Adjusting to and learning from institutional diversity: Toward a capability-building perspective

Sarianna M. Lundan, Jiatao Li

Research output: Journal PublicationComment/debate

41 Citations (Scopus)


This paper identifies two main dimensions – institutional diversity and dynamism – in the research stream that has substantively engaged with the important contribution of Jackson and Deeg (J Int Bus Stud 39(4):540–561, 2008). Taking into account their core criticism that institutional analysis in international business research is often de-contextualized, and building on these two dimensions, we present two possible paths for institutional analysis that are sensitive to context. The first is a methodological shift towards configurational analyses, and specifically the analysis of counterfactual scenarios that could reveal new information about decision alternatives. The second is a shift away from a focus on costs, and towards the possibility of MNEs building capabilities in an exploratory manner when confronted with institutional diversity. Both approaches build on an understanding of MNEs as strategic actors that co-evolve with their environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-47
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of International Business Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • decade award
  • dynamic capabilities
  • institutional change
  • institutional diversity
  • institutional theory
  • qualitative comparative analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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