Tips for writing an impactful abstract

The key objective of writing a good abstract is to summarize the entire article - not just the conclusions - so that the abstract could stand alone and still be understood. JIBP has adopted a limit of 200 words for abstracts in accepted papers in order to allow authors enough room to adequately explain their papers.

As outlined in our Statement of Editorial Policy, JIBP publishes manuscripts that “improve the knowledge necessary for designing, implementing, and sustaining effective international business policies”. We would like you to convey the novelty and policy relevance of your article in a clear statement so that the reader understands the key points of your article and is motivated to read further.

As you write your abstract, please keep in mind the following questions:

How does your article “improve the knowledge necessary for designing, implementing, and sustaining effective international business policies”? What is the central takeaway of your article? What important, useful, new or counterintuitive idea does it communicate? Why should a reader bother reading your article, especially one with a different background and/or one who will have to invest time in understanding a methodology with which they may not be familiar? Remember that JIBP readers come from a wide variety of intellectual disciplines, countries and cultures, brought together by a common interest in international business policy. Can your insights be applied in public policy today, and what value added will they provide? Is there a “real world” takeaway from your article?

The abstract should then concisely - but clearly - outline the paper’s:

  1. Purpose or primary objectives
  2. Theory and key hypotheses
  3. Research design/methodology/dataset/time period
  4. Key findings
  5. Implications

The following are examples of good abstracts:

I study the impact of the internationalization of state-owned companies from emerging markets on host-country government policy. Whereas the literature commonly recommends that host-country governments design policies to attract foreign direct investment, governments instead question or block investments by state-owned firms from emerging markets. I address this conflict between theory and practice by separating the causes of this behavior into six types depending on the characteristics of the firm (i.e., state ownership and emerging market origin) and the logic (i.e., economics, politics, and psychology). I suggest the development of ex-ante rule-based policies that provide clarity, address concerns, and support the benefits of inward investments, while limiting state capture by domestic interests. Thus, I explain how economic concerns over national security sectors and strategic technologies can be dealt with via exclusion, the political worries over opacity and weak governance can be addressed through monitoring, and the psychological anxieties of unfriendly governments and loss of relative status can be ameliorated using controls. (160 words)

Recent years have seen growing interest in a leading role for cities in addressing major environmental sustainability challenges including cleaner air and water. While geographers have long studied urban governance responses, international business (IB) scholars have embraced city-level analyses only in the past decade, primarily to examine multinationals’ location strategies. Thus far, IB has not studied cities’ environmental sustainability in relation to foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows. Our paper does so by analyzing whether it ‘pays’ to be green for cities in attracting FDI inflows, using a comprehensive sample of Chinese cities of different sizes over a 7-year period comprising 918 city-year observations. A fixed-effects panel data estimation shows that it indeed pays for cities to be green, specifically considering air quality and waste water treatment, two key locational factors exposing different mechanisms. Implications for green urban and business policies and for IB research are discussed. (146 words)