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Managing the Embedded Multinational

A Business Network View Mats Forsgren, Ulf Holm and Jan Johanson, Department of Business Studies, Uppsala University, Sweden
This book expands the business network view on managerial issues in multinational corporations. Specifically, it scrutinises the importance of a subsidiary’s external and internal business network for its strategic and organizational role within the corporation.
Extent: 240 pp
Hardback Price: $135.00 Web: $121.50
Publication Date: 2006
ISBN: 978 1 84542 615 6
Availability: In Stock
Paperback Price: $56.00 Web: $44.80
Publication Date: 2007
ISBN: 978 1 84720 093 8
Availability: In Stock

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  • Business and Management
  • International Business
This book expands the business network view on managerial issues in multinational corporations. Specifically, it scrutinises the importance of a subsidiary’s external and internal business network for its strategic and organizational role within the corporation.

The internationalisation of firms in terms of management issues and headquarters control, the influence of subsidiaries on decisions and learning processes within multinational corporations are examined in detail. It is argued that to understand these issues, it is necessary to analyse the context of the multinational corporation in terms of the subsidiaries' external and internal business networks. The authors also explore the extent to which subsidiaries are embedded in close relationships with other business partners and the ability of headquarters to retain control if their subsidiaries are given the opportunity to influence decisions concerning strategic investments. The theoretical elements of the book are underpinned by illustrative cases from an extensive database of 20 multinational corporations.

Grounding its analyses and conclusions on unique and extensive data on specific business relationships at the subsidiary level in multinational corporations, this book will be invaluable to students, researchers and lecturers focusing on management and international business.
‘This monograph is based on an extensive dataset and a very well documented case study. Such a wealth of empirical material provides an ideal ground to test theories and enables the authors to elaborate interesting conceptualisations of some specific aspects of the broader network approach, particularly concerning the internationalisation of business networks.’
– Anna Spadavecchia, Business History

‘Combined with recent advances in network analysis [the book] can be instrumental in advancing our understanding, which will not only be useful for research scholars, but also provide practical guidance for managers. . . It is full of ideas which seem like deceptively simple black stones that in the hands of a skillful artisan can be turned into dazzling diamonds.’
– Charles Dhanaraj, Journal of International Business Studies

‘The work by Forsgren et al. offers a major contribution in terms of the analytical power of network relationships. By shifting to an exchange based perspective, they challenge the classical view of organizational power and control, but also the sources of organizational capabilities. They argue that the distinct capabilities and resources of the organization are developed through relationships and connections.’
– Wilhelm Barner-Rasmussen, Rebecca Piekkari, Joanna Scott-Kennel and Catherine Welch, Academy of Management Perspectives

‘An interesting and insightful book. It questions a lot of traditional thinking about international firms and the way they operate. Throughout the book, the reader is invited to develop a different perspective. This perspective might be called a “relationships and networks” theory of the firm. While this may sound familiar, the book goes well beyond anything I have seen in the existing literature, in terms of conceptualizing “relationships” and “networks” and in using this perspective to guide and interpret case study and survey research results.’
– William G. Egelhoff, Fordham University, US

‘It is now well accepted in the academic literature that the multinational corporation can be usefully modelled as a network of relationships. But it is less well-known that the origins of this perspective can be traced back to work done in Uppsala, Sweden, in the 1970s and 1980s. The term “business network” was first used there, and many important ideas around power and influence have also emerged from this research centre. In this new book, three of the key members of the “Uppsala school” develop a synthesis of the more recent ideas to come out of their research on networks. By focusing on the concept of the “embedded multinational” they show how the internal networks of the multinational interact with the web of external networks each subsidiary unit has in its local market. This book provides a definitive and compelling point of view of the importance of networking thinking to the study of the multinational corporation. It is an important book, and it will be widely cited in years to come.’
– Julian Birkinshaw, London Business School, UK

‘Forsgren, Holm, and Johanson have been among the leaders in developing the idea of the multinational firm as a network that spans different country environments. This perspective cautions the easy prescription that a multinational firm can do everything easily, if it just has the right organizational form. Relationships matter, as do the legitimacy of the firm in the context of its foreign investments. This book provides rich case insights into these dimensions.’
– Bruce Kogut, INSEAD, France
Contents: Preface 1. The Multinational Corporation from a Business Network Angle Part I: The Business Firm in an International Context 2. The Business Firm in International Business Networks 3. Development of Business Relationships – The Case of Danke 4. Development of a Business Network – The Case of Danke 5. Internationalization of the Business Firm Part II: Introducing the Embedded Multinational 6. Three Dimensions of Internationalization 7. The Embedded Multinational 8. The Embedded Multinational – An Empirical Illustration Part III: Management of the Embedded Multinational 9. Control and Influence in the Embedded Multinational 10. Subsidiary Power in the Embedded Multinational 11. Transfer of Knowledge in the Embedded Multinational – The Role of Shared Values and Business Networks 12. Learning in the Embedded Multinational 13. The Embedded Multinational – An Epilogue Appendix I: Research Methods Appendix II: Publications of the MIN Program Appendix III: Corporate and External Embeddedness at the Subsidiary Level Bibliography Index