Towards an Institutional Model of the Multinational Enterprise



The distinctive nature of multinational enterprises (MNEs) and their institutional environments highlights several conditions which both necessitate and provide opportunities for novel theory building within the broad institutional paradigm.  Yet, international management scholars and institutional theorists alike have failed to clearly identify and theoretically utilize these conditions for the study of MNEs.  On the international management side, the institutional paradigm has been broadly applied for the study of numerous phenomena in MNCs.  However, international management scholars have only applied a limited subset of institutional ideas without challenging or contributing significantly to the perspective.  On the institutional theory side, scholars have consistently ignored the case of the MNC despite its relevance for business and its theoretical distinctiveness.  We try to bridge this gap.  Drawing on current work in the institutional field, our model develops key institutional ideas applied to the MNE case including agency and choice, institutional entrepreneurship and change, institutional multiplicity and contradictions, and others.  It provides new insights into institutional processes in MNEs, and perhaps also adds to institutional theory at large.
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Dr. Taco H. Reus