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Prof Helena Barnard

Professor Helena Barnard
Prof Helena Barnard
Helena Barnard is a full professor at GIBS and responsible for the GIBS doctoral programme. She was on the organising committee for the Academy of Management Africa conference at GIBS in 2013, serves on the editorial board of the Global Strategy Journal and is the Academy of International Business (AIB) Vice President for Administration for 2017 to 2020.

She is an area editor for the newly launched Journal of International Business Policy, a sister journal of the well-regarded Journal of International Business Studies, and the deputy editor in charge of Africa for the journal Management and Organizational Review. She is on the editorial review board of Global Strategy Journal and IEEE Transactions in Engineering Management. 
 Before she started her academic career, she worked at Home Depot in the USA from 1999 to 2004, first in Instructional Design and then in Logistics. Her first career was in the field of Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET).

Helena has been an invited speaker on emerging market multinationals at inter alia Aalborg University in Denmark (February 2006), Northeastern University in Boston (August 2012), the COST Action Group at the European International Business Academy in Sussex, UK (December 2012) and at NYU at a conference organised by Phankaj Ghemawat (September 2016).

From 2008 to 2010 she, together with the University of Lund (Sweden) conducted a cross-national project on innovation in the automotive and ICT industries in South Africa, India and China.  Helena served on the executive and scientific committee of an EU-funded FP7 project on global innovation networks (2009 – 2011). She also developed the proposal leading to Academy of Management, the leading professional organisation for management scholars, conducting its first-ever conference outside of North America at GIBS in Johannesburg in January 2013.

She is involved with ongoing projects with the University of Strasbourg (France) and Maastricht University (Netherlands) on global academic collaborations and with the Oxford Internet Institute on how online markets are changing business across borders. She is a fellow at the CEIBS Center for Emerging Market Studies and the DIODE network (Development Impacts Of Digital Economies) at Manchester University. She has been rated as an internationally recognised scholar by the South African National Research Foundation.

Director of the Doctoral Programme. In this role, Helena manages the DBA and PhD degrees, and ensures that the research of doctoral students helps support the identity of GIBS as a school that is close to business, and an expert on Africa.

Published Research


Journal articles

Barnard, H., Cuervo-Cazurra, A., & Manning, S. (in press). Africa business research as a laboratory for theory-building: extreme conditions, new phenomena, and alternative paradigms of social relationships. Management and Organization Review. 

Barnard, H. (2017). Openness of innovation systems through global innovation networks: a comparative analysis of firms in developed and emerging economies. International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, 9(3), 269-291. 

Kowlaser, K., & Barnard, H. (2016). Tie breath, tie strength and the location of ties: The value of ties inside an emerging MNC to team innovation. International Journal of Innovation Management, 20(1), 1-31. doi: 10.1142/S1363919616500067 

Barnard, H. (2015). The elephant that didn't get a visa to be in the room. AIB Insights, 15(1), 12-14.

Ansell, G., & Barnard, H. (2013). Working small, acting big: Sources of, and strategies for, business innovation among South African jazz musicians. SAMUS, 33, 11-29. 

Levin D. Z., & Barnard, H. (2013). Connections to distant knowledge: interpersonal ties between more and less developed countries. Journal of International Business Studies, 44(7), 676-698.

Barnard, H., Cowan, R., & Mueller, M. (2012). Global excellence at the expense of local diffusion, or a bridge between two worlds? Research in science and technology in the developing world. Research Policy, 41, 756-769.

Do world-leading researchers from developing countries contribute to upgrading locally, or do they disengage from the local context? The paper investigates the scientific collaborations of university-based science and technology researchers in the database of the South African National Research Foundation (NRF), and analyses the co-authorships of researchers who were ranked by the NRF during the 2001–2007 period. To establish the extent to which a researcher can access knowledge outside the South African academic science and technology research community, and share it inside that community, we develop a measure of 'gatekeeping'. The evidence suggests that there is not a local/global trade-off in knowledge creation in academia in the developing world, and that the world-leading researchers in developing countries may play an especially important role as conduits of new knowledge in their country.


Barnard, H., & Pendock, C. (2012). To share or not to share: The role of affect in knowledge sharing by individuals in a diaspora. Journal of International Management, 19(1), 47-65.

