Legitimizing, leveraging, and launching: Developing dynamic capabilities in the MNE
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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- Scientific articles 
Original versionJournal of International Business Studies, 2019. 10.1057/s41267-019-00245-5
Multinational enterprises (MNEs) face simultaneous pressures for global integration and local responsiveness. While the extant literature acknowledges that most MNEs are neither entirely geared towards achieving global integration nor local responsiveness, scarce attention is given to how MNEs develop organizational flexibility to address multiple and shifting strategy pressures over time. In this paper, we draw on the dynamic capabilities literature to explore how the MNE develops the capabilities needed to achieve this flexibility. Through a qualitative, longitudinal case study spanning 12 years, we identify three recombination capabilities – legitimizing, leveraging, and launching capabilities – through which the MNE develops organizational flexibility. We find that these recombination capabilities improve the MNEs ability to sense and seize new opportunities and enable the MNE to overcome organizational impediments to achieve flexibility. Our study offers a process perspective that shows how the three capabilities together nourish the MNEs resilience to continuously balance between global integration and local responsiveness. Our findings have managerial implications, illustrating that launching new strategic initiatives may fail if the MNE does not have the capabilities to legitimize the new initiatives and to ensure that existing organizational strengths are properly leveraged to support the new initiatives.