Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Hans Schmitz, PhD, Chairperson; Marcus Lam, PhD, Committee Member; Leslie Boozer, EdD, JD, Committee Member


convergence, divergence, international commercial arbitration


International commercial arbitration (ICA) plays an essential role in resolving disputes between companies engaged in complex, cross-border business transactions. It offers an efficient, neutral, and enforceable mechanism for resolving disputes across different legal and cultural backgrounds. ICA is generally conducted at international arbitration centers located throughout the world. According to the extant literature, there is convergence of procedural rules among these centers. Sabharwal and Zaman (2014), for example, claim increasing convergence of procedural rules among all the major arbitration centers. Similarly, Sharma (2021) proposes that this convergence helps build the international arbitration system. However, there is a near absence of references to divergence of procedural rules.

Over the past decade, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) have risen to become leading global arbitration centers in the world. They share many similar characteristics across multiple dimensions, including geographic proximity and location in cities with a common Chinese cultural influence that were formerly British colonies. For my study, I examine patterns of possible convergence and/or divergence between these two centers’ procedural rules from the time of their founding to the present. The significance of this study is that I could confirm whether the extant literature’s reference to growing convergence among arbitration centers is equally applicable to two rising arbitration centers.

The framework through which I examine possible patterns of convergence and/or divergence is neo-institutional theory. Under this theory, organizations in any given field become homogenous over time through three possible mechanisms: coercive isomorphism, mimetic isomorphism, and normative isomorphism. My research design and methodology involve the use of comparative case studies and qualitative content analysis to compare the procedural rules of HKIAC and SIAC across three timeframes. A synthesis of three analyses shows a possible trend towards divergence of procedural rules between HKIAC and SIAC. Annual reports from both centers provide possible explanations for the divergence, as well as a few theories focusing on competition between similar organizations.

Results of my research have a number of policy implications, including empirical evidence for judicial system review, global leadership competency, future East-West tensions, and organizational competition assessment.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies