The Future of Foreign Direct Investment and the Multinational Enterprise: Volume 15


Table of contents

(27 chapters)
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List of Tables

Pages xi-xiii
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This chapter focuses on the four topics pertaining to foreign direct investment (FDI) and multinational enterprises (MNEs) that are the focus of this volume: (1) managerial decision-making processes that result in FDI and internationalization; (2) the changing national origin of MNEs, particularly those spawned by emerging markets; (3) the changing scope of MNEs, as they fine-tune and globally disperse their value chains, expand into new services, and rely increasingly on networks, alliances, and offshoring to enhance global competiveness, and speed up internationalization to the point of being “born global”; and (4) the changing relationship between MNEs and home and host countries. After surveying Yair Aharoni's significant contributions in each of these areas, the chapter offers a preview of the volume's contents on each topic. It concludes with an agenda for future research by international business scholars.

The success of multinational enterprises (MNEs) is at least as much a function of management ability and behavior as it is of industry characteristics or environmental factors. These managers display human limitations that affect judgment. Yet International business (IB) researchers tend to ignore management in their research, treating the firm as a black box. To the extent top management team (TMT) is considered, rational behavior in classical economic sense is assumed. Behavioral elements were studied by others in different fields. Clearly, managers behave according to different rules than those assumed in much of the IB literature. Further, managers are not part of a herd but unique. The result of such a lacuna is that theory fails to predict actual behavior and does not allow best guidance for policy options. The chapter summarizes research on behavioral decision making and calls for its application in future research in international business.

This chapter presents a structure within which to think about incorporating managerial decision models and managers' decisions into management research in general and foreign direct investment research more specifically. The thinking builds on Aharoni's initial research in The Foreign Investment Decision Process (1966) while incorporating his most recent call to action around the behavioral models of managers in “Behavioral Elements in Foreign Direct Investment” (2010).

In this chapter we analyze the role of financial factors in the undertaking of cross-border acquisitions. We discuss financial firm-specific advantages as drivers of these acquisitions as well as the role of the development of the home financial market in exploiting these advantages. Based on a sample of 1,447 European firms' cross-border acquisitions amounting to a total of 566 acquisitions spanning from 0 to 18 for individual firms, we find strong evidence in favor of a cost-of-equity effect on the occurrence of FDI, whereas the stand-alone effect of debt costs is indeterminate. However, allowing firm-specific financial characteristics to be conditioned by home-country financial development, both equity costs and debt costs are found highly significant explanatory factors for cross-border acquisitions undertaken by the sample firms.

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As an institution, the multinational enterprise has evolved in complexity. From having roots in just a few Western nations, it now has roots in dozens of nations, including many developing countries. Its scope has likewise expanded from natural resource-based industries and manufacturing to a variety of services. And firms are becoming multinational earlier in their lives and at smaller sizes than in the past. This chapter analyzes the evolution of multinationals over the last century, the forces driving that evolution, and distinctive characteristics of the latest wave of multinationals coming out of developing countries. It also explores the risk of a backlash against globalization and multinationals in Western societies, even as these trends gain in popularity in developing countries. It concludes with questions that international business scholars might want to pursue in their future research.

As FDI flows grew in volume and complexity in the 1990s and early 2000s, three new players appeared on the global stage: sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), which were government-controlled entities with the authority to take significant equity stakes in foreign firms; private equity (PE) firms, which resorted increasingly to cross-border acquisitions, and emerging-market multinational enterprises (EMNEs), which ratcheted up their overseas acquisitions and investments. While none of these players was entirely new, each became more visible in the 2000s. Looking ahead, we anticipate that SWFs will continue to be marginal FDI players, with a few exceptions, despite their high visibility; that PEs will play a highly volatile role, varying from marginal at times to important at others; and that only EMNEs were already quite important in 2009 and likely to gain in importance, as emerging economies become prime movers of the global economy. The global financial crisis of 2008–2009 may thus only have speeded up the inevitable rise of emerging economies as both sources and destinations for FDI. We further conclude that EMNEs will contribute significantly to sustainable development because of their distinctive capabilities in making and selling products for low-income customers, and their emerging competence in “green” technologies.

Using Triad-based multinational enterprises as their empirical setting, influential scholars in international management uncovered key organizational characteristics needed to create globally integrated and locally responsive multinationals. They proposed a “modern” theory of multinationals' organization (Hedlund, 1994). But recently, a new generation of multinationals from emerging markets has appeared. Little is known about their organizational choices and some scholars even doubt that they leverage organizational capabilities altogether. Does the “modern” theory still hold in their case? This exploratory study of three emerging-market multinationals (EMNEs) discloses that for reasons related to their origin in emerging economies and to the competitive specificities of these economies, EMNEs approach the global and local conundrum in ways which are both similar – and vastly different – from recommendations of the “modern” theory. We inductively develop a new theory that accounts for the evolution of organizational capabilities in EMNEs to reconcile global integration and local responsiveness. We discuss its implications for the executives of both emerging and Triad-based multinationals.

This chapter analyses the rise of the ‘global factory’ – the globally integrated network centred on a focal multinational enterprise. This is a response to the increased volatility of the global economy and involves the creation of systems that allow flexibility in both the location and the control of increasingly ‘fine-sliced’ activities, the avoidance of monopoly and the evolution of new management skills. Foreign direct investment is only one strategy amongst several utilised by globally integrated multinationals.

