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Extending the Eclectic Paradigm in International Business

Essays in Honor of John Dunning

Edited by H. Peter Gray

John Dunning is undoubtedly the world’s leading scholar on the subject of multinational corporations and international business. This collection of original essays is designed to honor this work, particularly his achievements during his association with Rutgers University.
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Chapter 13: Multinational Theorizing: Some Methodological Comments about John Dunning’s Eclectic Approach

J.-C. Spender


13. Multidimensional theorizing: some methodological comments about John Dunning’s eclectic approach J.-C. Spender INTRODUCTION This chapter treats the OLI framework as a three-dimensional analytic space laid out by the constructs underpinning Dunning’s definitions of the O, L, and I assets. While the eclectic paradigm has not been presented as a structured space, it is revealing to approach it in this way. We begin by analyzing spatial presentations (matrices) common in the strategy field, move on to Bartlett and Ghoshal’s theory of MNE activity (1989), and the analysis of spillovers. The use of a three-dimensional space to consider policy and managerial matters is illustrated in the Advanced Technology Program. We conclude that the OLI approach is powerful way of meeting the conceptual needs of business and government decision makers, rather than those of economic and business theoreticians with positivist tendencies. BACKGROUND I was lucky to arrive at Rutgers during John Dunning’s time, to share some of his many PhD students, and to experience his academic leadership as he created the Rutgers CIBER. As its initial Director, I promptly let him down by taking a year off in Washington with the Department of Commerce. Then I quit Rutgers to become a Dean elsewhere and so generally did not do all I should have done to help our CIBER succeed, of which more in due course. So I feel lucky to be invited to take part in this Festschrift in his honor. Both JHD and I served our academic apprenticeships in the...

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