Call For Papers: Standardisation in a Digital and Global World

IEEE Transactions on


Special Issue: Standardisation in a Digital and Global World

Guest Editors

Prof. Eric Viardot, EADA Business School (Spain),

Dr. Ian Mc Carthy, Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University (Canada),

Prof. Jin Chen, Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management (China)


Standardization is the process for the development, adoption and control of specifications based around the consensus of firms, users, interest groups and governments (Xie et al. 2016). Standardization is now becoming central to the innovation strategy of companies and governments because of the advance of both digitalization and the globalization of innovation. The digitalization of industries is growing as the new generation of internet users is getting even more mobile, interacting and transacting. The digital vortex has already engulfed industries such as travel, music, retail, banking, and media but now all traditional industries are impacted, including energy, health care, agriculture, etc.(Bradley, 2016). By 2020, digitalization will have disrupted more than 80% of the industries at least in developed countries (Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, 2017).

The new digital players – both in consumer and professional markets- are using de facto standards to build their own platform ecosystem of suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders (e.g. Gawer, 2013). Standards allow those firms to maximize the network effect in order to scale up their customer base at a stratospheric speed and with a worldwide scope. Digital firms also use standardization to reinforce their regulatory capture of the market in order to achieve dominant positions in their specific activity.

In parallel, the digital revolution is redefining the role of the SDOs. For instance, in the telecommunication industry, the development of the 5G technology is expanding into new areas. TV, automotive but many new IoT services now have to work correctly on a global manner with 5G (e.g., Bangerter et al., 2014). Consequently 3GPP, the SOD in charge of developing telecommunication standards at worldwide level such as the GSM and 4G in the past, has now to incorporate more members of new industries and geographies. The digital revolution is also generating a proliferation hundreds of new Standards Organizations working on ICT standards development and challenging the traditional SDOs (Spring, 2016).

Meanwhile, globalization of innovation has also a direct and forceful effect on the evolution of standardization (e.g., Bruce & al. Fi, 2007). First, it increases the geographical complexity of the standardization process as it multiplies the number of actors which may have different agendas.

For instance, the Chinese government is actively promoting the development of technological standards in order to facilitate the development of innovation in China. In its 5 year 13th plan for 2016-2020, the goal of the Innovation plan is to develop more than 200 international standards, through promoting the conversion of more than 1,000 Chinese standards as reference for use in foreign engineering construction or product manufacturing (National Development & Reform Commission, 2017).

Globalization is also pushing for an increasing competition of de facto standards as new global champions are emerging very quickly from different parts of the planet, as illustrated by the recent rivalry between the Alibaba and Amazon or between Samsung and Apple. Because of their size and their market clout, Chinese firms are having an increasing role in the definition of standards, besides the US and Europe (Chen and Wenjing Lyu, 2017). For instance, Alibaba is actively pushing the brand owners using its platform to adopt the international standard such as GS1 standards for barcode and GTIN for product identification as well as GDSN for online exchange of information.  

Hence, in line with the perspective of IEEE Technology and Engineering Management (TEM), the goal of this special issue is to recognize the accrued significance of standardization in a digital and global world for researchers and practitioners.

The special issue would also be a good opportunity to synthesize and to actualize theoretical frameworks in order to take into account the increasing complexity of analysing the role of standards in the innovation process and success. Finally, the aim of this special issue is to stimulate a debate about the future of standardization with a multi-country and multi-level perspective.

Possible research questions and following topics are relevant to the theme of the Special Issue but the list is not intended to restrict the scope of submitted papers:

  • What are the main characteristics of the process for standardization in a global and digital world? What is the relative importance of each category of actors – SDOs, markets, governments, and other stakeholders?
  • What are the responsibilities of the governments in the current standardization process? What are the results of a comparative studies of standard policy at national and international level?
  • Are digitalization and globalization pushing for more homogeneity or heterogeneity in the politics of standards committees, especially with the rise of Chinese companies in the last years (Wang and Du, 2017)?
  • Digitalization and globalization are increasing market uncertainty.  Do institutional regulation always lead to lower innovation efficiency while committee standards have the opposite result, as it is the case in Germany (Blind et al. 2017)? Could it be different in other continents, with different regulations and innovation policies?
  • There are different types of standards: anticipatory, enabling, and responsive (Egyedy and Sherif, 2013).  For global digital innovation, what is the degree of importance /relevance of the development of anticipatory standards to specify the production system as opposed to responsive standards which provide the basis for certification?
  • Are digitalization and globalization shifting the priorities and attention of innovative firms from responsive standards to anticipatory standards?
  • Open source software is now a major characteristics of digitalization (e.g. Jagtiani et al., 2018), and not only for large firms while some important open source software in the digital industry, such as Android or Linux among others- have achieved to become global standards. What is the impact of globalization on digital open standards?
  • With the increasing contribution of emergent countries there is an intensification of the number of national standards. Does it stimulate or impede trust in innovation (Viardot,2017)? Are digitalization and globalization pushing for a convergence between national and multinational standards or, on the opposite, is this proliferation of national standards moving to a fragmentation and a reduction of international standards?
  • Some late comers in the standardization game have managed to devise new strategies for standardization such as the Chinese firm Datang with the support of its government and scholars (Gao, 2017). Is this a new trend? How new players may contribute to redefine the rules and roles in standardization process and policies?
  • What is the role of standardization in different industry sectors? For example, how Vanke, used standardization in housing design and construction, to become a leading property developer in China (Xie et al. 2016)


  • Interested authors send abstracts by October 31st, 2018.
  • Decisions on acceptance of abstracts by January 31st, 2019
  • Papers submitted by September 2nd, 2019

Submission Process: Please prepare the manuscript according to IEEE-TEM’s guidelines ( and submit to the journal’s Manuscript Central site ( Please clearly state in the cover letter that the submission is for this special issue.


