Professor Simon Collinson

Professor Simon Collinson

The Department of Strategy and International Business
Dean of Birmingham Business School
Professor of International Business and Innovation

Contact details

0121 414 6706
Contact: Sandra McCalla
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


  • University of Leeds; B.A. Joint Hons. - Geography/Economics/ Sociology.
  • University of Florida; M.A. - Economic Geography.
  • University of Sussex, Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU); D.Phil. – thesis: “Technology transfer and indigenous capability development in Kenya”


After completing his D.Phil. at SPRU (Sussex), Simon Collinson joined the University of Edinburgh as a Senior Research Fellow and Assistant Director of the Japanese-European Technology Studies (JETS) institute in 1991. During this period he was a Visiting Research Fellow at the National Institute of Science and Technology Policy (NISTEP) in Tokyo (in 1997), on a joint grant from the UK Royal Society and the Japanese Science and Technology Agency. Seven years later he joined Edinburgh University Management School, as a Senior Lecturer teaching International Business.

In 2000 Simon joined Warwick Business School (WBS) and became Academic Director of the full-time MBA progamme and subsequently Associate Dean (MBAs). In 2004 he was a Visiting Professor at the Kelley School of Business at the University of Indiana, working with Alan Rugman, and a visiting Senior Research Fellow at the AGSM (NSW and Sydney). In 2005 he was awarded the Lead Ghoshal Fellowship at AIM (the Advanced Institute of Management), jointly funded by the ESRC and the EPSRC. This supported a large-scale survey of western multinational firms in China, focused on innovation capability development in IJVs and collaborative projects. He was a member of the Board of Directors for AIM until the end of the AIM programme in December 2011. During this period he was also Head of the Marketing and Strategy group at WBS, before moving into the role of Deputy Dean.

In 2011 Simon was appointed Guangbiao Guest Professor of Zhejiang University and became a member of the Council of the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council). He also joined the Council of the British Academy of Management (BAM). In October 2011 Simon was appointed to a Chair in International Business and Innovation at Henley Business School, University of Reading and joined Birmingham Business School as Dean in October 2012.


Simon has taught International Business, Strategy and Innovation at the Undergraduate, MSc and MBA levels since the late-1990s. He was awarded the ‘Outstanding MBA Teacher’ Award (6 times between 2003 and 2010) from WBS.

He co-authors the FT / Pearson IB textbook ‘International Business’ with Professor Alan Rugman (currently on the 6thEdition; published Sept. 2012)

He has supervised over 200 MBA and MSc dissertations as well as five PhD students to completion.

Executive Education:

Simon teaches and consults in the areas of international business, strategy, innovation and organisational change.

Major clients include:

  • Guangfa Bank of China (Judge Business School, Cambridge University)
  • Aviation Industry Consortium (AVIC), China and ING (Henley Business School, Reading University)
  • GKN, HSBC, IBM, Lloyds Register, Philips (WBS)
  • He was Director of the Pru-U; the Prudential’s main executive education programme for EMEA (2002-06)

External examiner roles:

  • Tanaka School of Business, Imperial College, London (2005-09)
  • SPRU, University of Sussex (2006-09)
  • University of Edinburgh Business School (2008-10) How to avoid a tangled web The Sunday Times features (13-3-2011)


Main areas of interest: Global innovation strategies, R&D and knowledge management in multinational firms; comparative organisation studies and the international competitiveness of UK firms; national systems of innovation and emerging economies; high-technology entrepreneurship, small firm networks and regional development. Japan and China: local business practices and cross-cultural management, foreign direct investment and economic change.

After focusing on Japan in the 1990s Simon developed an interest in how Chinese firms evolve innovation-related capabilities in collaboration with Western firms. He has studied China-related trade and foreign direct investment (FDI), including market-entry strategies for China and the internationalisation of Chinese firms. He continues to present and publish on these topics.

He was awarded the IAMOT Research Award in 2003 as one of the ‘active and prolific researchers in the Technology Innovation Management field’ from the International Association for the Management of Technology.

In 2010 he became a Founder, Board member and Research Director for the Simplicity Partnership, a new London-based consultancy. Research into the challenges of international expansion by multinational firms led to an interest in the relationship between organisation complexity and firm performance. This research underpins the diagnostic tools and solutions offered by the Simplicity Partnership.

