Article | Business History Review | Spring 2014

Charting Dynamic Trajectories: Multinational Firms in India

by Prithwiraj Choudhury and Tarun Khanna

Abstract

In this article, we provide a synthesizing framework that we call the "dynamic trajectories" framework to study the evolution of multinational enterprises (MNEs) in host countries over time. We argue that a change in the policy environment in a host country presents an MNE with two sets of interrelated decisions. First, the MNE has to decide whether to enter, exit, or stay in the host country at the onset of each policy epoch; second, conditional on the first choice, it has to decide on its local responsiveness strategy at the onset of each policy epoch. India, which experienced two policy shocks—shutting down to MNEs in 1970 and then opening up again in 1991—offers an interesting laboratory to explore the "dynamic trajectories" perspective. We collect and analyze a unique dataset of all entry and exit events for Fortune 50 and FTSE 50 firms (as of 1991) in India in the period from 1858 to 2013 and, additionally, we document detailed case studies of four MNEs (that arguably represent outliers in our sample).

Keywords: Multinational Firms and Management; Change; India;

Citation:

Choudhury, Prithwiraj, and Tarun Khanna. "Charting Dynamic Trajectories: Multinational Firms in India." Special Issue on Business, Networks, and the State in India. Business History Review 88, no. 1 (Spring 2014): 133–169.