The diaspora is often credited with helping its homeland, especially when the country is less developed. Yet diasporans are also known to have complex feelings about the homeland. In a study of the South African diaspora, we find that positive affect about both the homeland and the migration experience is positively correlated with the willingness of diasporans to share knowledge with the homeland. But for negative affect there are inflection points, and different intensities of feelings such as guilt and a sense of loss have differing effects. Our findings suggest that an ongoing, beneficial engagement by a diaspora cannot be assumed. Given how individuals are increasingly shaping crossborder economic activity, our findings also suggest that international business research needs to pay greater attention to individuals and individual-level variables such as emotions.


Barnard, H. (2011). Emerging centres of excellence: Emerging centres of excellence: Knowledge-sharing between developing country firms and their subsidiaries in the developed world. Innovation and Development, 1(2) 235-251.

This paper investigates how developing country firms with generally less developed capability bases than their counterparts from the developed world can benefit from their location in the technologically more advanced developed world. It documents that subsidiaries in more developed countries do act as centres of excellence for their firm, but that their role as such centres of excellence is still emerging, and characterised by less formal, less optimal knowledge sharing mechanisms. In addition, firms learn more if they are more similar (whether seen in terms of industrial competitiveness or institutional infrastructure) to their host country. The paper follows the traditional format: The theoretical model is discussed, hypotheses derived, and the methodology explained. The paper ends with a presentation and discussion of results, and a conclusion with suggestions for further research.

Barnard, H. (2011). Emerging multinationals benefiting from subsidiaries located in more developed countries: Drivers for the sharing of capabilities. Innovation and Development, 1(2), 187-203.

Barnard, H. (2010). Overcoming the liability of foreignness without strong firm capabilities: The value of market-based resources. Journal of International Management, 16(2), 165-176.

The concept of "liability of foreignness" — the costs of doing business abroad — has been known and discussed since the mid-1970s. At the core of these discussions is the role that firm capabilities play in overcoming or limiting these costs. This raises the question of how firms with inappropriate, limited or constrained capabilities relative to their host environment overcome the liability of foreignness. This paper focuses on the subsidiaries of "emerging multinationals" and how they manage the demands of a technologically and economically highly developed host country. A host location with sophisticated markets and well-developed institutional infrastructure may be a highly challenging environment for firms that have grown their organizational capabilities in less developed contexts. This paper explores that situation and considers how resources available on the market — for example through supplier inputs — assist subsidiaries to benefit from their presence in a munificent location. Despite the acknowledged limitations of a transaction-based approach, this paper presents evidence that purchasing knowledge provides an accessible strategy for overcoming some liabilities of foreignness.


Bromfield, T., & Barnard, H. (2010). The evolution of the intellectual property management strategy of an emerging multinational. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 57(1) 118-137.

The transition from developing country technology firm to true multinational requires both an upgrading of the underlying capability base and an understanding of the purpose of IP management. Through a detailed case study of Sasol, a leading R&D firm from South Africa, this paper tracks the coevolution of IP management with technological advancement amid the constraints of the developing country context. Using interviews, annual reports, patent, and scientific publication data, this study suggests that the value of formal IP extends beyond appropriation of own capabilities. Importantly, patents and publications also serve to signal capabilities in an attempt to gain legitimacy among peers. Fundamentally, IP management involves a social process, where firms learn to manage the sharing of key capabilities-with the attendant competition/cooperation tension-to peers.


Gammeltoft, P., Barnard, H., & Madhok, A. (2010). Emerging multinationals, emerging theory: Macro- and micro-level perspectives. Journal of International Management, 16, 95-101.

Recent years have witnessed an unprecedented rise in FDI from emerging economies. From a relatively minuscule amount in 1990, outward FDI flows from emerging economies reached more than $350 billion in 2008 (UNCTAD, 2009). Though multinational corporations (MNCs) from the largest or most affluent emerging economies have led the pack (e.g. China, Russia, Brazil and India), the phenomenon is fairly widespread, with firms from countries such as Mexico, Chile, Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey and many others also being ever more active overseas. Generally speaking, it is increasingly recognized, both by practitioners ([Sirkin et al., 2008a], [Sirkin et al., 2008b] and [Van Agtmael, 2007]) as well as academics (Ramamurti and Singh, 2008 In: Ravi Ramamurti and Jitendra V. Singh, Editors, Emerging Multinationals from Emerging Markets, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2008).[Ramamurti and Singh, 2008], [Gammeltoft, 2008] and [Luo and Tung, 2007]) that a surge of MNC activity from what is traditionally considered the periphery of global commerce is reshaping the structure of international business. Indeed, the positive connotations of the term 'emerging multinational' mirror the increasingly positive assessment of their contribution to the global economy.


