آیا فرا محیط زیست عملکرد شرکت را تعیین می کند؟ تئوری و شواهد شرکت های چند ملیتی اروپایی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|11503||2011||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Business Review, Volume 20, Issue 4, August 2011, Pages 454–465
We study an underrepresented area in the international business literature: the effect of the meta-environment on multinational enterprise (MNE) performance. A meta-environment is a symbiosis of all country environments where an MNE operates. This conceptualization of a firm's external context is important because country borders increasingly become permeable. The unique governance structure of the MNE allows to specialize in recombining and melding multiple country resources and institutions. At any given point in time, each MNE will explore and exploit its own company-specific meta-environment. We therefore argue that variations in the meta-environment determine variations in MNE performance because wherever a firm is located, whether it has one location or many, its presence in a geographic space positions it relative to others in a unique configuration. Our study is among the first to examine empirically the impact of the meta-environment on firm achievements with a unique panel dataset from European multinationals. The results provide convincing support for our approach to the study of MNE performance.
Multinational enterprises (MNEs) operate in multiple environments, each with its own path-dependent characteristics and this differentiates MNEs from domestic firms (Buckley and Ghauri, 1999 and Dunning and Lundan, 2008). Research in international business has identified many drivers of superior MNE performance (see Buckley and Casson, 2009, Buckley and Ghauri, 1999, Glaum and Oesterle, 2007 and Navaretti and Venables, 2004 for comprehensive reviews). Typical of MNEs is that firm-specific advantages are intertwined with country-specific advantages. Consequently, IB research has focused on country contexts, that is, on the geographic location of the headquarter and its sub-units (George and Zaheer, 2006 and Hadjikhani and Ghauri, 2001). IB scholars have addressed the impact of single-country contexts (Wan & Hoskisson, 2003), the distance between home- and host countries (Dikova and van Witteloostuijn, 2007 and Tihanyi et al., 2005), internationalization (Banalieva and Robertson, 2010, De Clercq et al., 2010 and Eckert et al., 2010) and diversification (Bobillo, López-Iturriaga, & Tejerina-Gaite, 2010) on MNE strategy and performance. With a few exceptions, however, the authors of most prior studies assumed away the role of the meta-environment. The meta-environment is the unique geographic configuration of a multinational firm. When analysing the determinants of MNE performance, it can be argued that the unique organization structure of MNEs allows them to specialize in combining resources and institutions from multiple nation states (Almeida and Kogut, 1999, Anderson and Tushman, 2001, Bartlett and Ghoshal, 1989 and Giroud and Scott-Kennel, 2009). MNEs are able to achieve above normal returns on national resources and to seek less expensive inputs and less price sensitive markets (Wan & Hoskisson, 2003). For example, when home country-level resource abundance is low, MNEs may create competitive advantages by leveraging resources from host countries that are more resource abundant. Hence, it is the MNE-specific symbiosis between country-specific advantages that fosters MNE performance (cf. George & Zaheer, 2006).3 Yet we lack systematic research that examines whether, and if so: how, variations in such meta-environments explain variations in the performance of MNEs. The study of the meta-environment is our first contribution to the recent contextual IB research that suggests to better account for the multi-faceted nature of country environments in which MNEs operate (Buckley, 2002 and Peng, 2004). The second contribution of this paper is that it provides a stepping stone for investigating in detail core aspects of the meta-environment. Although environments can be conceptualized in many different ways, advanced production factors and formal institutions are regarded as most important (Castrogiovanni, 1991 and Wan and Hoskisson, 2003) since they determine the opportunity set that firms seek to capture (North, 1990 and North, 2005). Regarding advanced production factors, alternative collections of countries will vary in their overall resource endowments (Dunning & Lundan, 2008). MNEs create value by converting input from their meta-environment into higher value output. We argue that a meta-environment with more advanced resources – in particular technological capabilities and the quality of the infrastructure – will foster MNE performance (cf. Koka, Madhavan, & Prescott, 2006). Regarding the institutional environment, the meta-environment of an MNE is constructed by different sets of formal national rules (North, 1990). Whereas national firms operate in one particular legal environment, MNEs are able to exploit alternative sets of formal rules. We argue that this meta-institutional environment shapes governance structures and behaviours and hence, the competitive advantages of MNEs (cf. Dunning and Lundan, 2008 and Meyer and Peng, 2005). To test the effects of our finely variegated conceptualization of the meta-environment, it is important to use a multi-level dataset with sufficient variation. This is our third contribution to the IB research. We test our propositions on a panel dataset that combines headquarter information of the largest European