Enriching Internationalization Process Theory: Insights from the Study of Emerging Market Multinationals

Peter Gammeltoft*, Alvaro Cuervo-Cazurra*

*Corresponding author for this work

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We argue and explain how the study of emerging market multinational companies can help enrich our understanding of the internationalization process. Firms' internationalization process is a central and enduring theme in international business. However, most of the theoretical models are built on the analysis of advanced economy multinationals. Emerging market multinationals differ crucially in the role that the home country plays in their behavior, resulting in different patterns of internationalization. We propose that the discussion of the applicability of extant theory can be advanced by differentiating internationalization theories according to three different ontological perspectives: resource oriented, transaction oriented, and process oriented. We further suggest that the study of emerging market multinationals' internationalization processes reveals three contextual accelerators: government, catch-up, and global value chains. These accelerators help adapt internationalization process models to new contextual realities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100884
JournalJournal of International Management
Issue number3
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Published online: 21 September 2021.


  • Internationalization process
  • Emerging markets
  • Multinational companies
  • EMNCs
  • Outward foreign direct investment
  • Resources and capabilities
  • Transactions

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