The Development of International Business


The Development of International Business

A Narrative of Theory and Practice

9781788972420 Edward Elgar Publishing
The late Robert Pearce, formerly Professor of International Business Emeritus, John H Dunning Centre for International Business, Henley Business School and Department of Economics, University of Reading, UK
Publication Date: 2018 ISBN: 978 1 78897 242 0 Extent: 168 pp
In this wide-ranging and groundbreaking new book, Robert Pearce provides an analytically-informed basis for understanding the modern multinational enterprise. It does this by tracing the development over the past half-century of two parallel strands of analysis in International Business; designated as the ‘theoretical’ and the ‘practical’.

The book shows how the practical restructuring of the MNE as an organisational form has responded to changes in the wider global economy and how this evolution has interfaced with the enriching of the relevant theorising. By tracing the persisting dynamics of the MNEs’ structure and strategic positioning it demonstrates how what it is now can be used as a template for understanding and organising its further evolution as additional changes condition its environment.

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The Development of International Business offers an extensive understanding of contemporary international business through detailed, engaging discussion of the development of the multinational enterprise (MNE) over the past half-century.

By providing an analytically informed basis for understanding MNEs, two parallel strands of analysis in International Business (IB) are reviewed: the ‘theoretical’ and the ‘practical’. Firstly, Robert Pearce identifies how the practical restructuring of the MNE as an organisational form has responded to changes in the wider global economy and how this evolution has interacted with the enrichment of theory on the topic. Secondly, by tracing the persisting dynamics of the MNE’s structure and strategic positioning, he demonstrates the use of these systems and how they can help to understand and organise the future evolution of not only MNEs but of international business as a whole.

Highly accessible with an informed overview of the entire IB subject area, The Development of International Business is an essential text for students and academics of business, management, economics and development. More generally, business leaders, economists and politicians will value the exceptional insight into the progression of international business and its future.
Critical Acclaim
‘This tour de force gives us the very first, timely narrative history of the birth and growth of IB as a new discipline over the past half century. Robert Pearce lucidly interprets the major theoretical traces left by innovative economists whose frameworks built the foundation of the discipline. He weaves out a thought-provocative tapestry that demonstrates how national enterprises transform themselves into multinationals as they adapt to, and reshape, their altering global ecosystem – in a co-evolutionary fashion. The book is highly recommended as an ideal read to learn the conceptual warp and woof of IB.’
– Terutomo Ozawa, Colorado State University, US

‘As a distinguished founder-member of the “Reading School”, Bob Pearce provides a comprehensive account of the evolution of international business theory from the 1950s to the present day. He shows how, unlike abstract economic theories, international business theory has always been rooted in evidence on the behaviour of individual multinational firms. He provides a fascinating narrative of the early days of international business research, which he embeds within a broad thematic view. This book is indispensable reading for all serious scholars of international business studies.’
– Mark Casson, University of Reading, UK
Contents: 1. Multinationals: in theory and practice 2. From FDI to the MNE: Hymer and the roots of ownership advantage 3. From innovation to internationalisation: the product cycle model 4. From multi-domestic hierarchy to network hierarchy 5. Trade and FDI revisited: the role of location 6. Internalisation: ownership advantage as an intermediate good 7. The knowledge-seeking transition: decentralising innovation and R&D 8. Multinationals from emerging economies: a new challenge of practice to theory 9. Evaluating the multinationals: a coda Index

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