Bromfield, T., & Barnard, H. (2009). Local effort and global connections: The role of international linkages in the evolution of technological capabilities at Sasol. South African Journal of Economic History, 24, 1-39.

To what extent are international business connections useful to facilitate technological upgrading, and to what extent are they essential? And what types of international business connections are most appropriate in supporting firms' capacity development? The most successful examples of upgrading in the recent era, the Asian Tigers, were all outward-looking in their orientation, although the specific development strategies of the economic regions differed. Although some type of international business connection was important for all of them, they all invested in local capacity building. This article investigates the co-evolution of firm capacity and international linkages by looking at the South African chemicals firm Sasol.


Levin, D., & Barnard, H. (2008). Technology management routines that matter to technology manager. International Journal of Technology Management, 41(1/2), 22-37.

This study addresses the fragmentation in the technology management field by identifying and organising the routines used by managers of technology. In a multi-method, iterative qualitative study done jointly between academics and technology managers from a number of large industrial firms, 27 technology management routines was identified. These 27 routines were organised into a framework consisting of four categories: producing scientific and technological knowledge, transforming knowledge into working artefacts, linking artefacts with user requirements, and providing organisational support. This framework provides an organising scheme to make sense of technology management routines. In addition, because managers of technology actively participated in developing the routines, the study contributes by identifying routines practitioners regard as particularly important. Both research and practical implications are derived from the framework.


Barnard, H. (2008). Capability development and the geographic destination of outbound fdi by developing country.International Journal of Technology and Globalisation, 4(1), 39-55.

This paper uses UNCTAD data to relate the destination of FDI from developing countries to their capability development. It expands the Investment Development Path (IDP) and the flying geese model to include the destination of outward FDI. Investments from developing into developed countries are predominantly in low and medium research-intensive (often considered 'sunset') industries where investors have established strengths in their home base. Developing countries play an active role in knowledge-intensive services in especially the developing world. Even though the developing-country knowledge-intensive firms are not global leaders, their intra-regional FDI enables capability development in emerging industries.


Barnard, H. (2008). Uneven knowledge bases and the success of foreign firms in an advanced host economy.Research Policy, 37, 1674–1683.

This paper investigates the effect of within-country and across-country inequalities on firms' FDI performance, and finds drivers of success in an advanced host economy (the USA) differ for firms from developed compared to developing countries. Returns to FDI for firms from developed countries are significantly correlated with home countries' level of economic development. In contrast, successful developing-country firms are from countries with lower within-country inequality, and reflect the industrial structure associated with developing countries: They are concentrated in scale-intensive industries and benefit especially from capital investment. The findings suggest that FDI reflects rather than disrupts unevenness in knowledge bases globally.


Barnard, H., & Tuomi, T. (2008). How demand sophistication (de-)limits economic upgrading: Comparing the film industries of South Africa and Nigeria. Industry and Innovation, 15(6), 647-668.

More sophisticated demand is typically seen as an enabler of economic upgrading. This study questions this linearity and extends demand theory through a case analysis of the film industry in two developing countries. When unsophisticated local demand results in well matched supply and demand side elements, benefits do accrue. Low exposure to technically superior products in Nigeria allowed a fully-fledged film value chain to develop, as consumers were willing to support lower quality output. Although the industry is too weak to seriously threaten incumbents from the developed world on the global stage, it has substantial impact in its home country. In contrast, if demand is far more sophisticated than supply, local industry will struggle to respond to broad based demand signals and will achieve accelerated learning only in niche areas. South Africa has become a niche producer in the global film industry rather than film producer in its own right partly because the widespread demand for Hollywood quality products could not be met by local supply capabilities.


Barnard, H., Cantwell, J., & Kumar, N. (2007). FDI and the internationalization of R&D: Contrasting perspectives on the United Nations conference on Trade and Development 2005. Research Policy, 36(8), 1288-1294.


