Overcoming the liability of outsidership for emerging market MNEs: A capability-building perspective

Jiatao Li, Maria Tereza Leme Fleury

Research output: Journal PublicationComment/debate

64 Citations (Scopus)


This paper develops and discusses a model describing how multinational enterprises from emerging economies (EMNEs) overcome the liability of outsidership in their internationalization from a capability-building perspective. Our aim is to celebrate the important intellectual contribution of Johanson and Vahlne (J Int Bus Stud 40(9):1411–1431, 2009), who introduced the liability of outsidership concept. We first discuss learning from the local environment that can reduce outsidership, and then explain how greater absorptive capacity can translate into better performance internationally. Finally, we elaborate on how the institutional environment further conditions the process and the outcomes of learning. We conclude with some suggestions for future research from five theoretical perspectives: learning, social network theory, institutional theory, resource dependence theory, and MNE structure and design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-37
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of International Business Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Decade Award
  • absorptive capacity
  • emerging economies
  • institutional theory
  • learning
  • liability of outsidership
  • networks
  • resource dependence theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting (all)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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