The Usefulness of the Eclectic Paradigm

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The eclectic paradigm, viz. the OLI paradigm was put together by the economic expert John Henry Dunning ( 1927-2009 ) in the late 1970’s. Dunning’s early research focused on American owned affiliates in the UK and their higher productiveness compared to their local rivals. He wondered how and why these houses were able to vie locally with autochthonal UK houses and started to raise inquiries about the advantages of transnational houses as an result of their activities abroad. He identified certain house particular advantages and besides advantages derived from the state of beginning ( Dunning, 2001 ) .

These are first two constituents of the later assembled paradigm, the O which refers to Ownership advantages and the L which refers to locational advantages. These early plants and the early designation of the O and L and their common interaction are ab initio reflected in the bookAmerican Investment in British Manufacturing Industry( Tormenting, 1958 ) .This watercourse of research continued through the 1960’s when Dunning was working on American houses in Europe.

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Subsequently during the 1970s, influenced by Buckley and Casson, Dunning started to turn to dealing cost accounts in an internationalisation position ( the I constituent of the paradigm ) in add-on to the antecedently identified O and L advantages. He was concerned about why houses decided to bring forth and work their specific advantages internally instead than through the unfastened market forces.

This broadened his position and articulated more clearly the early position he had on the O and L constituents. And by the clip he was seting together the remainder of the paradigm at the terminal of the 1970?s, he looked back to the 50?s and 60’s and the theories of Vernon, Hymer and others and interpreted them from within this model and elaborated on how their thoughts were expressed from the eclectic paradigm. Intellectually, he brought everything together, non merely modern-day but besides past theories, conveying all these accounts together in some kind of rubric that allows to link them.

Since so, the eclectic paradigm’s simpleness and yet its thoroughness swimmingly integrates international concern theories and allows research workers from different Fieldss and subjects to consistently explicate the growing of transnational activity ( Cantwell and Narula, 2001 ) .

The Eclectic Paradigm Revisited

The eclectic paradigm itself is non an account of the MNC instead it helps explicate the degree, determiners and forms of the foreign value added activities ( international production ) of houses, and or states. The paradigm offers a model from which an account can be obtained. It is non itself a foretelling theory but it is a manner of linking different theories which can be so used to assist understand different types of foreign production harmonizing to their specific contexts and motives ( Dunning, 2001 ) .

The Eclectic Paradigm and its OLI constituents have gone through different alterations and are defined as follows:

Oxygen: Ownership advantages. These are steadfast net competitory advantages that companies from one state possess over those houses from other states when serving a specific market.

Liter: Location advantages. The grade to which companies decide to turn up abroad value added activities. These value added activities can be the consequence of internalizing.

I: Internalization. The grade to which companies add value to their end product by placing as more profitable to internalise the coevals and development of their ownership advantages instead than through the unfastened market.

An interesting facet of the OLI elements is that they are non independent from each other but that they interact. For illustration, the value added activities generated by locational advantages feed back to the O advantages. That is why an frequently misunderstood and controversial component is the O, because of the fact that it is called ownership, bookmans like Rugman associate it merely to tauten specific advantages. However, the O besides refers to advantages that come from the establishments of the state of beginning ( home state ) . In other words, what Dunning ( 2001 ) ab initio meant by ( O ) Ownership referred to the nationality of ownership as opposed to the ownership of assets by a house.

It was later on that Tormenting acknowledged and expanded the Ownership advantages to include steadfast specific and other types of advantages such as the 1s ensuing from prosecuting in foreign production. Another ground why this is so of import is because it does non needfully connote that the MNE has to be lawfully defined by the ownership of assets, but if alternatively there is an international concern web that is non wholly owned, it could still be consistent with the impression of capablenesss generated within such a web associated with houses of a certain nationality of beginning. On the other manus the L component has to make with host state advantages and it is merely non necessary to compare the host with the place but different host states with one another in finding where the house goes to bring forth.

OLI: Combining and associating IB theories

The eclectic paradigm comes from other international concern theories which are themselves influenced by economic and organisational theories. The paradigm draws from theories of the single house such dealing cost economic sciences ( internalisation ) and market power theories and their relationship with markets and integrates them with macroeconomic attacks to foreign production such as the merchandise lifecycle theory ( Cantwell and Narula, 2001 ) . This embracing facet of the paradigm has brought many unfavorable judgments, one of the most popular 1s calls it a “shopping list of variables” .

