In contemporary research on MNC the network concept has been used quite frequently (see e.g. Ghoshal, 1986; Johanson and Mattsson, 1988; Bartlett and Ghoshal, 1989; Forsgren, 1989; Ghoshal and Bartlett, 1990; Forsgren and Johanson, 1992; Ghoshal et al., 1994; Malnight, 1996; Ghoshal and Nohria, 1997; Tsai and Ghoshal, 1998; Zander, 1999; O’Donnell, 2000; Andersson et al., 2001, 2002; Kutschker and Shurig, 2002).1 A closer look at this research reveals that there are some basic differences in how the network concept is used, which partially demonstrates a conflict between two perspectives based on different theory traditions. The first tradition is based on the contingency theory approach and focuses mainly on the internal structure of the MNC. The network concept in this research is mainly used as a new form of organization facilitating the exchange of information between geographically and organizationally dispersed units. The second approach applies the theory of ‘markets-as-business-networks’ in the analysis of the MNC. This approach puts individual business relationships, in which MNC units are involved, at the centre of analysis. In the following discussion we call this approach the business network theory.
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- The Use of Network Theory in MNC Research
- Palgrave Macmillan UK