Dougherty, D., Barnard, H., & Dunne, D. (2005). The rules and resources that generate the dynamic capability for sustained product innovation. Qualitative Organizational Research, 37-74.


Cantwell, J., & Barnard, H. (2005). Knowledge and organisation in the theory of the firm and MNC: Asset or Action? A Commentary on Foss. Journal of Management and Governance, 10(1), 21-27.


Book chapters


Barnard, H., & Rosen, J. (2016). Global Entrepreneurship through Brokerage: Connecting Socially Conscious North American Investors to South African Housing Developers. In Global Entrepreneurship: Past, Present & Future (pp. 95-116). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Barnard, H., Cowan, R., Arranz, F., & Müller M. (2015). The role of global connectedness in the development of indigenous science in middle‐income countries. In A. Arranz & M. Müller (Eds.), The handbook of global science, technology, and innovation (pp.382-405). London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Barnard, H. (2014). Mitigating multinationals and the theory of the multinational. In R. Ramamurti & A. Cuervo-Cazurra (Eds.), Understanding multinationals from emerging markets (pp. 195-223). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Barnard, H., & Bromfield, T. (2009). The development and management of an intellectual property strategy in a developing country context: The case of Sasol. In D. Kaplan, The economics of intellectual property in South Africa(pp. 84-112). Geneva: WIPO.

Barnard, H., Bromfield, T., & Cantwell J. A. (2009). Local effort and global connections: The co-evolution of firm capabilities and international linkages under inward-looking national policies. In B. A. Lundvall, K. Joseph, C. Chaminade, & J. Vang, (Eds.), Handbook of innovation systems and developing countries: Building domestic capabilities in a global context (pp. 241-279). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Cantwell, J. A., & Barnard, H. (2008). Do firms from developing countries have to invest abroad? In K. Sauvant (Ed.), Outward FDI and the competitiveness of firms rise of transnational corporations from emerging markets (pp. 55-85). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Dougherty, D., Barnard, H., & Dunne, D. (2005). The rules and resources that generate the dynamic capability for sustained product innovation. In K. D. Elsbach (Ed.), Qualitative Organizational Research: Best papers from the Davis Conference on Qualitative Research (pp.37-74). Information Age Publishing Inc.

Case studies

Barnard, H., & Marks, J. (2014). Microsoft South Africa: Corporate entrepreneurship and innovation (Case No. 9B14M161). Ontario: Ivey Publishing.

Barnard, H., & Ansell, G. (2012). Capitec Bank: Leveraging banking innovations to attract wealthier customers (Case No. 9B12M095). Ontario: Ivey Publishing.

Barnard, H., & Hawarden, V. (2011). Daminal in South Africa: management innovation at the Bottom of the Pyramid(Case No. 9B10M09). Ontario: Ivey Publishing.

Barnard, H., & Muir, B. (2010). Yola: managing multiple challenges (Case No. 9B10M031). Ontario: Ivey Publishing.

Barnard, H. (2008). Deposita: Whether to dominate the value chain or not (Case No. 9B08M072). Ontario: Ivey Publishing.


Conference papers

Barnard, H., & Mamabolo, A. (2017, August). Human capital investments as sources of skills: An analysis at different entrepreneurship phases. Paper to be presented at the 77th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, Atlanta, Georgia.

Barnard, H., & Mamabolo, A. (2017, August). Employee transition throughout an appreciative inquiry intervention. Paper to be presented at the 77th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, Atlanta, Georgia.

Barnard, H., & Mamabolo, A. (2017, August). Home-country turbulence as a trigger for outward FDI. Paper to be presented at the 77th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, Atlanta, Georgia.

Barnard, H., & Chaminade, C. (2011, November). Global innovation networks: What are they and where can we find them?(conceptual and empirical issues). Paper presented at the 9th GLOBELICS International Conference, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Barnard, H., & Bandyopadhyay, I. (2011, August). Innovation in a mature versus emerging industry in a country with underdeveloped institutions. Paper presented at the Academy of Management, San Antonio.

Barnard, H., & Levin, D. (2011, August). Connections to distant nnowledge: Expatriate ties and the developing world. Paper presented at the Academy of Management, San Antonio.

Barnard, H., & Ansell, G (2011, June). Working small, acting big: sources of, and strategies for innovation in the South African music industry. Paper presented at the International Conference on Arts, Society and Sustainable Development, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria.

