Multinational and transnational organisations: The role of globalizing actors

MNCs are important players in the diffusion of management ideas, knowledge and norms across borders because of pressures to standardize practices as much as possible, while adapting to local differences as much as necessary. The international management literature increasingly highlights the important role of individuals within those MNCs in cross-border norm diffusion, but we still lack an integrated approach to these ‘globalizing actors’ and their activities. We discuss international management research related to knowledge transfer in MNCs, international assignments and global elites and consider its contributions and limitations in terms of aiding our understanding of globalizing actors in relation to management ideas. Arguing that this work holds important insights, but says little about how actors mobilize their skills and resources to navigate complex environments, we draw on a more diverse range of research to bring context and person back into focus.