ESRC Council

In 2011 Simon Collinson joined the ESRC Council, which oversees the Government’s major investments in social science research across the UK. A particular interest in this role is to help in the development of productive engagement between social scientists and UK businesses.

Major research projects

(1) The Global Simplicity Index (GSI) funded by the Simplicity Partnership, London.

(2) Associate Fellow, Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE), Department of Economics, University of Warwick, (over £6 million ESRC funding over 5 years).

(3) Lead Ghoshal Fellow in the Advanced Institute of Management (AIM) research, co-funded by the ESRC and the EPSRC. Three parallel projects (2005-08) (total funding over £210,000).

(4) 'Small and Medium Enterprises in Europe and East Asia: Competition, Collaboration and Policy Lessons' (funded by CEC DGXII TSER) (1997-99). Managing a consortium of 8 organisations (£120,000 funding).

(5) 'The Innovative Management of Innovation: British and Japanese firms compared’ (funded by the ESRC Innovation Programme) (1995-98) (£104,000). Plus a Royal Society - Japanese Government Fellowship hosted by NISTEP, in Tokyo (£20,000).

(6) Forecasting the application of multimedia and its environment to 2010 and beyond (funded by DGXII, the European Commission) (1995-96) (£40,000).

(7) Comparison of product development in multimedia technologies by Sony and Philips (funded by the ESRC) (1994-95) (£38,000).

(8) Survey of British SMEs in Japan funded by the Industrial Competitiveness Unit, Department of Trade and Industry, UK Government and the GB Sasakawa Foundation (1993-94) (£25,000).

Selected Presentations (2010 to present)

Sept. 2012: Cambridge International Symposium 2012; keynote presentation on ‘Recombination for Innovation: how evolving complementarities between established and emerging multinational are shaping global value chains’ (Cambridge)

Sept. 2012: British Academy of Management (BAM) presentation to the Doctoral programme track on academic careers in business and management (Cardiff)

Aug. 2012: Academy of Management (AoM) all-academy panel presentation on ‘Dual Innovation Systems in China’ with Jonathan Doe, Pankaj Ghemawat, Arie Lewin and Silvia Massini (Boston)

Jul. 2012: Royal Academy of Engineering. Invited presentation on ‘Global Value Chains and Emerging Economies’ (London)

Jul. 2012: Academy of International Business (AIB) Conference. Presenter and Panel Chair (Washington)

Mar. 2012: UK Academy of International Business Conference (Liverpool)

Nov. 2011: House of Commons, lead speaker at a Policy Briefing organised by the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) on China-UK Trade and FDI, with Adrian Bailey, MP, Chair of the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Select Committee (London).

Nov. 2011: Manchester Business School seminar presentation (Manchester)

Sep. 2011: GMC11, Zhejiang University, Opening Day Keynote presentation: ‘Filling Gaps? Patterns of Outward FDI by Chinese Firms’ (Hangzhou)

Jun. 2011: Academy of International Business (AIB) Conference (Nagoya)

Apr. 2011: School of Management, Zhejiang University, inaugural Chair presentation on ‘The Multiple Dimensions of Innovation Studies; Connecting East and West’ (Hangzhou)

Apr. 2011; National Institute for Innovation Management (NIIM), Zhejiang University; invited presentation on innovation research challenges following award of the Guangbiao Chair Professorship, Zhejiang University (Hangzhou)

Mar. 2011: Judge Business School, Cambridge University, invited Discussant at conference on: ‘Re-Assessing Emerging Market Multinationals’ Evolving Competitive Advantage’ (Cambridge)

Mar. 2011: CIBUL, Leeds University, invited seminar on ‘Strategic Alliances as Sources of New Routines’ (Leeds)

Dec. 2010: Lancaster University Management School seminar (Lancaster)

Nov. 2010; House of Commons presentation at a Policy Briefing organised by the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) on the 'Future of Government Support for British Industry', with Adrian Bailey, MP, Chair of the BIS Select Committee.

Oct. 2010: John H Dunning Center for International Business, Henley Business School, Reading University, invited speaker at a workshop to mark the opening of the John H Dunning Library

Jun. 2010: International Association of Chinese Management Research (IACMR) Conference (Shanghai)

Jun. 2010: Academy of International Business (AIB) Conference (Rio).

