The world consists of diverse and distinctive economic systems. Due to the unique historical, cultural and location-specific contexts embedded in each economy, a comparison of strategic behaviors across economies is unlikely to provide a causal estimate of the influence of these contextual factors on strategy–performance relationships. In this paper, I outline three approaches to researching multinational firms that address this dilemma. They include the multilevel, historical and variance-centered perspectives, all of which can help international-business (IB) researchers develop stronger theoretical foundations from which to explain why country-specific contexts matter in designing IB action and research.
Earlier and different versions of this paper have been presented at the Australia and New Zealand International Business Academy (ANZIBA) Annual Conference in Adelaide (April 2012) and at the AIB Southeast Regional Conference (AIBSE) in Xiamen, China (December 2012). Part of my presentation at the AIBSE conference appeared in Makino, Chan, and Cui (2013). I thank Jean J. Boddewyn for his very detailed comments and guidance. This paper was supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Project No. CUHK 451010H).
Makino, S. (2014), "Three Important Perspectives for Understanding National Context", Multidisciplinary Insights from New AIB Fellows (Research in Global Strategic Management, Vol. 16), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 79-114. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1064-485720140000016003
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