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The evolution and heterogeneity of outward foreign direct investment from Latin America

Kirollos, K. (2015) The evolution and heterogeneity of outward foreign direct investment from Latin America. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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The PhD dissertation investigates the rise of emerging country multinationals (EMNEs), a phenomenon that has opened up a series of research themes and debates. The main debate in this field is the extent to which the theories/frameworks on foreign direct investment (FDI), which have been developed from investigations on multinationals from developed countries, is relevant in explaining outward FDI from EMNEs. This debate is sparked by research suggesting that EMNEs supposedly do not hold the characteristics that are seen as a prerequisite to engaging in FDI. The underlying theme in this PhD is that the field should move away from a one size fit all categorisation of EMNEs, and explore the heterogeneity within EMNEs. Collecting data through various databases, archival articles and annual reports, there was an examination of the internationalisation process of 136 Latin American Multinationals (LAMNEs). The research explores the differences in internationalisation trajectories and global strategies and classifies firms into one of four categories. The four categories that LAMNEs fall into are: Natural-Resource Vertical Integrator, which are firms that are in resource seeking sectors; Accelerated Global, which depict firms that have become global over a very short period of time; Traditional Global, which are EMNEs that have internationalised at the same pace as developed country MNEs and Local Optimisers that only acquire or internationalise to developing countries. The analysis also looks at which decade LAMNEs engaged in FDI, to see if LAMNEs that internationalised during the 1970s and 1980s, during a time when Latin America had a closed economy, was different to LAMNEs that internationalised during the Washington consensus era of the 1990s or to firms that have only just internationalised within the last decade. The findings show that LAMNEs that internationalised before 1990 were more likely to adopt Local Optimiser strategies. However, more LAMNEs that started to internationalise during the 1990s started to adopt Traditional Global strategies, although Local Optimisers were the most prominent strategy. From 2002, there was more prominence of Accelerated Global strategies and a lot more heterogeneity among LAMNEs. Natural-Resource Vertical Integrator LAMNEs, tended to start to internationalisation process during the 1970s/1980s. Despite the rise of EMNEs, and by extension LAMNEs opting to use cross border merger and acquisitions (M&A), there is little research on whether this entry mode has been successful. Contrary to the argument that EMNEs are “internationalising successfully” through this strategy, the findings show that these firms are highly geared and are running less efficiently against their Western competitors. In comparison, LAMNEs internationalising through a more gradual approach, are outperforming their Western competitors on efficiency and are not highly geared- i.e. do not hold a lot of debt. The conclusion of the thesis is the emphasis of moving away from evaluating firms from their country or region of origin, but rather through the global strategy they are using. This will give a more a robust firm level of analysis, and help develop the understanding of EMNEs and international business theory.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Narula, R.
Thesis/Report Department:Henley Business School
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Henley Business School
ID Code:55812


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