi, Doz, & Gaur 2017), focusing on how access to information and knowledge influences the ability of firms to internationalize (Knight & Wójcik, 2017), and exploring how particular types of firms (e.g. investment banks) mobilize city-level differences (Wójcik, Knight, & Pažitka (Forthcoming), including in their location decision (Goerzen, Asmussen, & Nielsen, 2013).

More recently, this work has taken on a dynamic turn, focusing on the ways in which clusters evolve and change over time (e.g. Martin and Sunley, 2011). 

In this Special Issue, we seek to extend these intersections further.

Details of the Special Issue

Specifically, we encourage scholarship that seeks to make conceptual, methodological and empirical contributions to important themes playing out across both fields. This may include but is not limited to some of the below research questions:

- How do firms use geography to shift their competitive trajectories over time? What are the relevant geographical units of analysis (e.g. cities, countries, regions)?

- How does geography feature in strategizing decisions within firms, both at the strategic leadership team level and across multiple levels?

- How are new business models (e.g. platforms, digital technologies, gig economy firms) changing the geographical footprint of firms and how they compete?

- How and why might geography play a different role in firm strategizing in different sectoral or institutional contexts? How might this vary by firm maturity (e.g. new venture creation)?

About Regional Studies

Regional Studies is a leading international journal covering the development of theories and concepts, empirical analysis, and policy debate in the field of regional studies.

The distinctive purpose of Regional Studies is to connect insights across intellectual disciplines in a systematic and grounded way in order to understand how and why regions and cities involve.

Essential criteria for papers to be accepted for Regional Studies are that they make a substantive contribution to scholarly debates, are sub-national in focus, conceptually well-informed, empirically grounded and methodologically sound. Submissions are also expected to engage with wider debates that advance the field of regional studies and are of interest to readers of the journal.

Submission instructions for the Special Issue

Please send your proposal (max. 500 words) to the lead guest editor, Eric Knight ( 30th March 2018.

Notification about the inclusion of contributions (subject to the journal’s usual peer review process) will be given by 27th April 2018.

Full papers will be expected by 31st August 2018.

Papers will be reviewed following the Regional Studies double-blind review process, and should be prepared using the Regional Studies guidelines. For more information please visit the Instructions for Authors page.



Goerzen, A., Asmussen, C. G., & Nielsen, B. B. (2013). Global cities and multinational enterprise location strategy. Journal of International Business Studies, 44(5), 427-450.

Knight, E., & Wójcik, D. (2017). Geographical linkages in the financial services industry: a dialogue with organizational studies. Regional Studies, 51(1), 1-12.

Martin, R., & Sunley, P. (2003). Deconstructing clusters: chaotic concept or policy panacea? Journal of Economic Geography, 3(1), 5-35.

Martin, R., & Sunley, P. (2011). Conceptualizing cluster evolution: beyond the life cycle model? Regional Studies, 45(10), 1299-1318.

Porter, M. E. (1980). Competitive strategy: Techniques for analyzing industries and competition. New York, 300.

Porter, M. E. (1990). Competitive advantage of nations: creating and sustaining superior performance. New York: First Free Press.

Schotter, A. P., Mudambi, R., Doz, Y. L., & Gaur, A. (2017). Boundary spanning in global organizations. Journal of Management Studies, 54(4), 403-421.

Wójcik, D., Knight, E., & Pažitka, V. (Forthcoming). What turns cities into international financial centres? Analysis of cross-border investment banking 2000–2014. Journal of Economic Geography, 

Editorial information

  • Lead Guest Editor: Eric Knight, University of Sydney Business School
  • Guest Editor: Dariusz Wojcik, University of Oxford
  • Guest Editor: Phil O'Neill, University of Western Sydney
  • Guest Editor: Vikas Kumar, University of Sydney Business School