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Article
Publication date: 11 November 2011

Manuel Portugal Ferreira

Some scholars imprint an academic discipline by their contribution to the manner in which people think and research, namely, by putting forward novel concepts and…

Abstract

Purpose

Some scholars imprint an academic discipline by their contribution to the manner in which people think and research, namely, by putting forward novel concepts and insights. The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of Sumantra Ghoshal's work on the study of subsidiaries and multinational enterprises and organizational formats for foreign operations.

Design/methodology/approach

A bibliometric study focused on Bartlett and Ghoshal's well‐known book Managing across Borders: The Transnational Solution is performed to assess its impact in international business (IB) research. The entire record of publications in the top leading IB journal, Journal of International Business Studies (JIBS ), is examined.

Findings

Theoretically supported, Ghoshal's work was keenly influenced by his corporate experiences and his constant questioning of the dominant theories and assumptions. The analyses in this paper show the impact of the work on the “transnational solution”, namely, on the understanding of multinationals and subsidiaries, thus being one of the most notable contributions for IB research over the past 20 years.

Research limitations/implications

The empirical analysis is limited to one, albeit the leading, journal, and to articles published, not including books, theses and other documents, perhaps under‐representing Ghoshal's full impact.

Practical implications

Useful for graduate students and in writing a literature review, this paper presents an interesting manner to examine a scholar's and a theory's impact on a discipline.

Originality/value

This paper presents an extensive bibliometric analysis of research published over a time‐span of 22 years in international business studies.

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2003

Georgios I. Zekos

Aim of the present monograph is the economic analysis of the role of MNEs regarding globalisation and digital economy and in parallel there is a reference and examination…

Abstract

Aim of the present monograph is the economic analysis of the role of MNEs regarding globalisation and digital economy and in parallel there is a reference and examination of some legal aspects concerning MNEs, cyberspace and e‐commerce as the means of expression of the digital economy. The whole effort of the author is focused on the examination of various aspects of MNEs and their impact upon globalisation and vice versa and how and if we are moving towards a global digital economy.

Details

Managerial Law, vol. 45 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0558

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 July 2013

Matevž Rašković, Maja Makovec Brenčič and Marko Jaklič

The purpose of this paper is to systematically describe the evolution of Bartlett and Ghoshal's transnational typology within an appropriate historical context, and to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to systematically describe the evolution of Bartlett and Ghoshal's transnational typology within an appropriate historical context, and to additionally review key antecedent works of other authors who contributed to its evolutionary nature.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a comprehensive review of the literature by combining an evolutionary perspective with a Chandlerian business history approach.

Findings

The paper shows how Bartlett and Ghoshal's transnational solution concept was developed in light of the global economic changes of the 1970s and 1980s, as well as the managerial and strategic challenges faced by US MNCs. It shows how the transnational solution concept should not be seen as a single work, but rather the outcome of an academic discourse which lasted over a decade. The review of Bartlett and Ghoshal's stream of work since the mid 1980s also shows how the transnational solution concept developed gradually into its present form and through the integration of several antecedent concepts.

Originality/value

This paper describes not just the actual evolution of Bartlett and Ghoshal's transnational typology, but also systematically identifies and analyzes key antecedent works by other authors. This analysis has been overlooked and is at the same time key to the understanding of their typology. The employed evolutionary and business history perspectives within this paper are new to the international management literature. They should be especially valuable for graduate students and scholars who employ Bartlett and Ghoshal's typology, or anyone who wishes to understand the Zeitgeist of the time articulated by this seminal work, which will soon celebrate its 25th anniversary.

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Book part
Publication date: 23 November 2011

Marie-Laure Djelic and Sigrid Quack

While going through a revival in sociology and business studies, the concept of communities, as used in those disciplines, appears to confront, in an unresolved tension…

Abstract

While going through a revival in sociology and business studies, the concept of communities, as used in those disciplines, appears to confront, in an unresolved tension, the development of differentiated and transnationally interconnected modern societies. We argue that there is a need not only to “rediscover” but in fact also to “renew” the notion of community. Building on insights from classical sociology, we propose a definition of transnational communities as social groups emerging from mutual interaction across national boundaries, oriented around a common project or “imagined” identity. Transnational communities are not static structures but fluid and dynamic processes. They are constructed through symbolic or “imagined” proximity rather than through physical propinquity. More often than not, they are “communities of limited liability” rather than the expression of permanent ascriptive markers. Finally, transnational communities go well beyond the provision of local protection and solidarities as they engage in different kinds of transnational activism. This chapter compares bottom-up and top-down patterns of transnational community development, exploring in both cases the role of those communities in the dynamics of transnational governance. We propose that transnational communities impact cross-border governance in at least six different ways. They contribute to the framing of a governance problem space. They allow the mobilization of collective action while also serving as public arenas. They foster preference transformation. They directly participate in rule-setting while also playing a key role when it comes to monitoring and control. In conclusion, we identify key directions for further research.

