The Quest for Innovation and Sustainability
Edited by Wilfred Dolfsma, Geert Duysters and Ionara Costa
Intermezzo I. Do multinationals matter for emerging markets, or vice versa?
Rajneesh Narula It is undeniably the case that the subject of multinationals in emerging markets has become a diverse subject. A volume such as this indicates that much has changed in development studies over the last two decades and, from my point of view, this change has been almost completely positive. The study of multinationals has clearly evolved from a niche area to the mainstream of the social sciences and I am delighted to see international institutions, as well as politicians and policy makers at all levels, earnestly discussing how to engage (positively) with the multinational firm. The richness and diversity of perspectives that multinationals and emerging markets are nowadays analysed from is well-illustrated by the chapters in this book and, indeed, by the first four contributions that precede this comment. The variety of the subject matter and the myriad perspectives from which the activities of multinational firms is examined confirms for me that post-modernism is alive and well within academia. Diversity is refreshing, not least because diversity is indicative of vigour, and in a Darwinian sense, the means by which progress is made. The first four chapters of this book alone have addressed the outsourcing of clinical trials, the challenges of cross-cultural management and the innovativeness of multinational firms, covering countries as diverse as Thailand, the Czech Republic, Mexico and China, to name but a few. As recently as two decades ago, multinationals were regarded with considerable suspicion. At one extreme, they were largely regarded as a symbol of...
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