The Search for Synergy between Institutions and Multinationals: Institutional Uncertainty and Patterns of Internationalization

38 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2006

See all articles by Alan Muller

Alan Muller

University of Amsterdam Business School; University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business

Rob van Tulder

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Date Written: December 21, 2005

Abstract

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

Muller, Alan R. and van Tulder, Rob J.M., The Search for Synergy between Institutions and Multinationals: Institutional Uncertainty and Patterns of Internationalization (December 21, 2005). ERIM Report Series Reference No. ERS-2005-086-ORG. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=871575

Alan R. Muller (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam Business School ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www1.fee.uva.nl/pp/amuller

University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business ( email )

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United States

Rob J.M. Van Tulder

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands

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