HCBE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of International Business Administration (DIBA)


H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship


Barry Barnes

Committee Member

Ruth Clarke

Committee Member

Thomas Griffin


The objective of this study was to answer the following question: Do organizations that were defined as having successfully adopted the transnational model, as per Bartlett and Ghoshal (1989), and labeled as transnational companies (TNC), perform significantly better than other multinational companies (MNC) when going through radical transformation processes?

This research question was answered through a mixed method research design. The first part used a quantitative research approach and evaluated the financial performance of TNCs selected from the Bartlett and Ghoshal (1989) research, using secondary data sources from 6 TNCs and 20 MNCs. The second part used a qualitative approach based on empirical research to answer the question, ""What is happening now, 25 years later?,"" through in-depth interviews. Qualitative data was analyzed to discuss the contribution of the characteristics of TNCs to the performance of these organizations and their capacity to successfully go through radical transformation processes.

The term, transnational, as a type of MNC that was introduced by Bartlett and Ghoshal (1988) and expanded by Zanfei (2000), served as the theoretical basis for this study. TNCs have differentiated characteristics, such as an integrated network structure, where complex coordination and knowledge-sharing processes are in place; resources and capabilities are distributed among different sites; and information, technology, and resources flow among interdependent units.

This research contributes to bringing the discussion of TNCs back to the forefront of international business strategy research by assessing the applicability of certain elements of the ""transnational solution"" (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 1998) as an evolutionary next step for MNCs that seek long-term sustainable grow. Several directions are suggested for future research, including mapping performance variations over a longer period of time in combination with strategic content analysis; studying the consistency in share price and revenue performance among TNCs as a differentiating factor when compared to other MNCs; and understanding the increasingly predominant role of regions and regional offices in the organizational model of multinationals.

Finally, this research further reinforces the suitability and additional depth brought by the application of mixed method research models to academic research in the field of international business.

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