Journal of International Business Studies

, Volume 38, Issue 7, pp 1055–1068 | Cite as

The role of path dependency and managerial intentionality: a perspective on international business research

  • Thomas Hutzschenreuter
  • Torben Pedersen
  • Henk W Volberda
Introduction

Abstract

Several decades of research in the field of international business have advanced various theories and studies on the internationalization of firms. Our assessment of the literature on internationalization shows that the focus has been primarily on path-dependency and learning-based aspects of internationalization, while managerial intentionality and the possibility of managers making deliberate strategic choices towards further internationalization have not been very prominent in the IB literature. We argue that internationalization paths and processes should be approached as a joint outcome of management intentionality and experience-based learning. In other words, managers are assumed to have the ability and the intention to influence the evolutionary paths of the firm. We derive a future research agenda that calls for the pursuit of this promising and emergent research stream. Moreover, we develop a model integrating managerial intentionality, knowledge/experience and other factors (institutional and selection forces) to explain heterogeneous outcomes of internationalization positions, paths and processes.

Keywords

internationalization managerial intentionality path dependency coevolution 

References

  1. Abrahamson, E. and Rosenkopf, L. (1993) ‘Institutional and competitive bandwagons: using mathematical modeling as a tool to explore innovation diffusion’, Academy of Management Review 18 (3): 487–517.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, P. (1999a) ‘Seven Levers for Guiding the Evolving Enterprise’, in J.H. Clippinger III (ed.) The Biology of Business: Decoding the Natural Laws of Enterprise, Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, pp: 113–152.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, P. (1999b) ‘Complexity theory and organization science’, Organization Science 10 (5): 216–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barkema, H.G. and Drogendijk, R. (2007) ‘Internationalizing in small, incremental steps or in larger steps?’, Journal of International Business Studies 38 (7): 1132–1148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Benito, G.R.G. and Gripsrud, G. (1992) ‘The expansion of foreign direct investments: discrete rational location choices or a cultural learning process?’ Journal of International Business Studies 23 (3): 461–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Belderbos, R. and Zou, J. (2007) ‘On the growth of foreign affiliates: multinational plant networks, joint ventures, and flexibility’, Journal of International Business Studies 38 (7): 1095–1112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Best, H. (1990) The New Competition, Institutions of Industrial Restructuring, Polity Press: Cambridge.Google Scholar
  8. Brown, S.L. and Eisenhardt, K.M. (1998) Competing on the Edge: Strategy as Structured Chaos, Harvard Business School Press: Boston.Google Scholar
  9. Buckley, P.J. and Casson, M.C. (1976) The Future of the Multinational Enterprise, Macmillan: London.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Buckley, P.J., Devinney, T.M. and Louviere, J.J. (2007) ‘Do managers behave the way theory suggests? A choice-theoretic examination of foreign direct investment location decision making’, Journal of International Business Studies 38 (7): 1069–1094.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Burns, T. and Stalker, G. (1961) The Management of Innovation, Tavistock: London.Google Scholar
  12. Chang, S.J. (1995) ‘International expansion strategy of Japanese firms: capability building through sequential entry’, Academy of Management Journal 38 (2): 383–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Child, J. (1972) ‘Organization structure, environment and performance: the role of strategic choice’, Sociology 6 (1): 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Child, J. (1997) ‘Strategic choice in the analysis of action, structure, organisations and environment: retrospect and prospect’, Organization Studies 18 (1): 43–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cohen, W.M. and Levinthal, D.A. (1990) ‘Absorptive capacity: a new perspective on learning and innovation’, Administrative Science Quarterly 35 (1): 128–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cohen, W.M. and Levinthal, D.A. (1994) ‘Fortune favors the prepared firm’, Management Science 40 (2): 227–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Craig, T. (1996) ‘The Japanese beer wars: initiating and responding to hypercompetition in new product development’, Organization Science 7 (3): 302–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cyert, R. and March, J. (1963) A Behavioral Theory of the Firm, Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ.Google Scholar
