Theories and Paradigms of International Business Activity
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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.
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Chapter 6: The Changing Dynamics of International Production: An Economic and Strategic Approach

John H. Dunning

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Dunning 02 chap 5 10/7/02 11:57 am Page 173 6. The changing dynamics of international production: an economic and strategic approach* INTRODUCTION There is a slow, but discernible, convergence between the literature on global strategic management and that of the theory of international production. Though the language and analytical approach of the two schools of thought continues to differ, the message of each is similar. This is demonstrated particularly in the work of some younger scholars who have been trained in, or are at least familiar with, the concepts and techniques of both disciplines.1 It is the purpose of this chapter to attempt to review some of the similarities and differences between the approaches of the strategic management analyst and the economic theorist towards explaining the globalization of production, and to consider the possibilities of integrating some of their thoughts and findings. Writing as an economist with a long-standing interest in international business, my views on these particular issues will inevitably reflect my own predilections and prejudices. In particular, this chapter seeks to see how far the economist’s approach to understanding the determinants of foreign value-added activities of firms might be improved upon by taking more explicit account of the work of business scholars. No doubt the latter would wish to start from the opposite end, and see how far economic principles might be usefully incorporated into their thinking. Apart from the fact that I do not feel qualified to undertake this latter task, it would probably be accepted...

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