Journal of International Business Studies

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 108–131 | Cite as

International attention and multinational enterprise performance

  • Cyril BouquetEmail author
  • Allen Morrison
  • Julian Birkinshaw


This study examines the performance consequences of international attention, defined as the extent to which headquarters executives in the multinational enterprise (MNE) invest time and effort in activities, communications, and discussions aimed at improving their understanding of the global marketplace. Using detailed questionnaire and archival data on 135 MNEs, our analysis revealed three significant findings. First, international attention can be operationalized as a meta-construct that consists of three interrelated and reinforcing dimensions. Second, international attention has a curvilinear (inverted U-shape) relationship with MNE performance. Third, the performance benefits of international attention increase with three categories of moderating factors: the international assignment experience of top executives, the independence of value-adding activities across country locations, and the degree of industry dynamism.


cognition attention management internationalization executive skills international experience multinational performance 



We thank Anne-Wil Harzing, the Departmental Editor, and three anonymous JIBS reviewers, for their help and guidance as we revised our paper. The work presented here extends the PhD dissertation of the first author (2004 Richard N. Farmer Award for best PhD dissertation at the Academy of International Business). Support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Grant #410–2005–2079) is greatly appreciated. We are also thankful to Majid Abdi for his valuable assistance with data collection.


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Copyright information

© Academy of International Business 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cyril Bouquet
    • 1
    Email author
  • Allen Morrison
    • 2
  • Julian Birkinshaw
    • 3
  1. 1.IMDLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.INSEADSingapore
  3. 3.London Business SchoolLondonUK

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