2nd International conference on Business Diplomacy

business diplomacy:

in search of New Values, Rules and Practices

UNIVERSITY OF TWENTE (enschede, netherlands)


Dec. 10

While it took some economies about a decade to fully recover from the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007/2008, the world economy is currently experiencing another even bigger ‘blow’, the Corona crisis. Once again, governments and taxpayers will have to support businesses and laid-off workers with trillions of dollars and euros. In particular, many small and medium-sized businesses, the heart of economies around the world, are feeling the burden, and their entrepreneurial resilience is being tested. The aftermath of this Corona crisis will most likely be at least tougher than the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007/2008. The latter triggered the call for and implementation of better control and monitoring mechanisms for the finance industry, although much of it stayed the same, unfortunately. Back to ‘business-as-usual’ was a common practice supported by many. However, it has created new bubbles and inbalances during the past decade.


This Corona crisis will once again ‘knock on the door’ of change: Is our way of life sustainable? Is the international system sustainable?  Is it possible to continue running businesses internationally without managing non-financial risks in our business strategy? Is the current path of globalization sustainable? How can we avoid the situation that once again, millions of workers, small and medium-sized businesses, and many self-employed people are forced to carry the burden of the aftermath? How is it possible that we believe that all the lost opportunities for travel will have to be regained as soon as possible? Will Venice survive the next wave of tourists?


In an international arena that will have to cope with the aftermath of the Corona crisis, business diplomacy will be greatly needed for businesses to enter foreign eco-systems and sustain or reconsider their positions there. And business diplomacy may be questioned about its intentions, underlying rules, values, norms and practices. Questions such as: what is the purpose of business? and what is the role of business in society?


The way business diplomacy is conducted will be affected by these questions. Firm internationalization will be one of the ways for many businesses to grow in the post-Corona era. But how can this be changed in order to avoid ‘back-to-normal? What are the new rules, values, norms and practices of firm internationalization that will guarantee a sustainable future, less exploitative and fairer health, wealth and income distribution, less wasteful innovation, less shareholder-driven business


Business diplomacy about ‘businesses-doing-diplomat-like things’, it is about businesses reaching out to, establishing and maintaining constructive long-term relationships with foreign governments, business communities, civil society, interest groups, NGOs and local communities in order to maintain a ‘license to operate’ and legitimacy. Business diplomacy is key in an international arena that has become more demanding, plural and highly dynamic.


This conference is being organized in the wake of the unavoidable questions. We believe that it is hardly possible to go back to ‘business as usual’ simply due to the many weaknesses in the current way of organizing and managing our economies, businesses and societies, such as the unequal income and wealth distribution, natural resources exploitation, talent attraction and management, extreme nationalism, excessive consumerism, and exploitative and wasteful innovation.


This 2nd international business diplomacy conference theme focuses on the questions: What should business diplomacy look like for businesses that aim to provide solutions for today’s grand challenges? What are the new rules, values, norms and practices for business diplomats, businesses and governments? And what is the new way to conduct business diplomacy that can secure a sustainable future?


This joint-partner conference invites scholars, business diplomats, and business leaders to submit extended abstracts with proposals for full research papers, extended practitioner contributions, presentations, proposals for workshops, focus group sessions and panel debates on the following list of topics (not exhaustive):


  • Business diplomacy and firm internationalization

  • Business diplomacy and the grand challenges

  • Business diplomacy and new theories of business

  • The role of business in society

  • Purposeful business diplomacy

  • Purpose economy and business diplomacy

  • International business and international relations

  • The role of diplomats in sustainable business

  • Values in business diplomacy and firm internationalization

  • Values in international business and international relations

  • Business diplomacy and 2030 Agenda objectives.

  • Business diplomacy as soft power generator.

  • Security and development: Business diplomacy’s role.