Interested authors send abstracts by October 31st 2018

Decisions on acceptance of abstracts by January 31st 2019

Papers submitted by September 2nd 2019


  • Bangerter B., Talwar S., Reza Arefi R., Stewart,K. 2014. Networks and devices for the 5G era. IEEE Communications Magazine. 52 (2). 90 – 96
  • Blind K., Petersen S.S., Riillo C. A.F., 2017. The impact of standards and regulation on innovation in uncertain markets. Research Policy 46(1), pp. 249-2645.
  • Bradley J., Loucks J., Macaulay J., Noronha A., and Wade M. (2016). Digital vortex. How Digital Disruption Is Redefining Industries. Global Center for Digital Business Transformation. full-report.pdf.
  • Bruce, M., Dal, L., Kahn, K.B., (2007). Delineating Design Factors that Influence the Global Product Launch Process. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 24 (5), 456-470.
  • Chen J., Wenjing Lyu R., 2017. Innovation in China: The State of Art and Future Perspectivesin Brem A., Viardot E., Revolution in Innovation Management: The Digital Breakthrough. Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 69-103.
  • Egyedy and Sherif, 2010. Standards dynamics through an innovation lens: Next-generation Ethernet networks. IEEE Communication Magazine, 48 (10), pp. 166 – 171.
  • Gao X., 2014. A latecomer’s strategy to promote a technology standard: The case of Datang and TD-SCDMA. Research Policy 43 (3), pp. 597-607.
  • Gawer, A., Cusumano, M.A.,(2013). Industry Platforms and Ecosystem Innovation. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 31(3), 417–433.
  • Harvard Business review Analytic Services, 2017. Competing In 2020: Winners and Losers in the Digital Economy.
  • John Jagtiani; Christian Bach; Chris Huntley.2018. Leveraging Big Data From Open Source to Improve Software Project Management. IEEE Engineering Management Review. 46 (1), pp. 65 – 79.
  • National Development & Reform Commission (NDRC), 2017.  Interpretation of the Technical Standards and Technological Innovation Plan under the 13th Five-Year Plan.
  • Viardot E., 2017. Trust and standardization in the adoption of innovation”. IEEE Communication Magazine. 1(1), pp. 31-35.
  • Wang Y., and Du X., 2017. The Chinese Standardization System.  IEEE Communications Standards Magazine.1 (4), pp 54 – 59.
  • Xie, Z., Hall, J., McCarthy, I.P., Skitmore, M. and Shen, L., 2016. Standardization efforts: The relationship between knowledge dimensions, search processes and innovation outcomes. Technovation, 48, pp.69-78.

Guest Editor bios

  • Eric Viardot, PhD. is a professor in Strategy and the Director of the Global Innovation Management Center at EADA Business School.He has published in various management and engineering journals, including Technovation, IEEE Communication, and the International Journal of Innovation Management. He has recently co-edited different books on innovation, including “Adoption of Innovation. Balancing Internal and External Stakeholders Interest for the Management of Innovation” Springer-Verlag (2015), “Revolution in Innovation Management: The Digital Breakthrough” with A. Brem. Palgrave MacMillan (2016), and “Revolution in Innovation Management: Internationalization and Business Models” MacMillan (2017).  
  • Ian McCarthy, Ph.D is a Professor Technology and Operations Management at the Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University. He has published in leading management and engineering journals including: Academy of Management Review, Industry and Corporate Change, California Management Review, Technovation, Journal of Product Innovation Management, and Business Horizons. His work has also featured in the Economist, the Globe and Mail, Business Insider and other media outlets.
  • Jin Chen is the professor of innovation management at Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management. He is the founding and chief editor of International Journal of Innovation Studies, and also the editor in chief of International Journal of Knowledge Management Studies, associate editor of Technological Forecasting and Social Change. He has published papers at Technovation, R&D Management, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Journal of Business Research and Management Decision et al. He has edited SI for Technovation, International Journal of Technology Management. He is now editing two Handbooks, Oxford Handbook of China’s Innovation, Routledge Handbook of Innovation Management.

IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management is a journal of the Technology and Engineering Management Society of IEEE, published quarterly since 1954. It is dedicated to the publication of peer-reviewed original contributions, by researchers and practitioners, regarding the theory and practice of engineering, technology, and innovation management.

Editor in Chief

Tugrul U Daim, PhD PICMET Fellow

Professor and Director

Technology Management Doctoral Program

Department of Engineering and Technology Management

Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science

Portland State University, Portland OR

United States

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