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INTRODUCTION It is true of everything that the first steps ate both the most important and the most difficult To begin with theorization consists of a set of definitions of concepts The basic concepts underlying the eclectic theory of the multinational enterprise MNE1 are currently being criticized by the internalization theorists2 in that the ownership advantage is double counting that is the internalization and location factors are necessary and sufficient to explain the existence and growth of the MNE The controversy seems to require a thorough examination of the concept of the ownership advantage However the examination should extend further afield Our objective in this paper is to assess critically the three basic concepts in the eclectic theory ie the ownership advantage the internalization advantage and the location advantage and to suggest the beginnings of an alternative framework to deal with the MNE and FDI ie foreign direct investment REDUNDANCY OF THE OWNERSHIP ADVANTAGE Some Features of the Electic Theory First of all we must set up the target of our examination The eclectic theory Mark I as advocated by Dunning is as follows Dunning 198179 1 It ie the firm possesses net ownership advantages vis-a-vis firms of other nationalities in serving particular markets These ownership advantages largely take the form of the possession of intangible assets that are at least for a period of time exclusive or specific to the firm possessing them 2 Assuming condition 1 is satisfied it must be more beneficial to the enterprise possessing these advantages to use them itself rather than to sell or lease them to foreign firms that is for it to internalize its advantages through an extension of its own activities rather than externalize them through licensing and similar contracts with independent firms 3 Assuming conditions 1 and 2 are satisfied it must be profitable for the enterprise to utilize these advantages in conjunction with at least some factor inputs including natural resources outside its home
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