Journal of International Business Studies

, Volume 40, Issue 9, pp 1563–1580

The internalisation theory of the multinational enterprise: A review of the progress of a research agenda after 30 years

  • Peter J Buckley
  • Mark C Casson

DOI: 10.1057/jibs.2009.49

Cite this article as:
Buckley, P. & Casson, M. J Int Bus Stud (2009) 40: 1563. doi:10.1057/jibs.2009.49


This paper reviews the progress of the research agenda initiated by The Future of the Multinational Enterprise (1976). Focusing initially on the problem of explaining the existence of the multinational enterprise, the agenda soon broadened to encompass the analysis of alternative modes of foreign market entry, the role of international joint ventures, the impact of innovation on corporate growth, and the role of culture in international business. The core philosophy – based on the Coasian nature of the firm and on rational action modelling – has remained constant, while the widening range of applications has encouraged synthesis with theories developed in other fields of research. Success in answering any one question invariably generates new questions, which must in turn be answered through a further extension of the theory, and this dynamic continues to drive the development of the theory today. Internalisation theory has retained its validity and its vitality over the past 30 years, and is currently being extended into new fields of international business research.


internalisation theoryglobalisationmarket imperfectionsinternational business theoryinternational political economyentrepreneurship business strategy

Copyright information

© Academy of International Business 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter J Buckley
    • 1
  • Mark C Casson
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for International Business, Leeds University Business SchoolLeedsUK
  2. 2.Department of Economics, University of ReadingReadingUK