The Multinational Enterprise as an Organization

D. Eleanor Westney and Srilata Zaheer

in The Oxford Handbook of International Business

Second edition

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780199234257
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191577086 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C

The Multinational Enterprise as an Organization

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  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour


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An essential feature of the MNE is that internationalization of activities is a process that unfolds across time and space. Historically, a company typically started as a domestic enterprise and became more international over time, as the number of countries in which it operated, the number of subunits which it had to manage, and the range of activities in which it was engaged, expanded. The basic assumption that the activities and features of its organization would change predictably with internationalization has given models of the MNE a strongly evolutionary character. Although evolutionary theory has often been associated with highly deterministic theories of environmental selection, there are many variants that allow for strategic choices and for multiple evolutionary paths.

Keywords: multinational enterprises; internationalization; domestic enterprise; deterministic theories; environmental selection; strategic choices

Article.  11081 words. 

Subjects: International Business ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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