Research Methods, Theories and Policies for Navigating the Complexities of the Digital Age
In late July, a lively group of 37 early career researchers travelled to Lake Como in the North of Italy, just across the Swiss border, to spend five eventful days in a picturesque Villa learning about the latest approaches in international business research. The Summer School was a joint initiative with the European International Business Academy (EIBA) and provided participants with tools to understand and tackle various dimensions of complexity in the current digital age, covering topics as diverse as knowledge creation across borders, global value chain formation, as well as the ‘twin transition’ of sustainability and digitalisation. One of the main focuses was on cutting-edge research methods and the challenges and opportunities they provide. The speakers made convincing pleas for methodological diversity and provided insights both on the theoretical foundations and practical implications of applying these diverse methods.
The 14-strong faculty offered an array of scientific tools: Among others, Bo Nielsen shared his enthusiasm for multi-level modelling, Carlo Piccardi gave an introduction on network analysis, Catherine Welch joined online to explore qualitative methods, Lucia Piscitello explained text & sentiment analysis and Carlotta Orsenigo provided insights into the intricacies of machine learning. Other speakers included John Cantwell, Agnieszka Chidlow, Marianna Marra, Torben Pedersen, Stefano Elia, Diletta Pegoraro and Silvia Massini. In the afternoons, the participants moved to the garden to discuss the relevance of the covered topics to their own research projects. Particularly invaluable for early career researchers, the senior academics shared their own perspective as journal editors, providing a look behind the scenes and giving concrete guidelines on how to get published in renowned scientific journals.
Whereas the Italian summer heat was challenging at times, the beautiful backdrop of the Como lake, surrounded by the Alps’ foothills and its shore littered with gorgeous villas, made every break feel like a little holiday. Naturally, the coffee was perfect and the food delicious, supplanted in the evenings by dinners at the plenty authentic restaurants in the town of Como. Discussions on both academic and research-unrelated topics continued with a glass of wine or an Aperol Spritz until the later hours, when some participants even demonstrated their musical abilities in a hostel lounge and at a karaoke night. What was most impressive was how, through the combination of a well thought out educational programme and informal socialising, these five days forged a group of young academics from universities across Europe and countries all over the world into what felt like a close-knit community. Above all, the Summer School showed the immense value of in person meetings like these after years of pandemic, allowing for intense learning, the exchange of various perspectives and networking for future collaborations.
Special thanks to Lucia Piscitello, Stefano Elia, Diletta Pegoraro, Tommaso Vallone and Cristina Di Stefano for organising this unforgettable experience.