Multinational enterprises (MNEs), as the main actors in our globalized economy, are firms, which do not only serve their respective home market but also engage in foreign markets. Such activities, on the one hand, can be drivers of prosperity and wealth due to creation of new jobs, technology spillovers, and increased competition. On the other hand, globalization critics denounce exploitation of market power, violations of labor laws and human rights as well as infringement of environmental standards by multinationals.

This lecture aims at explaining these contradictory views and equips students with the necessary knowledge to understand the nature of MNEs. Drawing on various theoretical approaches – from Hymer’s internationalization theory to neo-institutionalization theory – the lecture answers why and how firms internationalize and investigates the impact of internationalization on society.

In addition to core theoretical concepts, students will become familiar with recent research findings of international management scholars. Students learn how to interpret research empirical studies and to connect their findings to internationalization theories. Finally, students will be able to define cornerstones of a research strategy to address current questions in international management research.