International corporate governance: A review and opportunities for future research

  • Ruth V. AguileraEmail author
  • Valentina Marano
  • Ilir Haxhi
Review Article


We review four decades of research about the corporate governance of multinational corporations (MNCs), which we label International Corporate Governance (ICG). We identify and discuss three main streams of research that draw on different conceptualizations and theoretical lenses of (corporate) governance. After synthesizing their respective findings, we propose several avenues for future research that integrate these three streams of research with the goal of developing a more nuanced understanding of ICG. We hope this review article will inspire international business scholars to continue examining how corporate governance can be an effective tool for MNC success.


multinational corporations (MNCs) and enterprises (MNEs) corporate governance comparative organizational studies headquarters–subsidiary roles and relations ownership/control structures international corporate governance 


Dans cet article, nous passons en revue quatre décennies de recherche sur la gouvernance d’entreprise des firmes multinationales (FMN), que nous appelons Gouvernance internationale des sociétés (GIS). Nous identifions et discutons trois grands courants de recherche qui s’appuient sur différents angles conceptuels et théoriques de la gouvernance (d’entreprise). Après avoir résumé leurs résultats respectifs, nous proposons plusieurs pistes futures de recherche qui intègrent ces trois axes de recherche dans le but de développer une compréhension plus nuancée de la GIS. Nous espérons que cet article de synthèse inspirera les spécialistes de l’international business pour continuer à examiner comment la gouvernance d’entreprise peut être un outil efficace pour le succès des FMN.


En este artículo, revisamos cuatro décadas de investigación sobre el gobierno corporativo de una empresa multinacional (EMN), que etiquetamos como Gobierno Corporativo Internacional (GCI). Identificamos y discutimos tres corrientes de investigación que se basan en diferentes conceptualizaciones y lentes teóricos de gobierno (corporativo). Después de sintetizar sus hallazgos respectivos, proponemos diferentes avenidas para la investigación futura que integra estas tres corrientes de investigación con el objetivo de desarrollar una comprensión más matizada del GCI. Esperamos que este artículo de revisión inspire a los académicos de negocios internacionales a continuar examinando como el gobierno corporativo puede ser una herramienta efectiva para el éxito de las EMN.


Neste artigo, revisamos quatro décadas de pesquisas sobre a governança corporativa de corporações multinacionais (MNCs), as quais denominamos Governança Corporativa Internacional (ICG). Identificamos e discutimos três principais correntes de pesquisa que se baseiam em diferentes conceituações e lentes teóricas da governança (corporativa). Depois de sintetizar suas respectivas conclusões, propomos vários caminhos para futuras pesquisas que integram essas três correntes de pesquisa com o objetivo de desenvolver uma compreensão mais sutil da ICG. Esperamos que este artigo de revisão inspire acadêmicos de negócios internacionais a continuar examinando como a governança corporativa pode ser uma ferramenta eficaz para o sucesso das MNCs.


在本文中,我们综述了四十年来关于跨国公司(MNCs)公司治理的研究, 我们将其称为国际公司治理(ICG)。我们确定并讨论了三个主要的利用了(公司)治理不同概念和理论视角的研究分支。在综合了它们各自的研究结果后, 我们提出了未来研究的几种途径, 将这三个研究分支整合在一起, 旨在开发对ICG更细微的理解。我们希望这篇综述文章能启发国际商务学者继续研究公司治理如何能成为跨国公司成功的有效工具。



The authors gratefully acknowledge comments and suggestions from Professor Benito (Editor) and three fantastic anonymous referees, conference participants at the Academy of Management’s 2018 Annual Meeting in Chicago, the International Corporate Governance Society’s 2018 Annual Meeting in Shanghai, and the 2018 Strategic Management Society’s Special Conference in Oslo. All errors remain ours.


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Copyright information

© Academy of International Business 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth V. Aguilera
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Valentina Marano
    • 1
  • Ilir Haxhi
    • 3
  1. 1.International Business and Strategy, D’Amore-McKim School of BusinessNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.ESADE Business SchoolRamon Llull UniversityBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Amsterdam Business SchoolUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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