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Multinational Performance Relationships and Industry Context

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Studies of multinational performance have moved from linear, to quadratic and to cubic relationships but despite this seeming increase in sophistication, the empirical evidence has remained contradictory. The hypothesized performance relationships of multinationality have typically been driven by assumed trade-offs between underlying cost/benefit functions. However, this paper argues that cost/benefit trade-offs associated with international expansion are shaped by industry specific conditions that systematically confound the performance outcomes of multinationality. Whereas prior studies often have been confined to a focus on manufacturing and smaller cross-sectional samples, this study analyses the multinational performance outcomes across a comprehensive industry-wide dataset during 1996-2000. The analyses show positive multinational performance relationships in manufacturing and knowledge-based service industries whereas capital-based service industries have negative performance relationships. These results support the proposed heterogeneity in multinational performance effects across industry contexts.

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Torben Juul Andersen

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