Is it All a Matter of Grouping? Examining the Regional Effect in Global Strategy Research
26 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2007
Date Written: 2007
Over the past decades terms such as regionalism, regionalization, 'regional multinationals', and 'liability of regional foreignness' have populated International Business and Global Strategy research. Notwithstanding their popularity, the definition of the term 'region' is ambiguous, which results in a lack of systematic use in research as well as in the insights generated from this construct. How can one define 'region'? Can the same regional category be used for research projects with completely different goals? Will drawing on different definitions of regional categories lead to different results and conclusions? We tackle these issues by first reviewing how social science research has defined region as well as how the construct has been used in global strategy research. Then we discuss, as an exemplification of the multiple definitions of region, how different regional categorizations paint different pictures of the degree to which US multinational firms have become more global or regional in the last two decades. We conclude with some insights on the next steps that global strategy should take when using the construct of region.
Keywords: Regions, Regionalization vs. Globalization, MNCs' foreign location choices
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