Selected Press (2010 to present)

2012: ‘How to waste your working day’ in Management Today (28-9-2012)

2012: ‘Are Modern Banks Too Big To Fail, But Too Complex To Manage?’ (3-9-12)

2012: ‘Instilling a culture of simplicity in the public sector is vital’ The Times features (17-2-12)

2011: ‘$1.2 billion each: The hidden cost of people complexity to the top 200’ Lead article in HR Magazine (6-9-2011)

2011: ‘Avoid getting a complex’ (May, 2001)

2011: ‘How to avoid a tangled web’ The Sunday Times features (13-3-2011)

2010: ‘An eye on the prize; China, driven by a desire for prestige and its own Nobel laureates, could soon lead the world in scientific research’. New Statesman (16-8-10)

2010: ‘History and culture of Chinese manufacturing China: Britain and the Nunzilla Conundrum’ BBC Radio 4 (19-03-10)

2010: ‘Japan Scrambles for a fresh start’, Global Finance, (Feb 2010)

Other activities

Editorial roles

  • Editorial Board member, Multinational Business Review
  • Editorial Review Board member, Global Strategy Journal.
  • Editorial Board member, European Journal of International Management.


Collinson, S.C. (forthcoming) ‘Cross-Border M&A by the New Multinationals: Different Reasons to ‘Go Global’ in Williamson, Ramamurti and Fleurys, Re-assessing emerging markets multinationals’ competitive advantagesCambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Collinson, S.C. and Wang, R. (J.L.) (2012) ‘Learning Networks and Technological Capability in Multinational Enterprise Subsidiaries’, Research Policy, 41 (9) 1501-1518

Collinson, S.C. and Jay, M. (2012) From Complexity to Simplicity, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Rugman, A.M. and Collinson, S.C. (2012) International Business(6th Edition), FT Pearson/Prentice Hall, Harlow.

Collinson, S.C., Jay, M. And Pizzey, M. (2012) ‘Simpler Organisation Design’, European Business Review, Sept-Oct. 2012.

Collinson, S.C. and Sun, Y. (2012) ‘Corporate Hybrids and the Co-evolution of Institutions and Enterprise in China’, Chapter in Robert Pearce (ed.) China and the Multinationals: International Business and the Entry of China into the Global Economy, Edward Elgar.

Collinson, S.C. (2012) ‘Managing complexity’ Britain in 2012, ESRC publications

Collinson, S.C. and Rugman, A.M. (2011) 'Relevance and Rigor in International Business Teaching: Using the CSA-FSA Matrix', Journal of Teaching in International Business, 22:1, 29 - 37

Collinson, S.C. and Jay, M. (2011) ‘Complexity kills profits’, European Business Review, Nov-Dec. 2011.

Collinson, S.C. and Jay, M. (2011) The Complexity Challenge, Advanced Institute of Management (AIM) research, Executive Briefing, London.

Collinson, S.C. (2011) ‘Who owns UK plc – and does it matter?’ Britain in 2011, ESRC publications

Collinson, S.C., Sullivan-Taylor, B. and Wilson, D.C. (2010) ‘Extending the Integration-Responsiveness Framework: Delivering a Global Service Strategy at British Airways’, Strategic Innovators, 3: 3, p.8-22

Wang, Q., Collinson, S.C. and Wu, X. (2010) ‘The Rise of Chinese Technology-based Firms: New Institutional and Market Contexts for Innovation,’ Editors Introduction to a Special Issue on Innovation in China, International Journal of Innovation Management, 14: 1, pp. v-x.

Collinson, S.C. and Rugman, A.M. (2010) ‘Case Selection Biases in Management Research: The Implications for International Business Studies’, European Journal of International Management, 4:5, pp. 441-463.

Heracleous, L. and Collinson, S.C. (2009) ‘HSBC's strategy and leadership’, in Singh, K., Panagarkar, N. & Heracleous, L. Business Strategy in Asia. 3rd Edition. Singapore: Cengage.

