The Search for Synergy between Institutions and Multinationals: Institutional Uncertainty and Patterns of Internationalization
38 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2006
Date Written: December 21, 2005
The debate on globalization has long been characterized by theses of institutional convergence and divergence. The emergence of Anglo-Saxon shareholder capitalism as the dominant paradigm since the start of the 1990s is associated with the pursuit of global strategies by Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) and the consolidation of a multilateral trade regime. Yet the link between actual MNE strategies and developments in the institutional arena remains an understudied phenomenon. Tensions between multiple levels of institution building – unilateralism, regionalism and multilateralism – create an environment of strategic uncertainty for MNEss. Consequently, MNEs’ actual international strategies reveal much about perceptions of the institutional environment in which they operate and allows for the documentation of more subtle paradigm shifts. The internationalization strategies pursued by MNEs from the Triad over the 1990s reveal that a multilateral strategic reality was anticipated by only an elite few, while the vast majority of firms operated in a unilaterally- or at best regionally-determined institutional environment. This contribution suggests that institutional restructuring is multifaceted and sometimes contradictory, casting a new and more subtle light on the globalization debate.
Keywords: Institutions, International Strategy, Regionalization, Globalization
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation