What do we know about state-owned emerging-economy firms, and how? Evaluating literature about inward and outward multinational activities.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


In this paper, we conduct a conceptual and bibliographic analysis of the literature that deals with the international strategy of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), with particular attention to SOEs from emerging economies (EEs). We first review the state of the art in defining the concepts of EEs and SOEs. We then conduct a detailed bibliographic analysis of the literature pertaining to SOEs’ involvement in international activities, whether as outward foreign investors or as potential local partners of inward-investing multinational enterprises. The analysis covers general trends in the literature, prominent research questions and outcome variables, use of theories, and choices pertaining to methodology (type of research and effects, empirical contexts). We document a literature that is fast-growing and well balanced in some respects. In other respects we advance recommendations pertaining to (a) consistency and precision in the use of the concepts of “state-owned enterprise” and “emerging economy”; (b) search for specific evidence on the outward activities of EE SOEs in less-developed economies and even in other EEs, and on their performance; (c) understanding of relative propensities of local SOEs and inward investors to collaborate, and what happens when SOEs encounter each other across borders; (d) opportunities to strengthen the theoretical foundations and contributions of this research; and (e) minding the mix of home and host countries in studies and avoiding undue generalization from what has become a predominantly China-centric literature.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in International Management
Subtitle of host publicationEmerging Economies and Multinational Enterprises
EditorsLaszlo Tihanyi, Elitsa R. Banalieva, Timothy M. Devinney, Torben Pedersen
Place of PublicationBingley, UK
Number of pages37
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-78441-739-0
ISBN (Print)978-1-78441-740-6
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • State-owned enterprises
  • Emerging economies
  • International strategy
  • International business theory
  • Foreign direct investment
  • China


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