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Overcoming the Paradox of Embeddedness: When Can MNCs Emerge as Agents for Change?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Dimitry Jacob


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This paper re-visits the relationship between disadvantages and advantages of foreignness, local embeddedness and strategic agency and contributes to the debate on the ability of multinational corporations (MNCs) to introduce change in host countries. By drawing on international business literature and recent developments in neo-institutional theory, we examine the dynamic interplay between MNC embeddedness within the host market environment and MNC capacity for pro-active strategizing towards institutions. We propose that MNCs propensity and ability to exercise agency towards host market institutions is limited when it is weakly embedded as well as when it is strongly embedded, but there is an optimal–or moderate–level of embeddedness at which an MNC may emerge as an agent for change. The theoretical arguments are tested and supported through a qualitative study of 26 MNCs operating in Russia.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Svystunova L, Jacob D

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Academy of Management Proceedings

Year of Conference: 2017

Print publication date: 01/08/2017

Online publication date: 30/11/2017

Acceptance date: 30/11/2017

ISSN: 2151-6561


DOI: 10.5465/AMBPP.2017.17675abstract

Series Editor(s): Guclu Atinc