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Global Interfirm Networks: The Division of Entrepreneurial Labor Between MNEs and SMEs

Networked Multinational Enterprises in the Modern Global Economy

Peter J. Buckley and Shameen Prashantham

We advance a multifaceted and spatially anchored account of the who, the how, and the where of global interfirm networks through our novel conceptualization of the division of entrepreneurial labor between multinational enterprises (MNEs) and small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). The capability dimension pertains to the differential capability sets of SMEs and MNEs in exploration and exploitation, repsectively (the who). The connectivity dimension posits network orchestration/participation and dialogue as differentially addressing the distinct facets of interdependence–viz., mutual dependence and power imbalance, respectively (the how). The contextuality dimension concerns the differential approaches adopted in advanced versus emerging economies (the where).