The emergence of big data has profound implications for international business. Management scholars have hitherto focused on narrow conceptions of big data in an effort to understand how firms translate large amounts of diverse information into (sustainable) profits. Hence, there is a limited understanding of the societal consequences of big data, and the role firms play therein. The main goal of this PhD project is to unravel the complex interdependencies between firms, society, and government that have been initiated by the emergence of big data. The core premise underscoring this PhD project is that big data can be meaningfully thought of as a social phenomenon – rather than a mere technological object.