Research Alert


Newswise — Internalization theory of Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) provides a paradigm in the international business field. Contemporary discussions consider MNEs as differentiated network with self-initiated subsidiaries. However, while moving away from pure hierarchy, internalization theory has not fully particularized the coordinating mechanism across MNEs’ networked subsidiaries. Accordingly, we propose a novel role of subsidiaries’ reputation within their MNEs. Based on primary data from subsidiaries’ perspective, our findings are threefold. First, we demonstrate that a subsidiary’s reputation within the MNE is a critical driver for subsidiary-specific advantages. Second, we examine how subsidiaries’ strategic actions can send signals to their headquarters and sister subsidiaries to build its reputation. Finally, along with the reputation-building process, we reveal the contingencies of subsidiaries’ autonomy and resources within the MNE. Our results show that internalization enables a differentiated network mechanism constituted by reputation, autonomy control, and resource allocation across MNEs’ networked subsidiaries.

Journal Link: Journal of Business Research