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Multinationals and Interdependence in Internationalisation Processes

Keywords: internationalization , multinationals , interdependence

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This article deals with interdependence and the internationalisation process of multinationals (MNCs); a topic that has received scarce attention in the literature (e.g. Bell & Young, 1998; Holm et al., 1995). By reviewing the literature on behavioural models of internationalisation, initially, the article suggests that MNCs should be regarded as loosely coupled systems in which independence and interdependence of operations shape how MNCs evolve and organise activities across borders. Subsequently, the article models the internationalisation process of MNCs by highlighting three dimensions that characterise their pattern of evolution - uniformity, direction and rhythm, and lays out three hypotheses on the relationship between these dimensions and interdependence. The direction of the relationship is suggested to be negative, i.e., other things being equal, interdependence is negatively related to uniformity, direction and the rhythm of the internationalisationprocesses. The article concludes by claiming that the internationalisation of MNCs results from an intricate combination ofindependent, yet interdependent, internationalisation processes that evolve in various spatial and temporal contexts within the MNC network.


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