Deducing a state-of-the-art presentation of the Eclectic Paradigm from four decades of development: a systematic literature review

  • Chris WagnerEmail author


For over four decades the Eclectic Paradigm has experienced a myriad of interdisciplinary advancements and evolved into an ever-broader and complex accumulation of different macro- and micro-level concepts. Despite its persistent validity for research on multinational enterprise activity, subject-related studies have often failed to correlate to previous findings and have independently drawn upon various versions of the Eclectic Paradigm, which exacerbates the comparability of the respective results. Yet, the literature lacks a systematic analysis of the heterogeneous development within a consistent body of knowledge. This paper contributes to the contemporary debate in that it systematically reviews and classifies the diverse developments within a unified context and, consequently, synthesizes and integrates the extant knowledge into a state-of-the-art presentation of the Eclectic Paradigm. Here, the study has set out to provide future research with a coherent basis and conceptual starting point. At this, a systematic literature review is conducted, analyzing 66 journal articles published between 1980 and 2017. Deduced thereof, the study (i) scrutinizes the largely neglected basic prerequisites (intention, underlying context, level of analysis), (ii) analyzes the imperative developments of the Eclectic Paradigm, and (iii) encapsulates the above within a coherent, state-of-the-art macro-level envelope of the Eclectic Paradigm. In light of the findings, the study concludes by identifying issues that deserve more attention or remain under-researched and, hence, provides suggestions for further research.


OLI paradigm MNE activity Ownership advantage Location advantage Internalization advantage Foreign entry modes Internationalization theory Investment motives 

JEL Classification

F21 F23 M21 



I would like to express my very great appreciation to the editor and the two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and constructive criticism. This has been immensely helpful and provided a valuable impetus to revise the paper. Moreover, I am deeply indebted to Professor Tobias Dauth (HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management) and Professor Sushil Khanna (Indian Institute of Management Calcutta) for providing insights and expertise that greatly helped shaping the research as well as for their valuable comments on prior versions of the manuscript.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Professorship in International ManagementHHL Leipzig Graduate School of ManagementLeipzigGermany

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