Collinson, S.C. and Morgan, G. (Eds.) (2009) Images of the Multinational Firm, Wiley, Oxford. A compilation of perspectives from leading authors from international business studies and organisation studies, including John Dunning, Eleanor Westney, John Cantwell, Richard Whitely and Alan Rugman.

Collinson, S.C. (2009) ‘The MNE as the major global promoter of economic development,’ Chapter 4, pp. 69-92, Images of the Multinational Firm, Wiley, Oxford.

Collinson, S.C. and Pettigrew, A.M. (2009) ‘Comparative International Business Research methods: pitfalls and practicalities’, Chapter 27 in Rugman (Ed.) The Oxford Handbook of International Business(2nd Edition), Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Rugman, A.M. and Collinson, S.C. (2008) International Business(5th Edition), FT Pearson/Prentice Hall, Harlow.

Collinson, S.C. and Rugman, A.M. (2008) ‘The Regional Nature of Japanese Multinational Business’, Journal of International Business Studies(JIBS), 39:2, pp. 215-230, Palgrave.

Collinson, S. C. and Sullivan-Taylor, B. (2008) Responding to the China Challenge, The World Today, 64: 2, p.28-31, Chatham House Publications, London.

Collinson, S.C., Sullivan-Taylor, B. and Wang, J.L. (2007) Adapting to the China Challenge: Lessons from Experienced Multinationals, Advanced Institute of Management (AIM) research Executive Briefing, London. (

Collinson, S.C. and Rugman, A.M. (2007) ‘The Regional Focus of Asian Multinational Enterprises’, Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 24: 4, pp.429-446.

Collinson, S.C. (2007) ‘Multinationals breed future competitors in China’, Britain Today, March 2007, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) publications

Collinson, S.C. (2007) ‘M&A as Imperialism?’ Chapter in Angwin, D. (Ed.) Images of M&A, Blackwell Publications, Oxford.

Rugman, A.M., Collinson, S.C. and Hodgetts, R. (2006) International Business(4th Edition), FT Pearson/Prentice Hall, Harlow.

Rugman, A.M. and Collinson, S.C. (2006) ‘Asian Business is Regional; Not Global’, Chapter in Fratianni, M. et al. (Eds.) Regional Economic Integration: Volume 12 of Research in Global Strategic Managementseries, Elsevier.

Collinson, S.C. and Wilson, D.C. (2006) ‘Inertia in Japanese Organizations: Knowledge Management Routines and Failure to Innovate,’ Organization Studies, 27: 9, pp.1359-1387.

Collinson, S.C., Buckley, P., Dunning, J. and Yip, G. (2006) ‘New Directions in International Business’, Chapter in Fai, F.M. and Morgan, E.J. (Eds.) Managerial Issues in International Business, Palgrave.

Collinson, S.C. and Holden, J. (2005) ‘Decision-Making and Market Orientation in the Internationalization Process of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises’, Management International Review(MIR), 45, 2005/4, p.413-436.

Rugman, A.M. and Collinson, S.C. (2005) ‘Multinational Enterprises in the New Europe: Are They Really Global?’ Organizational Dynamics, 34: 3, p. 258–272. (Awarded a ‘Citation of Excellence’ from Emerald Management Review as one of the top-50 management articles of 2005).

Collinson, S., Kato, H. and Yoshihara, H. (2005) ‘Technology strategy revealed: patterns and influences of patent-licensing behaviour in Japanese firms’, International Journal of Technology Management, 30: 3/4, p.327–350.

Rugman, A.M. and Collinson, S.C. (2004) ‘The Regional Nature of the World’s Automotive Industry’, European Management Journal, 22: 5, p.471-482.

Collinson, S.C. (2003) ‘Restructuring to Build Knowledge-Integration Capabilities for Innovation’ in Conceição, Gibson, Heitor and Stolp (Eds.) Systems and Policies for the Global Learning Economy, Praeger, Westport.

Collinson, S.C. and Gregson, G. (2003) ‘Knowledge Networks for New Technology-based firms: An International Comparison of Local Entrepreneurship Promotion’, R&D Management, 33: 2, p.189-209, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford.

Collinson, S.C. (2001) ‘Globalisation, Japan and Foreign Direct Investment in Britain’, Journal of Accounting and Business, June, 2001, Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants, London.

