This paper addresses the theme of real options decision-making in multinational corporations (MNCs) and stresses the role of real options attention and managerial learning in company performance. Using a sample of 278 large MNCs with categorised degrees of managerial real options awareness, we examine the risk implications of switching options in multinational operations, and explore the extent to which the real options logic can be classified as “best practice” in decision-making and risk management. Our results reveal that MNCs which have high managerial awareness about their real options are able to reduce their downside risk through multinationality, organisational slack and other firm characteristics. This finding does not apply fully to MNCs without evidence of such an awareness. Also, although real options awareness does not systematically guarantee lower downside risk from operations, supplementary results indicate that MNCs with evidence of significant investment in the acquisition of real options knowledge tend to outperform competitors that are unaware of their real options. This suggests that if real options are explored and exploited appropriately, real options decision-making can result into superior performance for MNCs in the long-term.
- multinational decision-making
- real options
- real options awareness
- downside risk