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Centripetal forces in the international R&D organization of Chinese MNCs - trends and organizational patterns

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abstract The internationalization of the firm is a well established area of research within the business and management literature. While downstream value chain activities like sales and production are the first functions to be internationalized (Johanson & Vahlne, 1977), research and development (R&D) is one of the last – and thus one of the least – internationalized functions. Research on international R&D has attracted greater scholarly attention in the mid-1990s when multinational companies (MNCs) invested more aggressively in overseas R&D to support downstream functions and to access valuable knowledge and talent (Pearce, 1999; von Zedtwitz & Gassmann, 2002). In the absence of innovation-intensive MNCs from developing countries, past research has largely focused on the R&D internationalization of Western MNCs. However, in the wake of the economic rise of China, India and other developing countries, a new cohort of MNCs has emerged from quite different institutional environments compared to developed countries (Peng, 2004; Wright et al., 2005). In particular, MNCs from developing countries often leapfrog the evolutionary internationalization process and directly acquire missing assets such as brands, know-how, or supply chains (Luo & Tung, 2007). The question therefore arises if our current theories of the internationalization of R&D in these firms need to be revised and adapted. In this paper we investigate the internationalization path of the R&D of Chinese MNCs and the type of organizational structure they pursue. We use the R&D internationalization model developed by Gassmann and von Zedtwitz (1999) as our reference framework to analyze how, if at all, the R&D internationalization process is different from the development paths and organization forms of Western MNCs.
   
type conference paper (English)
   
keywords R&D, China, internationalization
   
name of conference Journal of International Management Special Issue Conference (Philadelphia)
date of conference 11-11-2011
review blind review
   
profile area SoM - Business Innovation
citation Zedtwitz, M., Zeschky, M., & Daiber, M. (2011). Centripetal forces in the international R&D organization of Chinese MNCs - trends and organizational patterns. In .