Collinson, S.C., (2001) ‘Restructuring the Corporate Knowledge Base: Why Some Japanese Firms are Failing to Adapt to Survive’, Eclectic.

Collinson, S.C. (2001) ‘Knowledge Management Capabilities in R&D: A UK-Japan Company Comparison’, R&D Management, 31: 3, p.335-347, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford.

Collinson, S.C. (2001) ‘Developing and Deploying Knowledge for Innovation: British and Japanese Corporations Compared’, International Journal of Innovation Management, 5: 1, p.73-103, Imperial College Press, London.

Collinson, S.C. and Kiba, T. (2001) ‘R&D Performance in Japanese Companies’, Chapter 38 in Low, M. (Ed.) Science, Technology, and Research and Development in Japan, Routledge p.278-300.

Collinson, S.C. (2000) ‘Knowledge Networks for Innovation in Small Scottish Software Firms’, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 12: 3 p.217-244 (July 2000), Taylor and Francis, London.

Collinson, S.C. (1999) ‘Knowledge Management Capabilities for Steel Makers: A British-Japanese Corporate Alliance for Organisational Learning’, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 11: 3, p.357-358.

Collinson, S.C. (1999) ‘The Innovative Management of Innovation - the Ying and the Yang’, Knowledge Management journal, Research Brief, Dec.1998/Jan.1999.

Collinson, S.C. (1999) ‘The Development of Multimedia in Japan’, in: Williams and Slack (Eds.)(2000) Europe Appropriates Multimedia: A study of the National Uptake of Multimedia in Eight European Countries and Japan, Senter for Teknologi og Samfunn (Centre for Technology and Society), Report No. 42 Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim: Norway. ISSN 0802 3581 42

Kiba, T. and Collinson, S.C. (1998) ‘R&D Performance in Japanese Companies: A Relative Evaluation of Overseas-based and Domestic R&D’, Science and Public Policy, August, 25: 4, p.227-238, Beech Tree Publishing,Guildford.

Collinson, S.C. (1998) ‘Building Competitiveness at the Periphery - The Scottish Experience’, in Neelamegham, S. (ed.) Market Economy and the Global Competitive Challenge, Sudhir Printers, New Delhi (in association with the Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi and the Commonwealth Secretariat, UK).

Collinson, S.C. (1998) ‘Innovation Networks in the Scottish Multimedia Industry’ TechMaPP/Edinburgh University Management School Working Paper, The University of Edinburgh.

Collinson, S.C. and Molina, A.H. (1998) 'Reorganising for Knowledge Integration and Constituency-Building in the Era of Multimedia: Product Development at Sony and Philips' in Coombs, R. et al. (eds.) Technological Change and Organization, Edward Elgar, London.

Collinson, S.C. (1997) 'Knowledge Integration for Innovation: Comparing Multimedia Product Development at Sony and Philips' in Butler, J. and Piccaluga, A. (eds.) Knowledge, Technology and Innovative Organizations, Guerini E.Associati, Milan.

Collinson, S.C. (1996) Small and Successful in Japan: A Study of 30 British Firms in the World's Most Competitive Market, Avebury Press, Ashgate Publishing Group, London.

Collinson, S.C. (1995) 'Organising for Multimedia Product Development: Sony and Philips Compared', Communications and Strategies, 19, p.47-77, Sept.1995, special issue on 'Technology and Alliance Strategies in Multimedia'.

Collinson, S.C. (1994) 'Open Season for New Market Entrants', Insight, journal of The British Chamber of Commerce in Japan, 1: 2, p.6-11. (One of a three-part series of articles).

Collinson, S.C. (1994) 'New Multimedia Product Development at Sony: Organising for Innovation and Market Success', JETS Working Paper, No.10, University of Edinburgh.

Collinson, S.C. (1994) 'British Enterprises in Japan: Competitiveness Revealed', Euro-Japanese Journal, 1: 1, p.16-17, April-July, 1994.

Collinson, S.C. (1993) 'Managing Product Innovation at Sony: the Development of the Data Discman', Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 5: 3, p.285-306.

Collinson, S.C. (1992) 'Constraints on the Transfer of Manufacturing Technology: A British-Kenyan Comparison', Science, Technology and Development, 11: 2, p.113-143.