Following their predecessors’ journey? A review of EMNE studies and avenues for interdisciplinary inquiry

Peter J Buckley, Lin Cui, Liang Chen, Yi Li, Yoona Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this review article we take stock of international business (IB) research on emerging economy multinational enterprises (EMNEs) over the past three decades. Our review covers 690 articles published in 64 high-impact peer-reviewed journals between 1990 and 2021 (inclusive). We first present bibliometric findings on some key patterns of this vast body of scholarly work. We then conduct content analysis to critically assess this literature and provide a multilevel synthesis of the existing knowledge base. To do so we propose a theoretical framework that highlights three dimensions – micro-foundations, organizational characteristics, and institutional environment – by which the distinction between EMNEs and their predecessors, namely multinational enterprises (MNEs) from advanced economies, is investigated. At each level, we seek to understand EMNEs’ convergence with and divergence from their predecessors in terms of their motives, strategies/approaches, and outcomes of internationalization. Through this process we identify opportunities to move EMNE research forward through interdisciplinary inquiry, and we propose several avenues for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101422
JournalJournal of World Business
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • Emerging economy multinational enterprises
  • Global competition
  • Interdisciplinary research
  • International business
  • Literature review


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