Dunning ( 2001 ) responded to this unfavorable judgment by clear uping that each variable of the paradigm is constructed based on well-known and recognized economic and organisational theories. In add-on, he clarifies that the aim of the paradigm was non to explicate all sorts of international production but to offer a model that helps form a methodological analysis that can take to a better account of different sorts of foreign production.

Vernon’s merchandise lifecycle theory is the most inherently dynamic or evolutionary in character of all the theoretical attacks of the paradigm. Hymer’s market power and Buckley and Casson internalisation theories were limited to the period in which they were composing about them, during which an evolutionary position of the MNE was non yet explored. On the other manus the merchandise life rhythm theory was contemporary to the conditions of the 1960?s and hence Dunning included this evolutionary character in the paradigm. This became an of import portion of the paradigm in the sense that it gave it an evolutionary and dynamic position on how houses grow over clip, which is an built-in portion of the manner the eclectic paradigm should be interpreted and used ( Dunning, 2001 ) .

In add-on, from an evolutionary attack, the Eclectic Paradigm’s internalisation advantages are attributable to the conditions of improved organisational acquisition and engineering creative activity, instead than to the conditions for a more efficient cost-minimizing organisation of an established set of minutess. This opens up the possibilities of confederations in order to increase ownership advantages through cooperation. This takes the paradigm beyond a basic minutess costs perspective and expands the types of ownership advantages, from advantages in line with Bain -which assumes advantages to be be anterior to traveling abroad- to cooperative and interdependent generated 1s ( Tolentino, 2001 ) .

The Future of the Eclectic Paradigm in IB

The eclectic paradigm has non merely faced unfavorable judgments but besides faces the challenges of an progressively changing international concern environment due to globalisation and technological progresss. In the last decennaries MNC activity has increased both in extent, strength and signifier. There is besides increased planetary interconnection and mutuality which makes inter house alliances more common and necessary ( Cantwell and Narula, 2001 ) . R & A ; D is more complex and dearly-won besides increasing the manner it is undertaken. Asset working FDI is still present but plus augmenting and cognition seeking FDI are progressively of import. All of this has created new ways of executing cross boundary line activities and different schemes that MNCs usage to prosecute them.

Additionally, the field of IB has besides evolved. It has moved from a market driven view to a more cognition driven one. Furthermore, the degree of analysis has changed every bit good. In the 1990’s there was a displacement from the macro degree attack in which states were the unit of analysis to a more micro attack with the house as the unit of analysis.

Recently the field is traveling even more micro by besides paying increasing attending to behavioural ( single ) considerations and hence leting it to utilize the person as the unit of analysis. Actually nowadays, the way of the field International Business surveies is going more multilevel in character, leting for different degrees of analysis including the states, houses and persons. The field has besides become more interdisciplinary by pulling from other subjects such as sociology, anthropology, biological science, geographics and history. Therefore taking in to account all these alterations the undermentioned inquiry arises:

Is the eclectic paradigm traveling to keep with the external alterations related to globalisation, technological alteration and the new waies in the field of international concern?

I believe it will. So far the paradigm has held for the last two decennaries ( since the 1980’s ) and it seems to be acquiring stronger as a guiding model in international concern surveies. All its constituents are articulated in a manner that allow all the aforesaid alterations. For illustration the Ownership constituent has ever been relational in character and has included different interactions and degrees of analysis ( Ietto-Gillies, 2012 ) . Therefore this does non show a menace to the paradigm but it really increases its relevancy because it allows for multilevel analysis by uniting the different units and elements of analysis and leting them to interact. And even though there are non many treatments of the eclectic paradigm today, the paradigm is progressively relevant now in relation to where the international concern field is traveling.

Additionally, the paradigm has successfully embraced phenomena such as Alliance Capitalism, technological accretion, international webs and dynamic capablenesss, by which houses cooperate and reciprocally increase their ownership advantages. These are countries of research that harmonizing to the critics are non addressed by the paradigm. Furthermore, the Location component of the paradigm increases in importance in the sense that subordinate location has become of import because they are embedded in their foreign locations and can profit from their webs and national invention systems and hence adding value to the MNC.

On the other manus, dynamic capablenesss are created non merely within houses but by interacting or collaborating with other houses and histrions ( Knowledge heightening technological dynamism ) and they become portion of the O advantages. These ownership advantages besides come from the interaction with locations with which initial ‘O’ advantages are important for the development of absorbent capacity. Tormenting argues that capablenesss or ownership advantages are a status for internalising. This is a dynamic position in which advantages are an evolutionary construct.