MNEs with a refined set of meta-national measures. Our variation in context measures is larger than found in previous munificence studies which typically apply single measures for either a home or a host country context (Dess and Beard, 1984, Goll and Rasheed, 2005 and Rasheed and Prescott, 1992). We contribute to this literature by presenting six different measures that account for the variety in the meta-environment with respect to advanced resources and formal institutions. The remainder of this paper is organized as follows: Section 2 develops theory and hypotheses. Section 3 details the data, method, and variables. Section 4 reports the main empirical findings, and Section 5 provides the conclusions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study investigates how variations in the meta-environment determine variations in the performance of MNEs. MNEs can be conceptualized as a network of exchange relationships among organizational units. Dunning (2009), for instance, concludes that alliance capitalism is one of the key features of the contemporary global economy implying that functional departments in the value-creation process need to collaborate actively and purposely with each other. There are numerous benefits MNEs can draw from intra-firm linkages such as improved productivity as a result of gaining access to new or less costly intermediate inputs or the transfer of financial, managerial, marketing and location-specific resources (Dunning and Lundan, 2008 and Giroud and Scott-Kennel, 2009). Our main arguments posit that the geographic configuration of a firm via its network of subsidiaries relative to other firms presents opportunities for competitive intelligence, knowledge transfers and supply chain synergies. Subsidiaries are bridges between offshore units of the MNE and local firms in the host countries and allow access to country-specific advantages such as knowledge about local institutions, markets and entry modes (Ruigrok & Wagner, 2003). MNEs may realize higher performance levels from a diversified access to these country-specific assets that matches and complements existing MNE's capabilities. Previous IB contextual research has typically focused on single-country contexts (Wan & Hoskisson, 2003), and the opportunities and challenges of managing MNEs such that the added value for stakeholders is maximized (Tallman & Yip, 2009). It has not, however, given much consideration to the core issue for any MNE: how do the combined environments of all countries where all units of an MNE operate determine its performance? In response, this study is among the first to examine the role of the meta-environment for MNE performance. Although prior research acknowledges that leading MNEs leverage strategies that are based on spatial proximity within a region for more readily access to specific resources (Mauri and Sambharya, 2001, Nachum et al., 2008, Proff, 2002 and Rugman and Oh, 2009), cross-country empirical research pertaining to the benefits of combined national resources and institutions remains sparse. Thus, we shift the attention from firm-level determinants and either home or host country contexts, to meta-environmental characteristics. We believe the latter is interesting in its own right. Explaining the impact of the meta-environment is critical in a global economy where national boundaries become permeable and distances disappear (De Clercq et al., 2010, Kogut, 1991, Ohmae, 1990 and Prasad and Ghauri, 2004). Companies continuously need to update the firm's non-location-bound knowledge, in order to reap the benefits of international and global integration, and location-bound knowledge, that provide benefits of local responsiveness. Each MNE makes a sequence of strategic important decisions concerning, at least, entry, establishment and density modes (Buckley & Ghauri, 2004) that involve inertia, path dependency and hence, substantial switching costs (Dikova & van Witteloostuijn, 2007). For that reason, MNEs will find themselves locked into its particular geography (Brouthers and Brouthers, 2000 and Yamin and Forsgren, 2006). Hence, it is the geographical footprint rather than the dichotomous home or host contexts, that enables and constrains MNE behaviour. Our findings generally support our key theoretical arguments. We disentangle the meta-environment into two main components, each subdivided into specific elements. National economies are shaped by their resource endowment (Narula & Dunning, 2000), notably advanced production factors, as well as formal rules that govern economic behaviour (Estrin et al., 2009 and North, 1990). For advanced production factors we report univocal support, that is, MNEs obtain superior performance when operating in a meta-environment dominated by high technological capabilities and a high-quality infrastructure. For the formal institutional setting we also find convincing support. That is, meta-environments characterized by flexible labour regulations, investment promotion policies and efficient law enforcement systems foster the performance of MNEs. Contrary to our expectations, however, a meta-environment dominated by international trade promotion policies does not benefit MNE performance. A possible explanation for the non-significant result of international trade promotion policies is that these not only bring benefits as we hypothesized, but may also share disadvantages. The reason behind this is that as a country imposes high international trade barriers, MNEs which serve local markets by setting up local production are preferred over national firms