Management International Review

, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 523–539 | Cite as

The New MNE: ‘Orchestration’ Theory as Envelope of ‘Internalisation’ Theory

  • Christos N. PitelisEmail author
  • David J. Teece
Research Article


We propose an orchestration theory of the (new) MNE as an envelope of internalisation theory and its variants. We first critically assess extant varieties of internalisation theory of the MNE. We then discuss their limitations and explain why it is important to move from internalisation to an orchestration theory of the MNE. Orchestration theory, rooted in and encompassing the dynamic capabilities framework, helps explain a number of MNE phenomena that challenge internalisation theory, including entrepreneurship, learning, co-opetition, open innovation, value capture and market and ecosystem co-creation. It entails much more than the make-or-buy decision of internalisation theory and it is more closely aligned to today’s global environment, conceptual developments in cognate fields and the strategies and practices of MNEs. We also discuss prospects for further research using an orchestration approach.


Orchestration Internalisation Multinational enterprise Co-opetition Co-creation 



We are grateful to participants at the 2016 AIB panel on internalisation for comments, to Greg Linden for helpful feedback and research support, to Johan Wallin for discussion, to the Editors of this journal and to Alkis Pitelis for research assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brunel University LondonUxbridgeUK
  2. 2.Institute for Business Innovation, Haas School of BusinessUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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