John Dunning, 1927-2009

March 5, 2009

John Dunning, a renowned authority on international business, has died.

He was born in Bedfordshire on 26 June 19, educated in Harrow and London and, after National Service in the Royal Navy, completed his first degree in economics at University College London in 1951. After periods at UCL and the University of Southampton, where he was awarded a PhD in 1957, he moved to the University of Reading to take up a departmental chair as foundation professor of economics (1964-75) and then as Esmee Fairbairn professor of investment and business studies (1975-87).

Although Professor Dunning acted as an adviser to the United Nations, lectured all over the world and served as president of the Academy of International Business (1987-89) and State of New Jersey professor of international business at Rutgers University (1989-99), he was regarded as a key figure in the Reading School of international business studies. Professor Dunning wrote or edited about 50 books and contributed to many more. Most were concerned with globalisation, cross-border investment and multinationals. Among his most notable achievements was the OLI (ownership, location, internalisation) paradigm, a tool for analysing the relationship between host countries and the foreign firms operating within their borders.

His major books include The Globalisation of Business: The Challenge of the 1990s (1993), Alliance Capitalism and Global Business (1997) and Multinational Enterprises and the Global Economy (1993 and 2008). Professor Dunning was well aware of the ethical dimension of economic decisions and sought contributions from religious leaders as well as business specialists when putting together the edited collection Making Globalization Good: The Moral Challenges of Global Capitalism (2004). He also played an important role in the creation of the World Investment Report, published annually by the UN Conference on Trade and Development since 1991.

Along with a number of honorary degrees, Professor Dunning was appointed OBE in 2008. The John H. Dunning Centre for International Business, part of the Henley Business School at Reading, was named after him.

Klaus Meyer, professor of strategy and international business at the University of Bath, said: "His keynote addresses were appreciated for their analytic sharpness and their relevance to scholarship and policy, yet he was also a patient listener who would generously discuss ideas with scholars of all ages and traditions. Even during his illness, he continued to follow current affairs; in mid-January he circulated an email calling on his fellow scholars of international business to engage with the financial crisis."

Professor Dunning died on 29 January and is survived by his wife, Christine, and a son by a former marriage.

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