Critics say that some strategic considerations may non be covered by the OLI and that modus operandis and procedures should be added ( OLMA ) . However, even though the paradigm does non specifically address modus operandis and processes it addresses the ownership advantages that may ensue from them. Every twenty-four hours job work outing activities create alone nucleus capablenesss that are idiosyncratic of each house, hence giving them or heightening bing ‘O’ advantages. This means that the OLI paradigm still holds for scheme considerations, particularly in footings of capableness development ( in footings of O ) .

Besides in some manner in ‘L’ with economic systems of location and experiences of location. Finally besides with the interaction between O and L which creates a complex interaction at different degrees and interactions. For illustration in the instance of subordinates, competency making subordinates really heighten Ownership advantages hence giving strength to the statement that O advantages are non merely originated in the MNE?s place state but besides arise in subordinates every bit good.

Today we can use this besides to international concern webs, so instead than a legal definition of the house, the MNE per Se, the OLI paradigm can used as a method to analyse international concern webs and besides the MNE house as a strategic coordinator of such webs. In other words the capable country moves on but the paradigm remains relevant, partially because of the grade of flexibleness which is built in some of these features, particularly in the Ownership advantages, which is by the manner, the most of import constituent of the paradigm, because it is the 1 that ties everything together, since it is the belongingss of larning that define the location or the transactional web footing of the house.


The aim of the eclectic paradigm is non to explicate the transnational house but the degree and form of foreign value added activities of houses. It helps explicate non merely the initial act of foreign production but besides its growing. The eclectic paradigm overcomes the restrictions of partial theories of international production and provides a holistic model in which bing option and complementary theories of international production coexist ( Tolentino, 2001 ) .

In the international concern field a systemic attack is now more needful than of all time, in add-on it must be inherently interdisciplinary. At the get downing the eclectic paradigm had a more descriptive attack. It was originally developed by incorporating some international concern theories that come chiefly from economic sciences. Theory of trade in Vernon?s instance, theory of the house of the industry in Hymer?s instance and once more theory of the house in Buckley and Casson’s instance. Nowadays it is relevant to unite theories taken from different subjects. Different ways to believe about the universe, new positions. That is why a systemic attack is needed.

The eclectic paradigm is now it is an umbrella that handles a scope of theories, a model that enables the apprehension of how these theories are tied and work together. Therefore what is go oning is that the subject is traveling off from some of the earlier theories that were basically theories of distinct single pick, such as whether to export or non, or whether or non to turn up production abroad, and in the instance of holding located production abroad, whether to licence to and independent house or bring forth internally with through a subordinate.

Those were steadfast degree pick determinations, but if alternatively a system is wanted and the cognition on how it evolves through clip. Therefore the eclectic model is exactly the right manner to near a complex system, because a paradigm like the eclectic paradigm provides a broader context, supplying progressive interaction between different factors and histrions giving it present and future relevancy.


  1. Cantwell, J.A. and Narula, R. ( 2001 ) , The eclectic paradigm in the planetary economic system ” ,International Journal of the Economics of Business, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 155-172 ; revised version reprinted as “ Revisiting the eclectic paradigm: new developments and current issues ” , chapter 1 in J.A. Cantwell and R. Narula ( eds. , 2003 ) ,International Business and the Eclectic Paradigm: Developing the OLI Framework, New York: Routledge.
  2. Dunning, J.H. ( 1958 ) .American investing in British fabrication industry.George Allen & A ; Unwin Ltd.
  3. Dunning, J.H. ( 2000 ) ,  The eclectic paradigm of international production: a personal position ” , chapter 5 in NTF.
  4. Dunning, J.H. ( 2001 ) ,  The eclectic ( OLI ) paradigm of international production: yesteryear, present and future ” ,International Journal of the Economics of Business, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 173-190 ; revised version reprinted as chapter 2 in J.A. Cantwell and R. Narula ( eds. , 2003 ) ,International Business and the Eclectic Paradigm: Developing the OLI Framework, New York: Routledge.
  5. Ietto-Gillies, G. ( 2012 ) , Dunning ‘s eclectic model ” , chapter 9 in TCIP.
  6. Tolentino, P.E.E. ( 2001 ) , From a theory to a paradigm: analyzing the eclectic paradigm as a model in international economic sciences ” ,International Journal of the Economics of Business, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 191-209 ; revised version reprinted as chapter 7 in J.A. Cantwell and R. Narula ( eds. , 2003 ) ,International Business and the Eclectic Paradigm: Developing the OLI Framework, New York: Routledge.

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