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Communities and Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-284-5

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Book part
Publication date: 10 February 2015

Antoine Vion, François-Xavier Dudouet and Eric Grémont

The paper examines the degree of interlocking directorships across the major Eurozone economies. It uses the major stock market indices in France, Germany, Italy, the…

Abstract

The paper examines the degree of interlocking directorships across the major Eurozone economies. It uses the major stock market indices in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Belgium to identify the top of the corporate elite in each country. For the period of 2005–2008, it studies transnational links between European companies. The paper draws attention to a number of features of these interlocks. Firstly transnational interlocks remain relatively low but secondly they do vary considerably. An important issue here is the degree of bilateral integration which is occurring between some countries within the Eurozone, for example France and Belgium, and the degree to which other countries, most notably, Italy are increasingly disconnected, whilst the two most powerful economies, France and Germany, are very weakly connected. This variability reflects a series of structural divides between big business in the Eurozone that makes it difficult for this corporate elites to be cohesive at the European level.

Details

Elites on Trial
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-680-5

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 13 August 2014

Frank Elter, Paul N. Gooderham and Svein Ulset

This paper revisits Bartlett and Ghoshal’s transnational theory of the MNC in relation to multi-domestic MNCs. We argue that the aggregate level of analysis adopted by…

Abstract

This paper revisits Bartlett and Ghoshal’s transnational theory of the MNC in relation to multi-domestic MNCs. We argue that the aggregate level of analysis adopted by Bartlett and Ghoshal is unhelpful for identifying significant changes in multi-domestic MNCs at the level of discrete functions. We argue that a more disaggregated level of analysis is required. Our analysis of two cases of multi-domestic MNCs that have undertaken the global integration of their locally distributed purchasing functions indicates that while significant change to the purchasing function has occurred, at the aggregate level both MNCs remain multi-domestic. In both cases the decision to integrate local purchasing was regarded as having more obvious benefits than integrating other functions such as marketing. While both of our case multi-domestic MNCs may in future choose to integrate other functions and develop into full-fledged transnational companies we argue that there is no inevitability to this. Indeed global integration may cease with the purchasing function. A second theme in this paper is that we argue that Bartlett and Ghoshal’s transnational theory has a biased view of what constitutes effective governance mechanisms for achieving global integration, local responsiveness and worldwide learning and that it would greatly benefit from a more balanced application of hierarchical and relational governance mechanisms.

Details

Orchestration of the Global Network Organization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-953-9

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 4 December 2009

Elif Andaç

This paper examines the constitution and transformation of the political regime in the Ottoman Empire in the latter half of the 19th and early 20th century. It argues that…

Abstract

This paper examines the constitution and transformation of the political regime in the Ottoman Empire in the latter half of the 19th and early 20th century. It argues that our understanding of the transitional stages between the end of empires and the formation of new states continues to be analytically underdeveloped, particularly in the context of Eastern/Southeastern Europe. Drawing on recent scholarship, which challenges the existing dichotomous empire-to-nation model and suggests furthering studies on the transition period, the paper offers a close-up look at the role of transnational ideologies played during the transition from empire-to-nation. It highlights the existence of a rather complex interplay between national and transnational ideologies. It argues that understanding the role of transnational ideologies allows us to attribute more agency to the political actors of the late Ottoman era, helping model the changes that happened in the state's legitimacy, the ideological transformations, and the political mobilization of the elites in this period. Focusing on the Ottoman case, it sheds insights on both Habsburg and Russian Empires, which exhibited similar characteristics at that time. It also illustrates the role that transnational ideologies played in all three cases.

