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Theme: Multilevel Methods (MLM) in International Business Research: Utility and New Insights

Date and Time: May 19, 2021; 4:30pm New York/EST, 8:30pm GMT, 10:30pm Berlin/CET

Registration Deadline: May 18, 2021

Overview: Multilevel methods (MLM) allow for estimation of complex models with nested data structures. Nested data structures are very prevalent in IB research where firms are nested within regions, home and host countries, industries etc. Moreover, the classical MNC literature involves nesting of subsidiaries within the MNC. Furthermore, firm-time (within firm) data is also an example of nesting which IB scholars often do not acknowledge. Indeed, IB phenomena are often influenced by contexts that are not hierarchically nested, that is contexts that are interwoven in a more complex way. For instance, while subsidiaries are nested within multinational corporations (MNCs), they are also nested within national contexts (that is the host country context). Similarly, multinationals are cross-nested within both home and host countries as well as industries while countries are not nested within industries or vice versa. Theoretically, as well as empirically, it is important to distinguish between heterogeneity at the firm, industry, and country level as a function of cross-nested embeddedness. Failure to account for the true nesting structure of the data may lead to 1) biased estimates of variance components; 2) inflated standard errors of main effects leading to higher risk of type II error for lower level (e.g., firm) variables; and 3) risk of type I error for higher level (e.g., industry and country) variables.

The panel of experts on MLM will discuss issues of how, when, and why MLM can be of utility to IB research. The panel will also highlight new developments in MLM research that may be of particular interest to IB scholars and will feature the Editor of Organizational Research Methods, who will provide insights on the forthcoming Feature Topic entitled “Multilevel Methods and Statistics: The Next Frontier issue on MLM in ORM”. Webinar participants will be granted limited free access to the articles of this special issue!

Key Topics:

  1. What is Multilevel Method and why should IB scholars care?
  2. What are some pitfalls of Multilevel research and how to overcome them
  3. Conceptualization and reporting of Multilevel research
  4. The modeling of firm-time (within firm) data in IB research and how to interpret results
  5. How to account for cross-level interactions
  6. Examples of application of Multilevel methods in IB
  7. Introduction to ORM forthcoming Feature Topic on MLM and statistics: The next frontier
  8. Showcase of papers from ORM Feature Topic on dynamic structural equation modeling and multiple-membership survival analysis


  • Mark Peterson, Florida Atlantic University
  • Sabina Nielsen, University of Sydney
  • Paul Bliese, University of South Carolina
  • Le (Betty) Zhou, University of Minnesota
  • Mike Smet, KU-Leuven, Belgium


  • Bo Nielsen, University of Sydney