  19. DiMaggio, P. and Powell, W. (1983) ‘The iron cage revisited: institutional, isomorphism, and collective rationality in organization fields’, American Sociological Review 48 (2): 147–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dunning, J.H. (1988) ‘The eclectic paradigm of international production: a restatement and some possible extensions’, Journal of International Business Studies 19 (1): 1–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Emery, F.E. (1969) ‘Socio-technical Systems’, in F.E. Emery (ed.) Systems Thinking, Penguin Books: London, pp: 281–296.Google Scholar
  22. Fan, T. and Phan, P. (2007) ‘International new ventures: revisiting the influences behind the “born-global” firm’, Journal of International Business Studies 38 (7): 1113–1131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Festinger, L. (1954) ‘A theory of social comparison processes’, Human Relations 7 (2): 117–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fiol, C.M. and Lyles, M.A. (1985) ‘Organizational learning’, Academy of Management Review 10 (4): 803–813.Google Scholar
  25. Flier, B., Van den Bosch, F.A.J. and Volberda, H.W. (2003) ‘Co-evolution in the strategic renewal behaviour of British, Dutch and French financial established organizations: interaction of environmental selection, institutional effects and managerial intentionality’, Journal of Management Studies 40 (8): 2163–2187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Flores, R.G. and Aguilera, R.V. (2007) ‘Globalization and location choice: an analysis of US multinational firms in 1980 and 2000’, Journal of International Business Studies 38 (7): 1187–1210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Forsgren, M. and Johanson, J. (1992) ‘Managing in international multi-centre firms’, in M. Forsgren and J. Johanson (eds.) Managing Networks in International Business, Gordon and Breach: Philadelphia, pp: 19–31.Google Scholar
  28. Goerzen, R. and Makino, S. (2007) ‘Multinational corporation internationalization in the service sector: a study of Japanese trading companies’, Journal of International Business Studies 38 (7): 1149–1169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Greenwood, R. and Hinings, C.R. (1996) ‘Understanding radical organizational change: bringing together the old and the new institutionalism’, Academy of Management Review 21 (4): 1022–1054.Google Scholar
  30. Greve, H. (2003) Organizational Learning from Performance Feedback: A Behavioural Perspective on Innovation and Change, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hannan, M.T. and Freeman, J.H. (1977) ‘The population ecology of organizations’, American Journal of Sociology 82 (5): 929–963.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hannan, M.T. and Freeman, J.H. (1984) ‘Structural inertia and organizational change’, American Sociological Review 49 (2): 149–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hedberg, B. (1981) ‘How Organizations Learn and Unlearn’, in N. Nystrom and W. Starbuck (eds.) Handbook of Organizational Design, Oxford University Press: Oxford, pp: 3–27.Google Scholar
  34. Henisz, W.J. and Delios, A. (2001) ‘Uncertainty, imitation, and plant location: Japanese multinational corporations, 1990–1996’, Administrative Science Quarterly 46 (3): 443–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hennart, J.-F. (1982) A Theory of Multinational Enterprise, University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor, MI.Google Scholar
  36. Hennart, J.-F. (2007) ‘The theoretical rationale for a multinationality-performance relationship’, Management International Review 47 (3): 423–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Husted, B.W. and Allen, D.B. (2006) ‘Corporate social responsibility in the multinational enterprise: strategic and institutional approaches’, Journal of International Business Studies 37 (6): 838–849.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hutzschenreuter, T. and Voll, J. (2008) ‘Performance effects of “added cultural distance” in the path of international expansion: the case of German multinational enterprises’, Journal of International Business Studies 39 (1), doi:10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8400312.Google Scholar
