Please note that when you are analyzing, for example, Japanese multinationals in the electronics industry, your comparisons do not have to be limited to Japanese rivals. Comparisons with Asia Pacific and European multinationals may be more apt and useful. The same point applies to Korea, Chinese and Taiwanese firms. Consider too a number of perspectives, including the aims of Japanese multinationals in relation to global strategies; the aims of Korean and Chinese multinationals and international business strategies; differences between industries and types of business; the degree of global versus regional control, and changes in operational control over time; the competitive advantages of these multinationals compared to those of rivals; variations in management, organization, and operations between home country and host nations; the ability of Japanese, Korean and Chinese multinationals to compete in Europe, Asia and North America, and their ability to adapt to changes in policy and markets; and the policies of host governments and the relevance of the EU.
1. What is the question, and how do you provide a precise answer? What is your overall response, and then what analytical structure will you adopt to substantiate your stated view?
2. When did the firm/industry move towards FDI? Where did the investment go? Are there differences in FDI patterns with other industries or countries? How and when did a firm become an MNE or TNC? Why did firms decide to become multinationals? What therefore was their strategy or motivation? Entry mode? Are differences in strategy and capabilities because timing of FDI, because manufacturers are unlike services, or because multinationals come from different countries? To what extent are choices and decisions related to existing FDI theories and approaches? Have firms, industries or nations been market, efficiency, resource or asset seeking? Are there different patterns in the timing, location, strategy and entry mode of multinationals from different nations?
3. How did MNEs, once they have decided to ‘multinational-ize’, succeed as multinationals? What O advantages, capabilities or resources did they possess to succeed, or what advantages, capabilities or resources did they need to acquire or develop when ‘multinational-izing’? Does the case fit the OLI or the LLL framework better?
(a) Production and operations? Management of global production chains, or SCM?
(b) R&D, innovation?
(c) Brand, design, product, and marketing? Distribution networks or relations?
(d) Management skills and experience? Human resource management skills, training?
(e) Building external networks and client relations, in host economies, as in service industry?
(f) Access to resources such as finance and capital? Or key supplies?
(g) Management and organization. To what extent have strategic needs evolved after the act of FDI, and how is this related to management, organisation, levels of centralization, decentralization, or regionalization? Employment of expatriates v locals? Usefulness of FDI theories and approaches?
(h) Role of government in stimulating inward FDI, and allowing and supporting outward FDI? Notion of institutional advantage? Political economy and macro-economic perspectives in FDI theories and approaches?
(i) Conclusion. AP multinationals have some common characteristics that have allowed them to compete globally and in Europe, alongside companies from North America and Europe? Or differences between AP nations fundamental? Or differences between industries more important? Or general trends in 1980s, 1990s, or since 2000 show similar pattern over time?