Title: Opening the reverse innovation black box to pinpoint its drivers and challenges in Western MNCs

Authors: Caroline Hussler; Thierry Burger-Helmchen

Addresses: Université de Lyon, UJML3, IAE Lyon School of Management, Magellan, France ' Université de Strasbourg, AgroParisTech, CNRS, INRA, BETA, 67000, Strasbourg, France

Abstract: If hallmark examples of reverse innovation flourish, the micro-level drivers and challenges of this phenomenon remain understudied. The present paper aims at filling that gap by investigating the reversal process at stake to better tackle its managerial challenges. This conceptual paper first explores the market drivers/challenges associated to reverse innovation, leading to fine-tune the phenomenon by using the disruptive innovation lenses. In a second part, the article relies on international business literature, to characterise intra-MNC bottlenecks and configure enabling managerial practices. The analysis first outlines two types of reverse innovation (associated to different marketing and creative stakes) and then highlights their respective organisational conducive environments and major bottlenecks. Opening the reverse innovation black box and pinpointing its underlying process increases both the analytical power of the concept and the ability of Western MNCs to successfully run such global innovation strategies.

Keywords: reverse innovation; MNCs; multinational companies; foreign subsidiaries; intra MNC knowledge flows.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2020.109820

European Journal of International Management, 2020 Vol.14 No.5, pp.941 - 954

Received: 10 Dec 2017
Accepted: 23 Jun 2018

Published online: 25 Sep 2020 *

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