Revisiting emerging market multinational enterprise views: the Goldilocks story restated

Ilgaz Arikan*, Asli Arikan, Oded Shenkar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We revisit the new perspectives that explain the internationalization and growth of multinational enterprises (MNEs) in emerging markets (EMs). Do we need a new theory for EM MNEs? Are the new theorizing efforts seeking the “just right” approach as in the Goldilocks story justified? We beg to disagree. We draw attention to the foundations of current international business (IB) and organization theories, rooted in culture, history, institutions, economics, strategy, and market dynamics to meet the challenges of theorizing the new EM MNE views. We offer complementary explanations on how to develop a more comprehensive approach, elaborate on the underlying assumptions and theoretical underpinnings of extant theories, elucidate their boundary conditions, and suggest how to alleviate the lack of systematic contextualization and directionality in causal relationships. We assert that while some EM MNEs display competitive advantages vis-à-vis their counterparts, not all possess superior capabilities compared to their advanced market rivals; as we exemplify, cases should not be generalized to the population but rather to theory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)781–802
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of International Business Studies
Issue number4
Early online date6 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • MNE
  • emerging markets
  • growth of firms
  • internationalization
  • market dynamics
  • springboard view


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