This article explores the role of narratives as drivers that guide the institutional change associated with globalization and deglobalization. For China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to succeed as a driver of institutional change in favor of globalization, it must pass the narrative “virality” test and successfully contend with competing narratives. Rival narratives will be launched by firms and organizations worldwide that expect to win or lose from deglobalization or from new forms of globalization. This study develops a useful framework for establishing the extent to which China’s BRI is a genuine narrative or just a story. In this regard, four testable propositions are put forth to ascertain whether the BRI is values-based, extends an invitation to participate, is open-ended, and is associated with economic performance for both Chinese and non-Chinese participants. The analysis of the BRI-related institutional change that leads to globalization applies a theoretical lens centered on the narrative economics perspective and on the institution-based view and political economy perspective. Implications for BRI stakeholders, international business practitioners, and international business scholarship are outlined.
- Belt and Road Initiative
- Narrative economics
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
- Strategy and Management