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Quo vadis? The entry into new technologies in advanced foreign subsidiaries of the multinational enterprise


  • Katarina Blomkvist

    (Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden)

  • Philip Kappen

    (Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden)

  • Ivo Zander

    (Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden)


The international business literature has identified the overall emergence of technologically advanced foreign subsidiaries of the multinational enterprise (MNE), but little is known about the extent to which individual subsidiaries are able to sustain their contribution to the technological and strategic renewal of the multinational group. This paper takes on this neglected question by empirically investigating longitudinal patterns in advanced foreign subsidiaries’ entry into technologies that are new to the entire multinational group. Repeated events analysis that draws upon the complete US patenting by 211 greenfield subsidiaries of 21 Swedish multinationals over the period 1893–2008 reveals accelerated entry into new technologies, but at moderate hazard rates. The results lend support for established theorizing about the evolution of technological capabilities in greenfield subsidiaries, but question extreme views on their growing strategic importance for the MNE. It appears instead that significant additions to the technological and strategic renewal of the multinational group should be discussed in the context of a select number of “superstar” subsidiaries, not necessarily what are believed to be general developments across all subsidiaries of the MNE.

Suggested Citation

  • Katarina Blomkvist & Philip Kappen & Ivo Zander, 2010. "Quo vadis? The entry into new technologies in advanced foreign subsidiaries of the multinational enterprise," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 41(9), pages 1525-1549, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:41:y:2010:i:9:p:1525-1549

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    Cited by:

    1. Blomkvist, Katarina & Kappen, Philip & Zander, Ivo, 2017. "Gone are the creatures of yesteryear? On the diffusion of technological capabilities in the ‘modern’ MNC," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 1-16.
    2. Sandra M. Leitner & Robert Stehrer, 2016. "R&D and Non-R&D Innovators During the Global Financial Crisis: The Role of Binding Credit Constraints," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 53(1), pages 1-38, December.
    3. Ha, Yoo Jung & Giroud, Axèle, 2015. "Competence-creating subsidiaries and FDI technology spillovers," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 605-614.
    4. Achcaoucaou, Fariza & Miravitlles, Paloma & León-Darder, Fidel, 2014. "Knowledge sharing and subsidiary R&D mandate development: A matter of dual embeddedness," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 76-90.
    5. George O. White & Orhun Guldiken & Thomas A. Hemphill & Wu He & Mehdi Sharifi Khoobdeh, 2016. "Trends in International Strategic Management Research From 2000 to 2013: Text Mining and Bibliometric Analyses," Management International Review, Springer, vol. 56(1), pages 35-65, February.
    6. Hsu, Sean Tsu-Hsiang & Iriyama, Akie & Prescott, John E., 2016. "Lost in Translation or Lost in Your Neighbor's Yard: The Moderating Role of Leverage and Protection Mechanisms for the MNC Subsidiary Technology Sourcing–Performance Relationship," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 84-99.
    7. Qu, Zhe & Huang, Can & Zhang, Mingqian & Zhao, Yanyun, 2013. "R&D offshoring, technology learning and R&D efforts of host country firms in emerging economies," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 502-516.
    8. Håkanson, Lars & Kappen, Philip, 2016. "Live and let die: A survival analysis of foreign R&D units in Swedish MNEs," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1185-1196.

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