Purpose - This chapter presents an exploratory study aiming at understanding how the largest multinational enterprises (MNEs) engage small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in their (inclusive) business strategies, either as suppliers, distributors, customers, innovators or as a target of their (Corporate Social Responsibility) CSR policies. Methodology/approach - We explore the implicit or explicit strategies of 100 largest companies in the world towards SMEs as mentioned in their annual and CSR reports. This approach takes in particular stock of the 'narratives' developed by MNEs as an expression of their intended and (perceived) realised strategies. Findings - The analysis of company statements show a country of origin effect in that European firms are clearly amongst the leaders in experimenting with inclusive business strategies that include SMEs. However, their number still remains limited. Sectors like banking and retail have developed the most interesting examples that are also spread over a large number of functions. Originality and value - Although the results are not yet very radical, the developed taxonomy for the different types of approaches in which MNEs take a more or less active position towards SMES provides material for further studies. It can be applied in studying leading (betterpractice) cases in order to help policy makers and business strategists to develop better business models for inclusive growth. Copyright

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doi.org/10.1108/S1745-8862(2013)0000008014, hdl.handle.net/1765/85513
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

van Tulder, R, & Da Rosa, A. (2014). Multinationals and small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): A linkages perspective on inclusive development strategies. doi:10.1108/S1745-8862(2013)0000008014