Globalization of Chinese Firms: Theoretical Universalism or Particularism

Ilan Alon, John Child, Shaomin Li, John R. Mcintyre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Research on the globalization of Chinese and other emerging markets' companies has only just begun and is on the verge of taking off. As it does so, additional thought should be given to the ontological and epistemological underpinnings of the theories attempting to capture the phenomenon. Should Western-centric theory prevail? Be adapted? Or abandoned in favour of new indigenous approaches to theorizing, based on context? Finally, should the context itself be the basis of theorizing? While the debate will not stop here, the future may hold a multiplicity of approaches, both indigenous and internationalized, for explaining emerging markets' contexts and, more specifically, for understanding internationalization of their economies and their multinationals. This article provides an overview of the debate on Chinese Theory of Business vs. Theory of Chinese Business, and highlights the contribution of three key articles utilizing a hybrid approach of adapted theory, controlling for the various multinational contexts. We conclude that no theory has a monopoly on explanation and a multi-level, multidisciplinary, and, perhaps, Eastern-centric theory may prove to show great potential in future theories of emerging markets' multinationals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-200
Number of pages10
JournalManagement and Organization Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese firms
  • Emerging markets
  • Globalization
  • Indigenous approaches
  • Internationalization
  • Multinational corporations


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