The purpose of this paper is to decompose the historical and conceptual basis of the Free-Standing Company (FSC) in international business history. This is used to critique the FSC concept. The paper then provides a new framework to explain the lifecycle of these firms in a theoretically sensitive way.
The paper is conceptual. The argument is developed through a critical reading of the existing literature.
The central argument presented is that the FSC concept is ahistorical and cannot fully explain the firms it considers over time. An alternative approach is proposed.
The paper does not present new (archival) historical evidence.
The central contribution/ambition of the paper is to advance the theoretical understanding of international firms of considerable historical importance. The ambition of the paper is to help renew research into this important historical organizational form that speaks directly to the ability of historical research to help advance international business theory.
Mollan, S. (2018), "The Free-Standing Company: a “zombie” theory of international business history?", Journal of Management History, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 156-173. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMH-09-2017-0043Download as .RIS
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