Title: Managing product innovation diffusion within multinational corporations: leveraging global scale and local responsiveness

Authors: Max De Bollivier; John M. Luiz

Addresses: Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa ' University of Sussex Business School, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9SL, UK; Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Abstract: How multinational corporations (MNCs) manage knowledge and engage in product innovation diffusion is a central theme of study within international management, and it raises the tension of balancing global integration and local responsiveness, which is the subject of this paper. It uses a qualitative research methodology based on a case study of a MNC from the pharmaceutical industry. We demonstrate the value of a funnel and network structure for diffusion which capitalises upon the global resources and scale within the MNC but which leverages resources within subsidiaries for both reverse and horizontal diffusion. We unpack an innovation diffusion funnel framework and demonstrate how a MNC can effectively utilise the extensive inputs within its ecosystem and transform them into product innovation through a production function process. We contribute by providing an understanding of what is required within the 'transformation box' with its associated implications for how innovation is managed through both formal and informal mechanisms.

Keywords: product innovation diffusion; multinational corporations; managerial control mechanisms; innovation transformation functions.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2021.113230

European Journal of International Management, 2021 Vol.15 No.2/3, pp.431 - 456

Received: 20 Aug 2018
Accepted: 30 Nov 2018

Published online: 25 Feb 2021 *

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