The relative impact of country of origin and universal contingencies on internationalization strategies and corporate control in multinational enterprises: Worldwide and European perspectives

AW Harzing*, A Sorge

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    234 Citations (Scopus)


    We examine the importance of country-of-origin effects and of universal contingencies such as industrial recipes in organizational practices at the international level of multinational enterprises. This is based on a study comparing European (Finnish, French, German, Dutch, Swiss, Swedish, British), American and Japanese multinational enterprises. Although multinationals are highly internationalized by definition, our study shows their organizational control practices at the international level to be more than anything else explained by their country of origin. Universal contingencies such as size and industry, on the other hand, are more related to internationalization strategy. Internationalization strategy and organizational control are associated with different sets of variables; to this extent they appear more decoupled with regard to each other than the literature suggests. Multinationals appear to follow tracks of coordination and control in which they have become embedded in their country of origin. Nationally specific institutions and culture have to be interpreted as particularistic but universally practicable facilitators of internationally competing organizational practices.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)187-214
    JournalOrganization Studies
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003


    • multinational companies
    • internationalization strategy
    • corporate control
    • convergence
    • embeddedness
    • country of origin
    • FIRMS

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