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Organizational innovation in the multinational enterprise: Internalization theory and business history

  • Teresa da Silva Lopes
  • Mark Casson
  • Geoffrey Jones
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Abstract

This article engages in a methodological experiment by using historical evidence to challenge a common misperception about internalization theory. The theory has often been criticized for maintaining that it assumes a hierarchically organized MNE based on knowledge flowing from the home country. This is not an accurate description of how global firms operate in recent decades, but this article shows it has never been true historically. Using longitudinal data on individual firms from the nineteenth century onwards, it reveals evidence of how entrepreneurs and firms with multinational activity faced with market imperfections changed the design of their headquarters and their organizational structures.

Keywords

organization and management internalization theory business history entrepreneurship business strategy 

Resume

Cet article se présente comme une expérience méthodologique en utilisant des preuves historiques pour contester une perception erronée commune sur la théorie d’internalisation. La théorie a souvent été critiquée pour avoir soutenu qu’elle faisait l’hypothèse d’une entreprise multinationale (EMN) organisée hiérarchiquement et fondée sur des connaissances qui proviennent du pays d’origine. Ce n’est pas une description exacte de la façon dont les entreprises mondiales ont fonctionné au cours des dernières décennies; cet article montre que cela n’a jamais été vrai historiquement. Utilisant des données longitudinales sur des entreprises individuelles à partir du XIXe siècle, il révèle la façon dont les entrepreneurs et les entreprises ayant une activité multinationale faisant face aux imperfections du marché ont changé la conception de leur siège social et de leurs structures organisationnelles.

Resumen

Este artículo se dedica a un experimento metodológico usando evidencia histórica para retar una percepción errónea común sobre la teoría de la internalización. La teoría con frecuencia ha sido criticada por mantener que esta asume que una empresa multinacional organizada jerárquicamente basada en el conocimiento que fluye desde el país de origen. Esta no es una descripción precisa de cómo operan las empresas globales en las últimas décadas, pero este artículo muestra que nunca ha sido cierto históricamente. Utilizando datos longitudinales de empresas individuales desde el siglo XIX en adelante, pone en evidencia cómo los empresarios y las empresas con actividad multinacional que se enfrentaron a imperfecciones del mercado cambiaron el diseño de sus casas matrices y sus estructuras organizacionales.

Resumo

Este artigo se apoia em um experimento metodológico usando evidência histórica para desafiar um equívoco comum sobre a teoria da internalização. A teoria tem sido frequentemente criticada por sustentar que pressupõe uma MNE hierarquicamente organizada baseada no conhecimento proveniente do país de origem. Esta não é uma descrição precisa de como empresas globais operam nas últimas décadas, mas este artigo mostra que nunca foi verdade historicamente. Usando dados longitudinais de empresas individuais a partir do século XIX, este artigo revela evidência de como empreendedores e empresas com atividade multinacional, caracterizada por imperfeições de mercado, mudaram o design de suas sedes empesariais e suas estruturas organizacionais.

抽象

本文进行方法论实验, 用历史证据来挑战有关内化理论的常见误解。该理论经常受批评, 因为它假设一个基于来自本国知识流的分级组织的跨国企业。这不是对近几十年来全球公司如何运作情况的准确描述, 但本文表明, 从历史上看它也从来不是真实的。使用十九世纪以来各公司的纵向数据, 本文揭示了企业家和具有跨国活动的公司如何面对市场的不完善而改变其总部及组织结构设计的证据。

Notes

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Copyright information

© Academy of International Business 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teresa da Silva Lopes
    • 1
  • Mark Casson
    • 2
  • Geoffrey Jones
    • 3
  1. 1.The York Management SchoolUniversity of YorkYorkUK
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of ReadingReadingUK
  3. 3.Baker Library 175Harvard Business SchoolBostonUSA

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