Workshop Series: Alexander Eapen

23 March, 2012 - 10:30 to 12:15
Terrace Room, Room 613 Level 6 ICTE, Sir Llew Edwards Building #14


Transaction cost theory (TCE) scholars argue that MNEs exist due to failure of markets, a main stimulus of which is opportunism. On the contrary, proponents of the knowledge based view (KBV) claim that the opportunism assumption is redundant; the existence of the MNE can be explained without recourse to opportunism. This debate still persists (e.g., Fransson, Hakanson, & Liesch, 2011), but a key feature is that despite competing causal mechanisms, predictions of TCE and KBV are identical. We see this lack of predictive uniqueness as the prime bottleneck in resolving the question of whether opportunism matters, and contribute to the debate in two ways: (1) conceptually, we exploit the contingency logics inherent in KBV and TCE to build distinctive predictions from both theories and (2) empirically, we test the competing logics of both theories, bringing empirical evidence to the debate which has this far been largely on conceptual turf alone. Our results suggest that, subject to certain caveats, opportunism matters.

Authors: Alex Eapen, University of Sydney Business School & Rekha Krishnan, Simon Fraser University

Dr Alexander Eapen

Dr. Alex Eapen earned his doctoral degree from Tilburg University, The Netherlands in June 2007, and is currently a lecturer in International Business at the University of Sydney Business School. He also serves as Director of the Master of International Business (MIB) program.

His research seeks to better understand the impact of multinational enterprises (MNE) on host country firms and economies. The question his research seeks to answer is: what are the conditions that make international expansion of MNEs beneficial to host country firms? This issue has far reaching implications, not only theoretically, but also for practice. To find the right answers, his research has focused on better understanding (1) the spillover process and (2) the entry and evolution of foreign firms in a host country. His research has been published in journals such as Journal of International Business Studies and Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences.

Dr. Eapen has received several international awards for his research. His doctoral thesis was one of the four finalists for the coveted Gunnar Hedlund prize (2007) given by the Stockholm School of Economics for the best dissertation in international business written at universities around the world. He also won the Verity Award for the most outstanding paper published in the Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences in 2009. Furthermore, the Australia and New Zealand International Business Academy found his research worthy of the best paper prize at their annual meetings in 2006 and 2009.