To almost see the world: hierarchy and strategy in Hymer’s view of the multinational

Article


Pearce, R. and Papanastassiou, M. 2006. To almost see the world: hierarchy and strategy in Hymer’s view of the multinational. International Business Review. 15 (2), pp. 151-165. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ibusrev.2005.07.005
TypeArticle
TitleTo almost see the world: hierarchy and strategy in Hymer’s view of the multinational
AuthorsPearce, R. and Papanastassiou, M.
Abstract

The paper firstly describes how, using the two laws of ‘increasing firm size’ and ‘uneven development’, Hymer characterises the multinational corporation (MNC) as a geographically segmented hierarchy. In this structure HQs in a limited number of core countries exercise authoritarian control over global operations through the centralised generation of competitive advantages and determination of strategy. Poor hinterland countries then execute static and dependent low-value roles. The paper then discusses a number of changes to the practical configuration of MNCs since Hymer wrote. Notably the use of integrated supply networks, decentralisation of innovation and R&D and even of strategic decision making. The new organisation is seen in terms of Hedlund's heterarchy. But it is also noted that Hymer foresaw the potential of supply networks and showed the technological feasibility of heterarchical ‘grids’. The predicted persistence of hierarchy, for Hymer, was therefore a choice taken by MNCs to secure the continuation of core-country control and the ability to appropriate surplus from the periphery.

KeywordsStephen Hymer; hierarchy; heterarchy; strategy
Research GroupInternational Business group
LanguageEnglish
PublisherElsevier
JournalInternational Business Review
ISSN0969-5931
Publication dates
PrintApr 2006
Publication process dates
Deposited15 Oct 2013
Output statusPublished
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ibusrev.2005.07.005
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