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Emerging Dynamics of Sustainability in Multinational Enterprises

Emerging Dynamics of Sustainability in Multinational Enterprises

New Horizons in International Business series

Edited by John R. McIntyre, Silvester Ivanaj, Vera Ivanaj and Rabi N. Kar

This review addresses some of the pertinent questions arising out of the fast changing dynamics of sustainability development in multinational enterprises focusing their strategies, practices and models on emerging economies. Contributors from India, Europe and the United States offer fresh perspectives on strategic considerations for firms as well as case material.

Chapter 7: The internationalization path and sustainability dynamics in emerging economies: the case of Indian SMEs

Gabriele Suder

Subjects: business and management, international business, management and sustainability


The CSR activities of these [SME] enterprises are driven by the personal interests of promoters who hold a significant financial stake in the business. (Confederation of Indian Industries, 2013, p. 24) Indian firms have been increasingly dynamic players in global business and have gained global dominance in certain key industries (Khanna and Palepu, 2006). This is coherent with the international development path theory developed by Dunning and Narula (1996). Whilst Indian investments mainly target other emerging or developing markets, there is growing interest in developed market investment. A growing stream of literature that analyses Indian investments into developed countries shows that, when compared to multinational enterprises from other economies, Indian companies have different characteristics and obtain opportunities differently. The literature remains vague about what characteristics those would be, and about how firms adapt to those host-market needs and requirements that may differ from the home market. This chapter aims to analyse a set of the characteristics that shape the internationalization path of Indian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) into developed economy markets, and investigates the adoption of principles such as those related to sustainability. It sheds light on two main factors that shape the internationalization of Indian SMEs, studied even more rarely in international business literature – institutional distance and origin – to better understand learning and change capabilities that may be needed.

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