This paper surveys the current state of the art concerning the management and economic impact of geographically decentralized research and development (R&D) in multinational companies (MNCs). This line of research has recently begun to attract renewed interest, in reflection of not only critical new trends regarding the nature and conditions of technological change but also significant developments in the realm of economic and managerial theory.
The aim of this paper is, first, to outline the empirical and theoretical background and perspective of this new research agenda. Second, it gives a summary and overview of prior research in the area. Third, it outlines the content and structure of a number of recent studies. Based on these studies the paper identifies a number of trends and implications in terms of policy issues and critical areas for future research.