The Survival of the fittest in the global markets: MNCs’ evolution versus decline


Special issue call for papers from Management Decision 


With the intensification of globalization, national boundaries no longer act as major barriers to cross-border economic activities. As such, firms increasingly have a propensity not just to limit their markets to their home countries, but also to try to achieve organizational growth by selling their products in foreign economies. Conversely, this means that before the emergence of globalization, firms’ food chains were relatively stable, and they could peacefully run their businesses within domestic markets. However, the increasingly intensified globalization has triggered a situation in which international markets have turned into ferocious battlefields for multinational corporations (MNCs). Hence, these companies face “struggle for existence” challenges and will eventually die out if they fail to appropriately evolve in such environments (Tian and Slocum, 2015). This highlights the important fact that not all MNCs are enjoying a period of prosperity or continual success. For instance, while some MNCs have accomplished extensive evolution and emerged as powerful organizations in the global arena (e.g., Samsung in Korea, Tata in India, Haier in China, and Cemex in Mexico), some other MNCs also have been losing their edge in the race representing the survival of the fittest and also falling behind their competition (i.e., natural selection of MNCs). Recent examples of such behavior could perhaps be found in some Japanese MNCs, as no one can deny that Japan was a quondam economic giant and that Japanese MNCs were dominant market leaders in both the domestic and international markets.


However, unlike other MNCs achieving successful evolution, certain Japanese firms and several organizations both from developed and emerging economies have autonomously evolved on an isolated island at a long distance from the continent, which can be denoted as the Galápagos syndrome triggering MNC decline in the global markets. This syndrome is used by the media to indicate the geographically isolated development of an otherwise globally available product. Some MNCs have developed a number of specialized products (e.g., Japanese 3G mobile phones and smartphones, NTT DoCoMo's i-mode, Nintendo video game consoles, etc.), but have been unsuccessful abroad (Akimoto, 2011; Isawa, 2016; Tabuchi, 2009). In addition, the previous difficulties experienced by Korean automakers (e.g., Daewoo and Ssangyong) were also caused by the fact that they kept producing outdated models or models that were only attractive to consumers in their home market. Thus, this phenomenon raises an interesting research question: why were these MNCs in danger of dying out?


The current theories and extensive literature in the international business field have been mainly focusing on answering research questions on such issues as (a) why MNCs choose foreign direct investment (Buckley and Casson, 1976; Fan et al., 2016; Park, Lee and Hong, 2011), (b) how MNCs maximize their earnings in host countries in spite of the presence of the liabilities of foreignness (Buckley and Casson, 1999; Miller, Lavie and Delios, 2016), and (c) which conditions influence MNCs’ choice of entry modes (Dunning, 1993, 2000; Majocchi, Mayrhofer and Camps, 2013; Williams, Lukoianova and Martinez, 2017) and, consequently, we know little about why some MNCs do not evolve successfully while others avoid retrogression by natural selection. In addition, discussions dealing with the heterogeneity of firms declining in the global markets are still in its infancy. There are different patterns of heterogeneity of firms' declines in the global markets according to their status of various development levels, though. Therefore, the aim of this Special Issue is to bring together the theoretical and empirical advancements by focusing on discussions on the evolution of MNCs versus their decline in international business territories. Thus, we welcome conceptual and empirical papers using quantitative, qualitative and mixed-method approaches on any level and across levels of analysis.



More specifically, this Special Issue seeks both theoretical and empirical academic papers that may address, but are not limited to, the following list of potential research questions:



We encourage scholars to use other disciplines and regard novel theoretical, methodological and empirical touches in order to understand, measure, and analyze the above topics. Intersectoral and interdisciplinary studies, associated with these topics, will enhance major theoretical and empirical contributions in various combinations of multiple sectors and disciplines. These research ideas are not exhaustive, and other topics within a main category of this special issue are welcome.


Important Dates:

Submission Deadline: January 15, 2019

Special Issue Workshop, Chongqing, China: June 28, 2019


Guidelines on Paper Submission:

The papers submitted for this Special Issue of the Management Decision (MD) will initially be desk reviewed by a Guest Editor and when found suitable, it will be assigned for rigorous review by a qualified team of academicians. Successful papers in this Special Issue should demonstrate strong academic discourse combined with robust methodological approach will be considered during the peer review processes.


Please visit the Management Decision at to know more about the journal.  


Submissions to the Management Decision are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts, the online submission and peer review system. Registration and access is available through


For detailed author guidelines, please visit


All authors who are invited to revise and resubmit their manuscripts are expected to present their papers at a MD Special Issue Workshop at Chongqing Technology & Business University (CTBU), China (June 28, 2019), but their participation is not compulsory. CTBU will provide individual accommodations for two nights to one author of every paper invited to revise and resubmit after the first round, and cover all local workshop expenses (food, drinks, etc.). During the workshop, the guest editors for the special issue and MD editorial board members will give constructive feedback to paper presentations to improve the quality of their papers to enlarge the effect of the special issue.


Guest Editors:

Jeoung Yul Lee, Chongqing Technology & Business University, China / Hongik University, South Korea / University of Leeds, UK, [log in to unmask]

Byung Il Park, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea, [log in to unmask]



Akimoto, A. (2011), In the battle with smart phones is i-mode dead? The Japan Times, April 20, 2011. Available at [accessed on December 28, 2017].

Buckley, P.J. and Casson, M. (1999), “A theory of international operations”, In: Buckley, P. J. and Ghauri, P. N. (eds.), The internationalization of the firm. London: International Thomson Business Press, 55-60.

Buckley, P.J. and Casson, M. (1976), The future of the multinational enterprise. London: Macmillan.

Dunning, J.H. (2000), “The eclectic paradigm as an envelope for economic and business theories of MNE activity”, International Business Review, Vol. 9, pp. 163-190.

Dunning, J.H. (1993), Multinational enterprises and the global economy. Wokingham: Addison-Wesley.

Fan, D., Cui, L., Li, Y. and Zhu, C.J. (2016), “Localized learning by emerging multinational enterprises in developed host countries: A fuzzy-set analysis of Chinese foreign direct investment in Australia”, International Business Review, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 187-203.

Isawa, M. (2016), Nintendo keeps paying, despite less playing. Nikkei Asian Review, March 4, 2016. Available at [accessed on December 28, 2017].

Majocchi, A., Mayrhofer, U. and Camps, J. (2013), “Joint ventures or nonequity alliances? Evidence from Italian firms”, Management Decision, Vol. 51 No.  2, pp.380-395

Miller, S. R., Lavie, D. and Delios, A. (2016), “International intensity, diversity, and distance: Unpacking the internationalization–performance relationship”, International Business Review, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 907-920.

Park, Y.-R., Lee, J.Y. and Hong, S. (2011), “Effects of international entry-order strategies on foreign subsidiary exit: The case of Korean chaebols”, Management Decision, Vol. 49 No. 9, pp. 1471-1488.

Tabuchi, H.  (2009), Why Japan’s cellphones haven’t gone global. The New York Times, July 19, 2009. Available at [accessed on December 28, 2017].


Tian, X. and Slocum, J. W. (2015), “The decline of global market leaders”, Journal of World Business, Vol. 50, pp. 15-25.

Williams, C., Lukoianova, T. and Martinez, C.A. (2017), “The moderating effect of bilateral investment treaty stringency on the relationship between political instability and subsidiary ownership choice”, International Business Review, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 1-11.


Dr. Byung Il Park

Professor of International Business
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
College of Business
Tel: +82-2-2173-3193
Mobile: +82-10-4157-3532
Personal Homepage: 

Editor in Chief: International Journal of Multinational Corporation Strategy

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