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Political Power and Social Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-667-0

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Book part
Publication date: 22 June 2011

Stephen J. Kobrin

Virtually all of the literature of the MNC assumes that the modern or Westphalian international order of geographically defined sovereign states is the context in which…

Abstract

Virtually all of the literature of the MNC assumes that the modern or Westphalian international order of geographically defined sovereign states is the context in which international business takes place. I argue that we are in the midst of a deep-seated systemic transformation to a transnational or post-Westphalian world order characterized by a redefinition of space and geography, the fragmentation of political authority and a more diffuse distinction between public and private spheres. The emergence of a transnational order will have significant implications for the multinational firm in terms of the depth of its involvement in politics and how it formulates strategy. MNCs will both be subject to and a participant in governance, the latter in terms of hybrid public–private regimes. Strategy will have to be reformulated to incorporate a non-territorial context where firms function as actors in the international political process.

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Dynamics of Globalization: Location-Specific Advantages or Liabilities of Foreignness?
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-991-3

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Book part
Publication date: 23 December 2005

Catherine Thomas, Renata Kaminska-Labbé and Bill McKelvey

Research on multinational corporations (MNCs) shows that they have tried various structural solutions to solve the dilemma of trying to “balance” global control and…

Abstract

Research on multinational corporations (MNCs) shows that they have tried various structural solutions to solve the dilemma of trying to “balance” global control and efficiency with local country-specific sensitivity, autonomy, and innovation, with the Transnational form preferred. Failings of the strategy-structure sequence lend credence to the emerging strategy-process perspective. To date, the best lesson for MNC strategy-process concerns pertaining to the global vs. country dilemma comes from March's classic paper on “balancing” exploitation vs. exploration. 21st century MNCs exist in a more rapidly changing world, however, where static “balance” solutions may be insufficient. The tradition of “circular organizing” is one alternative to the failing “balance” solution; it offers a dynamic strategy-process approach to MNC management. Another is Dupuy's concept of “tangled hierarchies” where top-down and bottom-up influence forces are interwoven such that global exploitation or country-specific exploration dominates in timely fashion. It calls for clearly defined control and autonomy regimes, with space given for emergent rules governing the rotation rate. Key questions are: What is the optimal rate at which they should rotate supremacy, and how to get this to happen and persist? Since normal quantitative methods can’t track complex, nonlinear, emergent phenomena, an in-depth longitudinal case analysis was conducted of a global MNC in the cosmetics industry, as it progressed through its early years of formation. Our case covers twelve years, during which the MNC goes through several kinds of tangled hierarchies. The dynamics in our case are rich enough to illustrate many aspects of the “tangled hierarchy” approach, while also offering new clues about oscillation rates. A number of implications for managers are discussed. Principal among these is the “edge of chaos” idea, in which managers have to avoid too-fast or too-slow oscillation rates. Very fast rates can degenerate into chaos and then collapse into the exploitation or exploration “traps.” Firms also fall into the traps simply because managers don’t understand or can’t tolerate the idea of oscillation dynamics.

Details

Strategy Process
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-340-2

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1996

Daniel A. Szpiro and Tony Dimnik

This paper reports on a field study of capital budgeting and strategy in 23 firms. The objectives of the study were two‐fold: first to develop a classification scheme for…

