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What’s Theoretically Novel About Emerging Market Multinationals?

Mauro Guillen, Zeke Hernandez

We review the classic theory of the MNE and past attempts to use it to understand the internationalization of firms from emerging markets. We offer two criteria to determine whether EMNEs modify classic theory or not: (1) establishing appropriate theoretical reference points and (2) distinguishing between theoretical constructs and empirical variables. We suggest that the literature can benefit from moving beyond comparing EMNEs to DMNEs and focusing instead on more fruitful issues. Specifically, emerging markets offer the opportunity to observe the origin of the capabilities of MNEs in general and the development of the institutional ecosystem that supports internationalization.

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