The purpose of this paper is to introduce the debate forum on internationalization motives of this special issue of Multinational Business Review.
The authors reflect on the background and evolution of the internationalization motives over the past few decades, and then provide suggestions for how to use the motives for future analyses. The authors also reflect on the contributions to the debate of the accompanying articles of the forum.
There continue to be new developments in the way in which firms organize themselves as multinational enterprises (MNEs), and this implies that the “classic” motives originally introduced by Dunning in 1993 need to be revisited. Dunning’s motives and arguments were deductive and atheoretical, and these were intended to be used as a toolkit, used in conjunction with other theories and frameworks. They are not an alternative to a classification of possible MNE strategies.
This paper and the ones that accompany it, provide a deeper and nuanced understanding on internationalization motives for future research to build on.
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