Sub-theme 11: (SWG) The MNE and Developing Economies: Entering Markets and Managing Organizations

Florian Becker-Ritterspach
German University in Cairo, Egypt
Rick Molz
Concordia University, Montréal, Canada
Ali Taleb
MacEwan University, Edmonton, Canada

Call for Papers

This sub-theme focuses on developing and emerging economies as both the destination and origin of multinational corporations. The share of global FDI flows to, from and between developing economies has reached a critical level in recent years. According to UNCTAD, developing economies received more FDI than all the triad countries combined for the first time in history in 2012 (Zhan et al., 2013). These trends mirror the increasing purchasing power of local middle-class consumers.

On the one hand, as the economic influence of developing markets in the global economy increases so too is the importance of understanding how western multinationals shape and are shaped by the environments of emerging markets. A key challenge resides in the fact that the institutions of emerging and advanced economies are embedded in dissimilar contexts and entail different dominant logics (Molz & Ratiu, 2012). Similarly, there is still little systematic knowledge that helps us to map different types of emerging markets in terms of their institutional setting and dominant logics (Molz et al., 2010). Against this background, we encourage research contributions that help shed light on the nature and mechanisms of interactions between the foreign MNE and the political, economic, social, and institutional contexts of developing economies. We welcome new perspectives on already researched phenomena (e.g., institutional voids and practice diffusion) and encourage submissions on under-researched topics within the context of developing economies (e.g., innovation and entrepreneurship).

On the other hand, the number of multinationals from emerging markets that joined the list of the world’s largest 500 multinationals reached the record level of 127 in 2012 (Schwab, 2012). Such emerging multinationals are redrawing the picture of international trade by outperforming their peers from advanced economies both at home (Bhattacharya & Michael, 2008) and abroad (Cuervo-Cazurra & Genc, 2008). While the number and diversity of research on these firms has intensified in recent years (e.g., Ramamurti, 2009; Cuervo-Cazurra & Genc, 2008; Becker-Ritterspach & Raaijman, 2013), we have more questions than answers on the distinctive behavior and competitive advantage of emerging multinationals.

Potential questions to be addressed include, but are not limited to: 

  • How does social agency and economic rationality interact to shape the behavior of MNEs in developing and emerging markets?
  • How are western practices transferred and translated when being used in developing markets?
  • How do institutional settings and institutional logics differ in different emerging markets?
  • Do multinationals from developing and emerging economies behave differently from their counterparts from more advanced economies?
  • Will institutional differences between advanced and developing economies be mediated over time? What is the impact on the competitive advantages of emerging multinationals?
  • What are the strategies used by western multinationals to shape local institutions in developing markets?
  • What are the strategies used by emerging multinationals to compete with their peers from advanced or other emerging economies?




  • Bhattacharya, A., & Michael, D. (2008): "How local companies keep multinationals at bay." Harvard Business Review, 86 (3), 84–95.
  • Becker-Ritterspach, F., & Raaijman, T. (2013):"Global transfer and Indian Management: A historical hybridity perspective." Management International Review, 1 (53), 141–166.
  • Cuervo-Cazurra, A., & Genc, M. (2008): "Transforming disadvantages into advantages: Developing-country MNEs in the least developed countries." Journal of International Business Studies, 39 (6), 957–979.
  • Molz, R., & Ratiu, C. (2012): "Logics of local actors and global agents: divergent values, divergent world views." Critical Perspectives on International Business, 8 (3), 225–240.
  • Molz, R., Ratiu, C., & Taleb, A. (2010): The Multinational Enterprise in Developing Countries: Local versus Global Logic. London: Routledge.
  • Ramamurti, R. (2009): "What have we learned about emerging-market MNEs?" In: R. Ramamurti & J.V. Singh (eds.): Emerging Multinationals in Emerging Markets. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 399–426.
  • Schwab, K. (2012): Global Competitiveness Report 2011–2012. Geneva: World Economic Forum.
  • Zhan, J. et al. (2013): World Investment Report 2013. Global Value Chains: Investment and Trade for Development. New York: UNCTAD.


Florian Becker-Ritterspach is Professor of International Business at the German University in Cairo (GUC), Egypt. His research has focused on multinationals in emerging markets, the internationalization of emerging market firms and cross-border knowledge transfer.
Rick Molz is Professor of Management at the John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Canada. His research interests are in international business strategy, particularly in developing, emerging and transitional economies.
Ali Taleb is Assistant Professor of Strategy and Global Management at MacEwan University, Canada. His current research focuses on the internationalization process and corporate strategies of emerging multinationals from developing countries.