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International operations management in Brazilian multinationals: contributions to theory and practice

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Yongjiang Shi.

Afonso Fleury, Silas Ferreira, and Yongjiang Shi are going to introduce their collaborative research project on emerging countries’ multinational corporations (MNCs). This is based on a two-year project project exploring both Brazilian and Chinese MNCs and their subsidiaries in the both countries.

International Operations Management (IOM) is still an overlooked field of research, partly because it is assumed that international production occurs in the domains of a single organization: the developed country multinational company (DMNC). Implicitly, IOM models consider that the only distinction between a domestic firm and its multinational counterpart is that production sites are locatedin different countries. Such models rarely seem to bear any contextualization or concern with other factors that influence international operations as if the headquarters in the home country exerted full control over operations sites. That is to say that the orchestration of the company’s network of subsidiaries in terms of design, execution, and the value it creates, usually aims at lowering production and transportation costs. On the other hand, International Business (IB) has developed a handful of theories looking at the context and its influences but seldom focusing on IOM . That changes when emerging country multinationals (EMNCs) are analyzed because a) EMN Cs do not display the market power that DMN Cs are supposed to have; b) EMN Cs are born in countries where the context has relevant influence on both their evolution and internationalization. Therefore, the study of EMNC ’s IOM requires a specific analytical framework, which is this paper’s main target. In order to build that framework, concepts from IB and IOM disciplines are interwoven. A three-level analytical framework looks at the headquarters and its home country context, subsidiaries in their respective host country contexts, and the global production network (GPN) that hovers over all those protagonists. The application of the framework is illustrated by a preliminary fieldwork, including one relevant case. The framework might be used for the study of DMN Cs, depending on the approach to be adopted.

Afonso is an old friend of IfM. He is a production engineering profession in Sao Paulo University in Brazil. He has published many papers and books on the emerging MNCs, especially from Brazil. Silas is an exchange PhD student supervised by Afonso and currently working in CIM , IfM.

This talk is part of the Manufacturing Research Forum series.

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