Theories and Paradigms of International Business Activity

Theories and Paradigms of International Business Activity

The Selected Essays of John H. Dunning, Volume I

John H. Dunning

This volume contains a selection of John Dunning’s best known and highly acclaimed writings on the theory of international business activity. Spanning more than three decades, the 16 contributions trace the evolution of his thoughts and ideas as an economist, from his first article on the determinants of international production, published in 1973, to his most recent essay on relational assets, networks and global business activity, completed in 2002.

Chapter 9: Towards an Interdisciplinary Explanation of International Production

John H. Dunning

Subjects: business and management, international business

Extract

Dunning 03 chap 9 10/7/02 11:57 am Page 259 9. Towards an interdisciplinary explanation of international production* INTRODUCTION For the most part, the approach taken so far in this volume to analysing the determinants of international production has been that of the economist. Such an approach has its serious limitations. In particular, economists in general are extremely prone to taking an exogenous or ‘given’ the environment in which economic phenomena occur and in which institutions operate, and to make such statements as ‘we are not competent to analyse these non-economic factors’ when pressed to give more attention to them. Even in dealing with activities of firms within a country this is becoming an increasingly dubious position, as technology – which is the economists favourite ‘given factor’ – is becoming the key ingredient for determining economic success and failure.1 But in the context of the reasons for the internationalization of business where differences in the non-economic factors, and especially the role of governments, play such a crucial role in influencing the value of the OLI variables facing firms, the economist – and particularly the international economist – is in danger of not being taken seriously if he persistently fails to incorporate these forces in his paradigms and theories. It is for this reason that the task of this chapter is to consider the extent to which it is desirable and possible to widen the theoretical framework we have adopted to consider the same subject matter from an interdisciplinary perspective. The hypothesis is that since,...

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