Barnard, H., & Ismail, T. (2010, November). Making methodological decisions in cross-country, cross-industry research: Articulating the assumptions underlying indicators. Paper presented at the 8th GLOBELICS International Conference, Kuala Lumpur. Retrieved from

Barnard, H., & Ismail, T. (2009, October). Ranking M&A attractiveness in the developing world. Paper presented at 7th Globelics, Dakar, Senegal.

Barnard, H. (2009, August). Isomorphic pressures and demonstration effects: Conformity and upgrading in international business (with Poisson). Paper presented at the Academy of Management, Chicago, USA.

Barnard, H. (2009, July). How firm capabilities change the effect of realized locational resources. Paper presented at the Academy of International Business Conference, San Diego, USA.


Barnard, H. (2008, September). Emerging centres of excellence: Knowledge-sharing between developing country firms and their subsidiaries in the developed world. Paper presented at the 6th Globelics International Conference, Mexico City, Mexico.


Barnard, H., & Dunne, D. (2008, August). Exploring the role of social rules for sustained product innovation. Paper presented at the Academy of Management, Anaheim, USA.


Barnard, H., & Buys, A. (2008, August). How low and medium research intensity relates to sectoral patterns of technological change. Paper presented at the Academy of Management, Anaheim, USA.

Barnard, H., Fey, C., Peng, M., Rananurti, R., Teagarde, M. B., & Lu, J. W. (2008, August). Conducting strategy research on/in emerging markets. Paper presented at the Academy of Management, Anaheim, USA.


Barnard, H., & Blomfield, T. (2008, July). Learning the purpose of patenting and scientific publications: How the intellectual property management strategy of an emerging multinational evolved. Paper presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Internationa Business, Milan, Italy. Abstract retrieved from


Hirsch, S., Barnard, H., Lee, Y-J., Pak, Y. S., & Anzola, M. (2008, July). Foreign direct investment for smaller emerging markets to the developed world. Paper presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Internationa Business, Milan, Italy. Abstract retrieved from

Barnard, H. (2007). Film as a mechanism for industrial upgrading by developing countries. Proceedings of the 19th annual conference for the Southern Africa Institute for Management Scientists, University of Johannesburg.

Dougherty, D., Barnard, H., & Dunne, D. (2004, January). Exploring the everyday dynamics of dynamic capabilities.Paper presented at the 3rd Annual MIT/UCI Knowledge and Organizations Conference, Laguna Beach, CA. Retrieved from

Consulting Involvement

She has been involved in an EU FP7 project on Global Innovation Networks and has been the recipient of grants from the SA-based NRF and Canadian grant agency IDRC. She has done work for SAMRO on the South African music industry.

Significant Achievements


  • 2016: Recognised by the NRF as an internationally recognised scholar (ranking effective 2106 to 2021)
  • 2013: Programme committee member and liaison with host organisation of the first-ever Academy of Management conference outside of North America
  • 2010: Co-editor of a special issue of Journal of International Management together with Peter Gammeltoft and Anoop Madhok on emerging multinational
  • 2007: Best reviewer, Academy of International Business
  • 2007: Knut Holt Prize for Best Paper, ISPIM Conference, Warsaw Poland
  • 2005: Rutgers Technology Management Research Center Dissertation Research Award
  • 2004: National Research Foundation (South Africa) prestigious scholarship for doctoral study abroad
  • 1998: Old Mutual Gold Medal for top MBA student at University of Pretoria.
Contact Details

Tel : +27 (0) 11 771 4000

Email :


  • BA (Hons) English (UP)
  • MBA (UP)
  • PhD (Management) (Rutgers)
Fields of Interest

Her research interests are in how knowledge (and with it technology, organisational practices and innovation) moves between more and less developed countries, particularly in Africa.

She researches both organisational mechanisms (notably emerging multinationals and internet-enabled businesses) and individual mechanisms such as scientific collaborations, doctoral training and the diaspora.

Professional Memberships
  • Academy of Management (2003 to present)
  • Academy of International Business (2003 to present)
  • Globelics (Global Network for Economics of Learning, Innovation, and Competence Building Systems) (2004 to present)
  • European International Business Academy (2003 to present)
  • Strategic Management Society (2014 to present)
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