Top management teams in international business research: A review and suggestions for future research

Ilya R.P. Cuypers, Charmi Patel, Gokhan Ertug, Jiatao Li, Youtha Cuypers

Research output: Journal PublicationReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This article reviews and critically assesses the large and diverse literature on top management teams (TMTs) that has focused on international business (IB) issues. We apply an organizing framework that centers around four key elements of TMTs – TMT composition, structure, processes, and governance – and the most commonly studied IB-related choices and outcomes. This framework allows us to synthesize the contributions of the literature on TMTs in IB and identify opportunities for future research. The contributions of our review are threefold. First, we offer a roadmap for navigating the large and diverse literature on TMTs in IB. Second, we provide a systematic and critical evaluation of the key empirical and theoretical developments in this literature. Third, we highlight opportunities for future research to make theoretical and empirical advancements in each of the areas of our organizing framework. In these future research opportunities, we draw particular attention to the need to further contextualize TMT research in IB by proposing opportunities to more systematically incorporate the unique nature of the MNE and the external environment in which the MNE operates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-515
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of International Business Studies
Issue number3
Early online date12 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished Online - 12 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • foreign market entry
  • internationalization theories and foreign market
  • top management teams
  • upper echelon theory

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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