This chapter reviews in some detail the evolution of the stream of work on multinational organization, with its focus on the evolution of the MNE itself toward the transnational form. Some of the most important ideas advanced in this literature by Bartlett and Ghoshal include the central role assigned to innovation in the complex firm, the idea of the MNE as a network of differentiated subsidiaries, and the parsimonious and powerful metaphor of the “transnational” itself. The ideas on administrative heritage, on the limits of structure, and on the processes and mindsets that allow a complex organization to simultaneously address its efficiency, responsiveness and innovation goals resonate deeply with anyone who has worked in or observed these organizations. MNEs respond to both external and internal economic pressures for efficiency, socio-political pressures for differentiation and long-term competitive pressures for innovation.
Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.