Abstract

This paper reports on a field study of capital budgeting and strategy in 23 firms. The objectives of the study were two‐fold: first to develop a classification scheme for overall capital budgeting processes and second to relate the different types of capital budgeting to extant models of strategy. Based on our findings, there are three different types of capital budgeting processes: centralized, decentralized and integrated. In centralized capital budgeting, top management make all important strategic capital budgeting decisions. Operating managers simply “bid” on implementing projects selected by top management. In decentralized capital budgeting operating managers identify and initiate projects that are approved by top management based upon projected financial performance. Integrated capital budgeting has elements of both decentralized and centralized capital budgeting. We found the three types of capital budgeting to have a contingent relationship with Bartlett's (1986) typology of multinational strategy: global, multinational and transnational. Global firms choose to respond to pressures for integration and co‐ordination. Typically these firms are highly centralized and have standardized products which can be sold in multiple markets and produced in large‐scale facilities to take full advantage of economies of scale. Multinational firms, in response to pressure to accommodate regional markets through product specialization, operate in a number of highly differentiated markets with significantly dissimilar requirements. In pursuing economies of scope, these firms operate in a decentralized manner with national or regional managers making key strategic decisions. Transnational firms employ a complex structure that addresses the needs for both product differentiation and global integration. In our study, we found that global firms were more likely to have centralized capital budgeting, multinational firms to have decentralised capital budgeting and transnational firms to have integrated capital budgeting. Capital budgeting is one of the most important of management functions. Through capital budgeting decisions management determines the structural cost drivers of the firm and enacts the strategies that define the way in which a firm competes. Although there is an obvious link between strategy and capital budgeting, that link has not been made in either research or practice (Pinches, 1982). The need to understand the link between capital budgeting and strategy is especially evident in manufacturing firms that must continually invest in new technologies. In a review of some 150 articles on capital budgeting for new manufacturing technologies, Dimnik and Kudar (1991) found frequent criticism of current capital budgeting practices for failing to incorporate strategic issues. The most commonly proposed solution to this problem was to modify project evaluation and selection techniques by using multi‐attribute decision‐making models to quantify strategic issues. This response is typical of much of the literature on capital budgeting, which has traditionally focused on the technical issues of project evaluation and selection (Pinches, 1982). A more complete understanding of the relationship between the capital budgeting process and firm strategy will allow specific suggestions for improvement to be implemented. This paper reports on a field study of capital budgeting and strategy in 23 firms involved in a wide range of manufacturing activities. The objectives of the study were two‐fold: to develop a classification scheme for overall capital budgeting processes, and to relate the different types of capital budgeting to extant models of strategy. We found it necessary to develop a new classification scheme for capital budgeting because the standard model of capital budgeting does not explain practice (Dimnik, 1991). The traditional model of capital budgeting assumes that projects bubble‐up from operating managers for approval by top management and emphasizes the use of discounted cash flow methods of selecting projects. The bubble‐up assumption of capital budgeting can be traced to Bower (1970) and the pre‐occupation with discounted cash flow techniques to Dean (1951). Bower held that: [A] company's top management approves or rejects projects but has little direct influence on how they get defined or on which ones are pushed through the firm's lower levels of decision‐making to become claimants for top‐executive approval…Top management cannot keep the character and composition of the projects that rise for their approval from being coloured by structural context. However, top management can influence that structural context by means of the organization chart…and the measurement and reward system it employs (Caves, 1980, p.76). This bubble‐up assumption is implicit in most capital budgeting research and is incorporated in leading accounting and finance text‐books. For, example, Haka (1987) described the impact of rewards on the path that a “proposal follows from its originator in operations to its approval by top corporate executives”. Principles of Corporate Finance, Brealey et.al., stated that “most firms let project proposals bubble‐up from plants for review by division management, and from divisions for review by senior management”. Accounting: Text and Cases, Anthony and Reece stated that “as proposals for capital expenditures come up through the organization, they are screened at various levels. Only the sufficiently attractive ones flow up to the top and appear in the final capital expenditure budget”. Dean (1951) defined capital budgeting in economic terms and stressed that without systematic acceptance and rejection criteria, the capital budgeting decision has no solid foundation. He recognized that procedural and organizational issues were important in capital budgeting but defined the “problem” of capital budgeting as finding the answers to three questions: (1) How much money will be needed for the expenditures in the coming period? (2) How much money will be available? (3) How should the available money be doled out to candidate projects (p.555)? Dean emphasized discounted cash flow methods and this emphasis is adopted in leading accounting and finance text‐books and colours much of the academic research on capital budgeting (Pinches, 1982). It is especially evident in the many surveys of capital budgeting practices (Oblak and Helm, 1980; Bavishi, 1981; Stanley and Block, 1984; Woods et.al., 1985; Hodder, 1986; Kim, 1986; McLean, 1986; Baker, 1987; Klammer et.al., 1991). The bubble‐up, discounted cash flow model of capital budgeting is inadequate for explaining what is found in actual practice. For example, in a survey of 32 operating managers, Dimnik (1990) found that in some firms operating managers initiated capital budgeting proposals and were very conscious of financial criteria for project approval and aware of the impact of investment decisions on their measures of performance. In other firms, operating managers had little say in investment decisions and little knowledge of financial criteria applied to investment proposals. In these firms, analytical techniques such as discounted cash flow, when used at all, were used only by top management and their staff to justify their decisions. Based on these and other personal observations, we concluded that before we could offer insights into the relationship between capital budgeting and strategy, we had to first develop an understanding of capital budgeting that went beyond the traditional model. The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. In the next section, we define capital budgeting and briefly discuss various frameworks for analyzing strategy. Then we describe our field research and provide a general description of our findings. This is followed by a discussion of a new classification scheme for capital budgeting and the suggestion that capital budgeting is related to a firm's strategy for global competition. The paper ends with a discussion of the shortcomings of the study, the implications of our findings and some suggestions for future research.

Details

Managerial Finance, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4358

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