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The Location Behavior of the Multinational Enterprise: Some Analytical Issues


  • Philip McCann
  • Ram Mudambi


In the international business literature location behavior has traditionally been analyzed using Dunning's (1977) OLI framework, which focuses on the nature, role, and behavior of multinational enterprise (MNE). In this paper it is argued that this approach is now no longer appropriate for discussing the spatial behavior of MNEs, because of the fundamental changes which have taken place either in MNE organization or in the global and institutional environment for foreign direct investment (FDI). At the same time, the paper argues that current location theory from regional economics and economic geography is also largely unsuitable for discussing these issues, such that the spatial behavior of the MNE provides a set of difficult challenges to location analysts. There appears to have been some response to these issues from the international business and management literature, most notably the Porter literature on clusters. However, it is also argued here that this literature provides few, if any, real answers to the problems set by the geographical behavior of the MNE. It is concluded that a fusion of traditional economic geography approaches with a focus on the information and organizational aspects of the firm and the region under consideration may be a way forward for both theory and empirical analysis. Copyright 2004 Gatton College of Business and Economics, University of Kentucky..

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  • Philip McCann & Ram Mudambi, 2004. "The Location Behavior of the Multinational Enterprise: Some Analytical Issues," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 491-524.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:growch:v:35:y:2004:i:4:p:491-524

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    Cited by:

    1. Simona Iammarino & Philip McCann, 2010. "The Relationship between Multinational Firms and Innovative Clusters," Chapters,in: The Handbook of Evolutionary Economic Geography, chapter 8 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Chun Yang & Haifeng Liao, 2010. "Industrial agglomeration of Hong Kong and Taiwanese manufacturing investment in China: a town-level analysis in Dongguan," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 45(3), pages 487-517, December.
    3. Crescenzi, Riccardo & Gagliardi, Luisa & Iammarino, Simona, 2015. "Foreign multinationals and domestic innovation: Intra-industry effects and firm heterogeneity," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 596-609.
    4. Nicholas A. Phelps & Miguel Atienza & Martin Arias, 2015. "Encore for the Enclave: The Changing Nature of the Industry Enclave with Illustrations from the Mining Industry in Chile," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 91(2), pages 119-146, April.
    5. Felix Haifeng Liao & Karen Zhihua Xu & Bin Liang, 2013. "Industrial agglomeration of Taiwanese electronics firms in Dongguan, China: home effects and implications for industrial upgrading," Chapters,in: Clusters and Economic Growth in Asia, chapter 3, pages 40-65 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Kandogan, Yener, 2012. "Regional foreign direct investment potential of the states within the US," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 64(4), pages 306-322.
    7. Zámborský Peter & Jacobs Elena J., 2016. "Reverse Productivity Spillovers in the OECD: The Contrasting Roles of R&D and Capital," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 16(1), pages 113-133, March.
    8. Tattara, Giuseppe, 2012. "From competitive advantage to dynamic capabilities: small and medium-sized multinationals in Asia," MPRA Paper 39364, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Josep-Maria Arauzo-Carod & Daniel Liviano-Solis & Miguel Manjón-Antolín, 2010. "Empirical Studies In Industrial Location: An Assessment Of Their Methods And Results," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 685-711.
    10. Dettmann, Eva & Dominguez Lacasa, Iciar & Günther, Jutta & Jindra, Björn, 2013. "Determinants of Foreign Technological Activity in German Regions – A Count Model Analysis of Transnational Patents (1996-2009)," IWH Discussion Papers 12/2013, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    11. Chidlow, Agnieszka & Holmström-Lind, Christine & Holm, Ulf & Tallman, Steve, 2015. "Do I stay or do I go? Sub-national drivers for post-entry subsidiary development," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 266-275.
    12. Riccardo Crescenzi & Kerwin Datu & Simona Iammarino, 2016. "European Cities and Foreign Investment Networks," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1616, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Jul 2016.
    13. Buckley, Peter J., 2016. "The contribution of internalisation theory to international business: New realities and unanswered questions," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 74-82.
    14. Adelheid Holl & Ruth Rama, 2014. "Foreign Subsidiaries and Technology Sourcing in Spain," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 43-64, January.
    15. Pontus Braunerhjelm & Per Thulin, 2008. "Can countries create comparative advantages? R&D expenditures, high-tech exports and country size in 19 OECD countries, 1981-1999," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 95-111.
    16. Luisa Gagliardi & Simona Iammarino, 2017. "Innovation in risky markets. Multinational and domestic firms in the UK regions," Working Papers 37, Birkbeck Centre for Innovation Management Research, revised Mar 2017.
    17. Primandita Fitriandi & Makoto Kakinaka & Koji Kotani, 2014. "Foreign direct investment and infrastructure development in Indonesia: Evidence from province level data," Asian Journal of Empirical Research, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 4(1), pages 79-94, January.
    18. Jiang, Guoliang F. & Holburn, Guy L.F. & Beamish, Paul W., 2016. "The spatial structure of foreign subsidiaries and MNE expansion strategy," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 438-450.
    19. Eva Dettmann & Iciar Dominguez Lacasa & Jutta Guenther & Bjorn Jindra, 2014. "Determinants of Foreign Technological Activity in German Regions - A Count Model Analysis of Transnational Patents," Foresight and STI Governance (Foresight-Russia till No. 3/2015), National Research University Higher School of Economics, vol. 8(1), pages 34-51.
    20. Eva Dettmann & Iciar Dominguez Lacasa & Jutta Guenther & Bjorn Jindra, 2013. "Determinants of foreign technological activity in German regions - a count model analysis of transnational patents (1996-2009)," HSE Working papers WP BRP 17/STI/2013, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    21. Simona Iammarino & Jan-Philipp Kramer & Elisabetta Marinelli & Javier Revilla Diez, 2012. "Technological Capabilities and the Regional Embeddedness of Multinational Enterprises. A Case Study of Germany and the UK," Chapters,in: Innovation and Institutional Embeddedness of Multinational Companies, chapter 7 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    22. Bunyaratavej, Kraiwinee & Hahn, Eugene D. & Doh, Jonathan P., 2008. "Multinational investment and host country development: Location efficiencies for services offshoring," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 227-242, March.
    23. Abdoulaye Oury Bah & Xie Kefan & Oji-Okoro Izuchukwu, 2015. "Strategies and Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Attraction," International Journal of Management Science and Business Administration, Inovatus Services Ltd., vol. 1(5), pages 81-89, April.

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