Multinational enterprises, development and globalisation:Some clarifications and a research agenda


Rajneesh Narula, Reading University Business School, UK

This paper revisits our earlier contribution and considers how economic
globalisation has affected opportunities and challenges for developing countries in following an MNE-assisted development strategy. The growing share of industrial activity owned and/or controlled by MNEs has not – by and large- led to proportional increases in sustainable industrial development. Particular attention is paid to how MNEs have proactively responded to globalisation by modifying their strategies, spatial organisation and the modalities by which they interact with host economic actors, and how these changes change our understanding of MNEs and development. We examine what has been learnt over the last decade about embeddedness, institutions, inertia, absorptive capacity, spillovers and linkages, and how it can explain the success of some countries (or regions) in promoting growth, and the failure of others. We highlight the need for systematically linking MNE and industrial policies. Attracting the „right kinds‟ of MNE activity remains important, but greater heterogeneity of MNE activity and host locations requires greater customisation of policy tools.

About the speaker
Rajneesh Narula is Professor of International Business Regulation and Director of the Centre for International Business and Strategy (CIBS) at the Reading University Business School, UK. He obtained his BEng (Electrical Engineering, with Honors) from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria Nigeria, his MBA from Rutgers University Graduate School of Management, and his Doctorate in Management from Rutgers University, USA.Prof. Narula has previously held appointments at the Copenhagen Business School (2002-2004), University of Oslo (1998-2002), BI Norwegian School of Management (2000-2003), and the University of Maastricht (1993-1997). Prof. Narula’s research and consulting have focused the internationalization of innovation, R&D alliances, and the role of multinational firms in industrial development. He is the author or editor of nine books, including Globalization and Technology, Multinationals and Industrial Competitiveness (with John Dunning), and Understanding FDI-assisted Economic Development (with Sanjaya Lall). His publications have appeared in leading journals, including the Journal of International Business Studies, Oxford Development Studies, Research Policy, Management International Review.Prof. Narula is Editor-in-chief of the European Journal of Development Research. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of International Management, and International Journal of Technological Learning.Before academia, Professor Narula worked as an Engineer in Nigeria, and later as a Planning Analyst at IBM Asia/Pacific Headquarters in Hong Kong. He acts regularly as a consultant for UNCTAD, UNIDO, the European Commission, the Inter-American Development Bank and the OECD. He has traveled widely, having undertaken research and consultancy projects or taught in Tanzania, Uganda, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Russia, India, Qatar, UAE, in addition to almost all the countries of the EU.

Date: 29 April 2010

Time: 11:00 - 12:00


UNU-MERIT