What is the eclectic paradigm? Definition and examples

The eclectic paradigm is a business approach that analyses whether a company should make a foreign direct investment. It is a holistic economic model to determine whether a business should expand abroad through foreign direct investment. The eclectic paradigm is a theory that provides a three-tiered framework for companies to follow. They follow the frameworks when deciding whether they should invest abroad.

The eclectic paradigm theory posits three kinds of advantages for a multinational company:

1. Ownership.

2. Location.

3. Internalization.



Hence, we also refer to it as the OLI paradigm, OLI framework, or OLI model. OLI stands for Ownership, Location, and Internalization.

Business-to-You says the following about the eclectic paradigm:

“According to this paradigm, a company needs all three advantages in order to be able to successfully engage in FDI.”

“If one or more of these advantages are not present, the focal company might want to use a different entry-mode strategy.”

Eclectic Paradigm
The Free Dictionary by FARLEX has the following definition of eclectic paradigm: “A theory that posits three types of advantages benefiting a multinational corporation: ownership-specific, location-specific, and market internalization advantages.”

Three eclectic paradigm advantages

Ownership advantages

These are all about the competitive advantages of the company that seeks to engage in foreign direct investment (FDI).

A competitive advantage is an edge over competitors, i.e., something its rivals don’t have. Specifically, an edge regarding the provision of a product or service.



For example, Mercedes’ competitive advantage is reliability. In other words, Mercedes’ vehicles break down less often than other vehicles.

The greater a company’s competitive advantage, the more likely it is to engage in FDI.

Location advantages

The term ‘location advantages’ refers to the alternative countries for undertaking the value-adding activities of the multinational company.

Regarding location advantages, Wikipedia says:

“The more the immobile, natural or created resources, which firms need to use jointly with their own competitive advantages, favor a presence in a foreign location, the more firms will choose to augment or exploit their specific advantages by engaging in FDI.”



Internalization advantages

Is it more advantageous for the company to do things internally or have an external entity do them?

Perhaps outsourcing is a good option if the foreign companies, for example, do a better job. Maybe they can also do it more cheaply and have better local market knowledge.

Put simply; would it be better to make the product in that foreign country or to outsource the work?

To outsource means to farm out work to a third party rather than doing it in-house.