Problem Formulation in MNCs

Renate Kratochvil, Phillip C. Nell

Publication: Contribution to conferenceConference paper


“The formulation of the problem is often more essential than its solution …” (Einstein & Infeld, 1961) In this paper we analyze the micro foundations of strategic problem formulation in multinational corporations (MNCs). In order to develop a strategy to find solutions for solving complex, ill-structured, and wicked problems successfully, it is crucial to first identify what problem should be tackled. Thus, problem formulation is a key activity to successfully solve problems, and, can be seen as an opportunity to add value to the wider organization. Previous studies refer to organizational problem formulation from different aspects, but there is still no research on formulating problems in the context of international corporations. To address this question, we unraveled 145 studies on organizational problem formulation using the method of the systematic literature review. Results were qualitatively and quantitatively synthesized. We expect this study to (1) serve as a basis for analyzing theoretical contributions and streams of thinking that have contributed to our understanding of organizational problem formulation, (2) give insights on the micro-foundations of problem formulation in an international context, (3) induce particularities of problem formulation in international corporations, and (4) identify gaps for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 211903 Science of management
  • 506009 Organisation theory
  • 502044 Business management

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