How Good are Multinationality–Performance (M-P) Empirical Studies?


Correspondence to: Alain Verbeke, Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4. E-mail:


We critically evaluate strong views in the scholarly literature that suggest a linkage between multinationality (M) and performance (P). Building upon this critical analysis, we propose a new M-P conceptual approach as well as a testing framework, consisting of 12 subtests, to assess the quality of the M-P empirical literature to date. We observe that many of the most cited studies were poorly conceived and simply cannot lead to reasonable conclusions on possible M-P linkages. The single most important flaw is the neglect of the multinational enterprise's firm-specific advantages as the main driving force behind internationalization strategies and related effects on performance.