We reflect on the background and evolution of the internationalization motives over the last few decades, and provide suggestions for how to use the motives for future analyses. We also reflect on the contributions to the debate of the accompanying articles of the forum.There continue to be new developments in the way in which firms organize themselves as MNEs and this implies that the ‘classic’ motives originally introduced by Dunning in 1993 need to be revisited. Dunning’s motives and arguments were deductive and atheoretical, and were intended to be used as a toolkit, used in conjunction with other theories and frameworks. They are not an alternative to a classification of possible MNE strategies.
This paper provides a deeper and nuanced understanding on internationalization motives for future research to build on.