Taking the long view of the multinational

Publication Name

Multinational Business Review


Purpose: This paper argues for the benefits to international business (IB) of taking a much longer view at the engagement by multinational enterprises (MNEs) with host locations. Design/methodology/approach: The authors showcase a project tracking the engagement by MNEs with Australia over the past two centuries. Extensive archival work has been undertaken to identify and document modes of entry, home countries, industries, operational modes and company types among the MNEs operating in Australia. The authors also describe the shifting nature of Australia as a host location. Findings: The authors demonstrate the historical and ongoing diversity of ways in which MNEs interact with a host. They show that different organisational forms have prevailed over time, and that considerable operational mode changes can best be observed when a long lens is adopted. The authors show how these mode changes interact with host country dynamics, and also the broader context of the MNE and its altering strategies. Research limitations/implications: The authors urge IB scholars to embrace longer timeframes to capture the complexity of MNEs’ growth and adaptation more meaningfully. Originality/value: By taking such a long-run perspective, the authors shed new light on the importance of moving beyond simple snapshots to analyse key IB constructs and phenomenon.

Open Access Status

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Funding Sponsor

Australian Research Council



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