  39. Hymer, S. (1960) ‘The international operations of national firms: a study of direct investment’, PhD Dissertation, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; published by MIT Press under same title in 1976.Google Scholar
  40. Hymer, S. (1968) ‘La grande firme internationale’, Revue Economique 14 (b): 949–973.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Johanson, J. and Vahlne, J.-E. (1977) ‘The internationalization process of the firm: a model of knowledge development and increasing foreign market commitments’, Journal of International Business Studies 8 (1): 23–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kogut, B. and Zander, U. (1993) ‘Knowledge of the firm and the evolutionary theory of the multinational corporation’, Journal of International Business Studies 24 (4): 625–645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kogut, B. and Zander, U. (2003) ‘A memoir and reflection: knowledge and an evolutionary theory of the multinational firm 10 years later’, Journal of International Business Studies 34 (6): 505–515.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Learned, E.P., Christensen, C.R., Andrews, K.R. and Guth, W.D. (1969) Business Policy: Text and Cases, Richard Irwin: Homewood, IL.Google Scholar
  45. Lewin, A.Y. and Massini, S. (2004) ‘Knowledge creation and organizational capabilities of innovating and imitating firms’, in H. Tsoukas and N. Mylonopoulus (eds.) Organizations as Knowledge Systems, Palgrave: New York, pp: 209–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lewin, A.Y. and Volberda, H.W. (1999) ‘Prolegomena on co-evolution: a framework for research on strategy and new organizational forms’, Organization Science 10 (5): 519–534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lewin, K., Dembo, T., Festinger, L. and Sears, P.S. (1944) ‘Level of aspiration’, in J. McV. Hunt (ed.) Personality and the Behaviour Disorders, The Ronald Press Company: New York, pp: 333–377.Google Scholar
  48. Luo, A. (2006) ‘Political behaviour, social responsibility, and perceived corruption: a structuration perspective’, Journal of International Business Studies 37 (6): 747–766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Meyer, J.W. and Rowan, B. (1977) ‘Institutionalized organizations: formal structure as myth and ceremony’, American Journal of Sociology 83 (2): 340–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Miles, R.E. and Snow, C. (1978) Organizational Strategy, Structure, and Process, McGraw-Hill: New York.Google Scholar
  51. Miles, R.E. and Snow, C. (1994) Fit, Failure, and the Hall of Fame: How Companies Succeed or Fail, Free Press: New York.Google Scholar
  52. Miller, D. and Chen, M. (1994) ‘Sources and consequences of competitive inertia: a study of the US airline industry’, Administrative Science Quarterly 39 (1): 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Nadolska, A. and Barkema, H.G. (2007) ‘Learning to internationalise: the pace and success of foreign acquisitions’, Journal of International Business Studies 38 (7): 1170–1186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Nelson, R.R. and Winter, S.G. (1982) An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change, Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  55. Noyons, E.C.M. (1999) Bibliometric Mapping as a Science Policy and Research Management Tool, DSWO Press: Leiden.Google Scholar
  56. Pascale, R.T. (1990) Managing on the Edge, Penguin Books: London.Google Scholar
  57. Pedersen, T., Petersen, B. and Sharma, D. (2003) ‘Knowledge transfer performance of multinational companies’, Management International Review 43 (3): 69–90.Google Scholar
  58. Penrose, E. (1959) The Theory of the Growth of the Firm, Basil Blackwell: London.Google Scholar
  59. Porter, M.E. (1986) ‘Changing patterns of international competition’, California Management Review 28 (2): 9–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Porter, M.E. and Van der Linde, C. (1995) ‘Toward a new conception of the environment–competitiveness relationship’, Journal of Economic Perspectives 9 (4): 97–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Rodriguez, P., Siegel, D.S., Hillman, A. and Eden, L. (2006) ‘Three lenses on the multinational enterprise: politics, corruption, and corporate social responsibility’, Journal of International Business Studies 37 (6): 733–746.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Rugman, A.M. and Verbeke, A. (2004) ‘A perspective on regional and global strategies of multinational enterprises’, Journal of International Business Studies 35 (1): 3–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Schiff, M. and Lewin, A.Y. (1970) ‘The impact of people on budgets’, Accounting Review 45 (2): 259–268.Google Scholar