which service local markets through export. Therefore, the overall effect on MNE performance is not clear, as suggested by the results. Nonetheless, it is worthwhile to mention that we found support for many of our key propositions, while controlling for a substantial number of MNE and industry characteristics. Our study offers several important implications, but we also acknowledge that our findings are subject to various limitations that suggest avenues for additional research. There has been considerable debate about the importance of the home or host country context in which an MNE is operating. Some scholars have suggested that home country characteristics dominate MNEs’ strategic decisions and behaviour (Guler and Guillén, 2010, McGahan and Victer, 2010 and Wan, 2005), while others have argued that host country features (Keller and Yeaple, 2009, Tallman, 1992 and Wiig and Kolstad, 2010) or the difference between home and host countries (Chao and Kumar, 2010, Verbeke, 2010 and Xu and Shenkar, 2010) should be the focus of research. These perspectives, however, may overestimate single-country environments or the home–host country polarization. For one thing, the home country is determined by the geographic location of the headquarter and this choice is often induced by fiscal policies. As a consequence, headquarters are re-located when existing fiscal circumstances deteriorate or when new opportunities arise. The same also applies to the location of subsidiaries. We therefore go beyond the home–host country conceptualization. The logic that underlies our paper is that MNEs develop international strategies that boost organizational performance by carefully aligning internal processes and structures with the external opportunities and threats across all countries in which it operates. It is the company-specific use of a portfolio of nation states (i.e., the meta-environment) itself that is the intangible resource for sustainable competitive advantages (cf. Osegowitsch & Sammartino, 2008). The results of this study also have interesting implications for countries attempting to e.g., attract the investment of MNEs. Private international capital flows may contribute to long-term economic growth because of technology transfers, employment creation and productivity growth. Our study, however, implies that the rules of the international policy games may have changed. MNEs pursue increasingly complex international strategies – they dynamically manage a portfolio of international opportunities trading-off cost differences between locations together with the quality of the infrastructure and the efficiency of legal system. As a result, host countries are evaluated by MNEs on the basis of a broader set of policies than before. Hence, governments need to increase the number of policies that constitute a favourable investment climate. In so doing, however, they also need to coordinate their efforts with other nation states in order to optimize the relative importance of their policies vis-à-vis other countries. The findings have implications for MNE managers as well. On the one hand, the meta-environment cannot be changed in favour of their company because each element is given. On the other hand, managers can change their company-specific meta-environment, e.g., by altering the density of their activities in a particular nation state for which our significant findings can be informative. No study can investigate everything and thus it was not possible in this study to include all dimensions of the meta-environment. Future studies are urged to investigate the role of, for example, education, the supply of skilled labour and informal institutions. Informal institutions or the codes of conduct as described by North (1990) can be viewed as corresponding to culture in the frameworks of Hofstede (2001) or House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, and Gupta (2004). It is argued that leadership is culturally contingent and likely to determine the performance of individuals (Drogendijk and Slangen, 2006 and Ralston et al., 2008) and of organizations (Gerhart, 2008 and Kirkman et al., 2006). MNEs are likely to account for the cultural variance when optimizing their international sets of opportunities. In a similar vein, future studies may analyze the interplay between meta-national culture, MNE strategy and performance. While there is an international convergence in management approaches and production technologies, the operating contexts of MNEs around the world are not homogenous and are driven by the national cultures of countries. New research may also address more complex causalities between MNE performance and our explanatory variables (cf. De Clercq et al., 2010). Informal rules, for instance, may have a mediating role rather than a direct effect on MNE performance. In relation to this, our study focused on the performance of European multinationals in a particular period. In due time, samples with headquarters that are located in other regions as well as multinationals that are active in other industries would allow a cross-validation of the results presented in this paper. In conclusion, MNEs dominate world business and a thorough understanding of their performance remains centre stage in IB research. With the above limitations acknowledged, we are confident that this study makes an important contribution to this line of research by opening up the black box of the meta-environment, and to the understanding how the relationships between the various dimensions of the meta-environment and MNE performance varies.