The regional nature of MNEs has become a key aspect of international business thinking, since Rugman demonstrated empirically that MNEs are mainly home-region oriented and studied the impact that the regional phenomenon has on firm performance. The extant international business literature on small- and medium-sized firms of interest to Aharoni is also evolving with the consideration of new aspects such as the “born global illusion,” and the necessary balance between firm-specific advantages (FSAs) and the liability of foreignness (LOF) when going abroad. This chapter presents new insights on these topics by examining the regionalization of Spanish manufacturing firms, their export sales orientation and their FDI orientation. Finally, we study the impact of FSAs on the intraregional and foreign sales of Spanish companies.

This chapter examines the interrelationships between internationalization and product diversification among the world's l35 largest food and beverage enterprises. Based on the argument that food and beverage enterprises enjoy economies of scope when moderately diversifying into new countries and product areas, but encounter resource constraints when extremely diversified and internationalized, we expect to find an inverted U-shaped relationship between the two strategies. Nevertheless, we find that the relationships between the two strategies show both an inverted U-shaped (when geographic diversification is the dependent variable and product diversification the independent one) and a U-shaped pattern (when product diversification is the dependent variable and geographic diversification the independent one). These results imply that the relationships between internationalization and product diversification among food and beverage enterprises are more complex than currently conceived.

In the late 1990s, Yair Aharoni was one of the early international business scholars who spearheaded exploration of FDI in services. This chapter reviews a more recent development of trade in business services that involves the demand for and the emergence of a global sourcing industry for business services such as business processes, information technology infrastructure, software development, engineering services, innovation (product development and design, technology and process breakthrough, etc.), marketing and sales (e.g., customer relationships management), human resource management, contact centers, and knowledge process outsourcing. The chapter is based to a large extent on findings from the longitudinal international Offshoring Research Network (ORN) project, which was initiated in 2004 by the Duke University, Fuqua School of Business Center for international Business Education and Research (CIBER).

I argue that distinctive attributes of foreign affiliates, arising from their foreignness and multinationality, affect their choices between networks, market, and hierarchy as alternative modes of governance. Comparative analyses of 193 foreign and local professional services firms in London confirm these theoretical expectations. Market relationships are the preferred mode of foreign affiliates, challenging the view of the MNEs hierarchy as a major source of resources of affiliates. I outline direction for future research that follows from this study, including further inquiry into the distinctiveness of the MNE and the study of international activities of professional services firms.

The chapter investigates the determinants of the extent of foreign services multinationals originating SMOPECs. An inverted U-shaped relationship between the level of technological knowledge and extent of foreign services provision is found, stemming from the facilitating and inhibiting effects of technological knowledge on foreign services provision. Standardization of services and their automation positively moderates this relationship. Overall, the chapter highlights the increased importance of relatively small global service providers from SMOPECs as a new type of multinational that is likely increase in its dominancy in the near future.

In their book Multinational Enterprises and the Global Economy, John M. Dunning and Sarianna M. Lundan offer a generally accepted definition of the term multinational enterprise (MNE): “A Multinational or transnational enterprise is an enterprise that engages in foreign direct investment (FDI) and owns or, in some way controls value added activities in more than one Country” (Dunning & Lundan, p. 3). The title, however, may be misleading since it ignores the fact that each multinational has a home country as well as one or more host countries. Multinationals, in other words, have a nationality. It is the difference between the implications of home and host countries for the individual MNEs that the present chapter explores. It uses a case study involving Teva, Israel's flagship MNE, to address the question: “If Teva changed its nationality, would Israel's economy would be affected?”

The hypothetical case of a change in Teva's nationality and its implications are employed to demonstrate the general validity of the concept of “Distance Premium,” to examine the implication of nationality to individual multinational business enterprises. The chapter explores the proposition that despite its declining effect, due to far reaching technological and political developments, the distance premium, continues to favor home country over host country locations and intra- over interorganizational value activities. The chapter goes on to examine expected changes in the distribution of rents generated by the MNEs between different stakeholder groups. It concludes that, with the exception of stockholders whose welfare is generally not affected by change of nationality, other stakeholders in the new home country gain at the expense of old home country stakeholders.

This study focuses on the impact of foreign direct investment (FDI) on local firms in host economies. We examine both backward and forward linkages and their effects on domestic firms. Data collection was undertaken over a three-year period whereby qualitative in-depth interviews were carried out with senior managers in UK headquarters, subsidiaries and ‘linked’ local firms in order to facilitate a multi-perspective approach to examining this topic. Results indicate that linkages do exist, contrary to earlier belief. The main factors which facilitate linkage formation were found to be subsidiary-related variables, mainly the mode of entry into the local market, subsidiary autonomy, level of embeddedness and subsidiary role. It was also found that government regulation and policy had some impact on the formation of linkages. Over time the impact on local firms was found to be positive with increased employment, productivity and significant upgrading of skills and competencies. The key contribution of this chapter is to extend the literature on linkages to consider services while developing a conceptual framework in this area. Overall, our study confirms the importance of the subsidiary in linkage formation and also shows how the externalities occurring from linkage formation in the service sector may benefit local firms and subsequently aid local economic development as a whole.

Governments throughout the world have sought, and are seeking, to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and, for that purposed, have liberalized their national regulatory frameworks for FDI and established a strong international investment law regime. However, there are signs that, as a result of a number of important developments (which are being discussed in some detail in this chapter), governments are re-evaluating their stance toward FDI, or at least certain types of it. This re-evaluation has found its expression in a number of regulatory changes that may eventually lead to a regime that balances the rights of investors and host countries in a manner that places more emphasis on maintaining policy space for host-country governments while still protecting foreign investors.

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Subject Index

Pages 443-452
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Publication date
Book series
Research in Global Strategic Management
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
Book series ISSN