Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

PhD in Business


Department of Management

First Advisor

Tatiana S. Manolova

Second Advisor

Michael Quinn

Third Advisor

Tatiana Kostova

Fourth Advisor

Heather Berry


Locational decisions are at the heart of international business strategy and this dissertation advances a dynamic view of the multinational corporation (MNC)-environment interaction by exploring the strategic, institutional and operational aspects of firm location decisions. In my first paper, I synthesize the literature on how institutions affect locational advantages and provide an organizing framework for the many levels and contexts in which these advantages can arise. This holistic framework helps identify inconsistencies between conceptual thinking and empirical verification and offers research avenues which are addressed in subsequent papers in this dissertation. In my second paper, I explore how learning and experiences within foreign countries can change the institutional distance a firm faces in a new country location. I embrace a “portfolio of locations” approach to institutional distance (which I decompose into cultural, economic and knowledge distance) to analyze and explore the construct of “added distance” - defined as the minimum distance between all current MNC locations and a potential new host country location. Results from a panel of US MNCs shows added economic and added knowledge distance deter MNCs from entering a new country, with this result being driven by the developing country investment choices by US firms (and not the developed country investments of these firms). In this way, I re-conceptualize the investment decision as being learning-driven within certain institutional experiences of the firm in clusters of countries. In my third paper, I explore how interrelationships across firm operations at home and abroad create value for the firm. The focus on distinctive activities extends the literature on the multinationality-performance link by identifying the drivers of value creation across markets and incorporates the dynamics and interplay within and between activities in both the home and foreign country environment. Empirical results from two-stage and dynamic panel models confirm that shareholder valuation of foreign value chain activities is influenced by how MNCs are changing their operations in their domestic market. The connection across these papers is important, as collectively, the dynamic interaction of experiences, value chain activities and institutional environments more fully explain the locational decisions of multinational corporations.