  64. Song, J.Y. (2002) ‘Firm capability and technology ladders: sequential foreign direct investments of Japanese electronics firms in East Asia’, Strategic Management Journal 23 (3): 191–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Teece, D.J., Pisano, G. and Shuen, A. (1997) ‘Dynamic capabilities and strategic management’, Strategic Management Journal 18 (7): 509–533.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Thompson, J.D. (1967) Organizations in Action: Social Science Bases of Administrative Theory, McGraw-Hill: New York.Google Scholar
  67. Tushman, M.L. and O'Reilly, C.A. (1996) ‘The ambidextrous organization’, California Management Review 38 (4): 8–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Van Den Bosch, F.A.J., Van Wijk, R.A. and Volberda, H.W. (2003) ‘Absorptive Capacity: Antecedents, Models, and Outcomes’, in M. Easterby-Smith and M. Lyles (eds.) Blackwell Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management, Blackwell: Oxford, pp: 278–301.Google Scholar
  69. Van Den Bosch, F.A.J., Volberda, H.W. and De Boer, M. (1999) ‘Coevolution of firm absorptive capacity and knowledge environment: organization forms and combinative capabilities’, Organization Science 10 (5): 551–568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Vermeulen, F. and Barkema, H.G. (2002) ‘Pace, rhythm, and scope: process dependence in building a profitable multinational corporation’, Strategic Management Journal 23 (7): 637–653.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Volberda, H.W. (1998) Building The Flexible Firm: How To Remain Competitive, Oxford University Press: Oxford.Google Scholar
  72. Volberda, H.W. (2004) ‘Mastering strategic renewal: mobilizing change in large multiunit firms’, Netherlands Journal of Social Sciences 40 (3): 212–246.Google Scholar
  73. Volberda, H.W. (2005) ‘Rethinking the Strategy Process: A Co-evolutionary Approach’, in S.W. Floyd, J. Roos, C.D. Jacobs and F.W. Kellermans (eds.) Innovating Strategy Process, Blackwell: Oxford, pp: 81–87.Google Scholar
  74. Volberda, H.W. and Baden-Fuller, Ch. (2003) ‘Strategic Renewal Processes in Multi-unit Firms: Generic Journeys of Change’, in B. Chakravarthy, G. Mueller-Stewens, P. Lorange and C. Lechner (eds.) Strategy Process: Shaping the Contours of the Field, Blackwell: Oxford, pp: 208–232.Google Scholar
  75. Volberda, H.W. and van den Bosch, F.A.J. (2004) ‘Rethinking the Dutch innovation agenda: management and organization matter most’, Innovation Lecture, Ministry of Economic Affairs, The Netherlands, ERS-2004-009-STR.Google Scholar
  76. Volberda, H.W. and Lewin, A.Y. (2003) ‘Co-evolutionary dynamics within and between firms: from evolution to co-evolution’, Journal of Management Studies 40 (8): 2111–2136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Volberda, H.W., Baden-Fuller, Ch. and van den Bosch, F.A.J. (2001) ‘Mastering strategic renewal: mobilizing renewal journeys in multi-unit firms’, Long Range Planning 34 (2): 159–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Wagner, H. (2004) ‘Internationalization speed and cost efficiency: evidence from Germany’, International Business Review 13 (4): 447–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Wernerfelt, B. (1984) ‘A resource-based view of the firm’, Strategic Management Journal 5 (2): 171–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Witt, M. and Lewin, A.Y. (2007) ‘Outward foreign direct investment as escape response to home country institutional constraints’, Journal of International Business Studies 38 (4): 579–594.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Academy of International Business 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Hutzschenreuter
    • 1
  • Torben Pedersen
    • 2
  • Henk W Volberda
    • 3
  1. 1.WHU Otto Beisheim School of ManagementVallenderGermany
  2. 2.Copenhagen Business SchoolDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Strategic Management & Business EnvironmentRSM Erasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations