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Are multinational enterprises in retreat?

Jan-Erik Vahlne (Centre for International Business Studies, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Inge Ivarsson (Centre for International Business Studies, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Claes G. Alvstam (Centre for International Business Studies, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden)

Multinational Business Review

ISSN: 1525-383X

Article publication date: 5 July 2018

Issue publication date: 12 July 2018

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to contribute to the debate concerning the asserted end of the globalization process.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is a description of the evolution of all Swedish MNEs, the 50 largest companies and the ten truly global MNEs, building on data compiled by the authors, mainly from annual reports.

Findings

The largest Swedish MNEs have continued to globalize and have at the same time improved their financial performance during the period of study, 2010-2016.

Practical implications

The proposition that multinationals are heading home cannot be confirmed in the Swedish case. There is therefore a need to compare Swedish experiences with other national examples to better generalize the findings.

Social implications

The political decisions regarding external trade and foreign direct investment should support continuous liberalization and facilitation of cross-border economic interaction.

Originality/value

As Swedish MNEs are more globalized than the average in advanced economies, this study offers insight into the contemporary internationalization process.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would therefore welcome further studies of MNEs in other countries of the world to make comparisons with the Swedish example, presented in this paper, but also contributions to the conceptual development that is necessary to cope with new features and patterns of contemporary globalization.

Citation

Vahlne, J.-E., Ivarsson, I. and Alvstam, C.G. (2018), "Are multinational enterprises in retreat?", Multinational Business Review, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 94-110. https://doi.org/10.1108/MBR-04-2018-0031

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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