Skip to main content

What do we know about the internationalization of Asian business groups? A systematic review and future research agenda

Abstract

This article reviews the existing literature on the internationalization of Asian business groups (BGs) by identifying the published papers on this subject in leading management and international business journals. We classify the literature based on the five most researched themes that describe the relationships among key constructs. These themes are (1) the effects of BG attributes on internationalization; (2) the effects of internationalization on firm performance; (3) the effects of BG attributes on firm performance; (4) the effects of resources and capabilities on internationalization; and (5) the effects of corporate governance on internationalization. Finally, based on what is missing in the literature, we propose an agenda for future research on the internationalization of Asian BGs.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  • Aguilera, R. V., Crespi-Cladera, R., Infantes, P. M., & Pascual-Fuster, B. (2020). Business groups and internationalization: Effective identification and future agenda. Journal of World Business, 55(4), 101050.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Akiyama, T. (2010). CSR and inter-organisational network management of corporate groups: Case study on environmental management of Sekisui House Corporation Group. Asian Business & Management, 9(2), 223–243.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alcantara, L. L., & Mitsuhashi, H. (2012). Make-or-break decisions in choosing foreign direct investment locations. Journal of International Management, 18(4), 335–351.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ararat, M., Colpan, A. M., & Matten, D. (2018). Business groups and corporate responsibility for the public good. Journal of Business Ethics, 153(4), 911–929.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ayyagari, M., Dau, L. A., & Spencer, J. (2015). Strategic responses to FDI in emerging markets: Are core members more responsive than peripheral members of business groups? Academy of Management Journal, 58(6), 1869–1894.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Barney, J. B. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17(1), 99–120.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Belderbos, R. A., & Heijltjes, M. L. G. (2005). The determinants of expatriate staffing by Japanese multinationals in Asia: Control, learning and vertical business groups. Journal of International Business Studies, 36(3), 341–354.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Carney, M. (2014). Business groups in Asia: an institutional perspective. In M. A. Witt & G. Redding (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of Asian business systems. Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Carney, M., Gedajlovic, E. R., Heugens, P. P. M. A. R., Van Essen, M., & Van Oosterhout, J. (2011). Business group affiliation, performance, context, and strategy: A meta-analysis. Academy of Management Journal, 54(3), 437–460.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Castaldi, S., Gubbi, S. R., Kuns, V. E., & Beugelsdijk, S. (2019). Business group affiliation and foreign subsidiary performance. Global Strategy Journal, 9(4), 595–617.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chittoor, R., Aulakh, P. S., & Ray, S. (2015a). Accumulative and assimilative learning, institutional infrastructure, and innovation orientation of developing economy firms. Global Strategy Journal, 5(2), 133–153.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chittoor, R., Aulakh, P. S., & Ray, S. (2015b). What drives overseas acquisitions by Indian firms? A behavioral risk-taking perspective. Management International Review, 55(2), 255–275.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chittoor, R., Aulakh, P. S., & Ray, S. (2019). Microfoundations of firm internationalization: The owner CEO effect. Global Strategy Journal, 9(1), 42–65.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Choi, P. P., & Ning, X. D. (2013). Extension and integrity of business groups: Evidence from China. Asian Business & Management, 12(2), 253–280.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Choie, P. P. (2016). Evolution of Samsung group and its central office: Imperfect market and capacity-building. Asian Business & Management, 15(5), 370–398.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chung, C. Y., Cho, S. J., Ryu, D., & Ryu, D. (2019). Institutional blockholders and corporate social responsibility. Asian Business & Management, 18(3), 143–186.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chung, H. M. (2014). The role of family management and ownership on semi-globalization pattern of globalization: The case of family business groups. International Business Review, 23(1), 260–271.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Colli, A., & Colpan, A. M. (2016). Business groups and corporate governance: Review, synthesis, and extension. Corporate Governance: an International Review, 24(3), 274–302.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Colli, A., & Vasta, M. (2015). Large and entangled: Italian business groups in the long run. Business History, 57(1), 64–95.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Colpan, A. M. (2006). Dynamic effects of product diversity, international scope and keiretsu membership on the performance of Japan’s textile firms in the 1990s. Asian Business & Management, 5(3), 419–445.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Colpan, A. M., & Cuervo-Cazurra, A. (2019). Business Groups. In T. da Silva Lopes, C. Lubinski, & H. J. S. Tworek (Eds.), The Routledge companion to the makers of global business. Taylor & Francis Group: Milton.

    Google Scholar 

  • Colpan, A. M., & Hikino, T. (2010). Foundations of business groups: towards an integrated framework. In A. M. Colpan, T. Hikino, & J. R. Lincoln (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of business groups. Oxford University Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Colpan, A. M., & Hikino, T. (2018). Introduction: business groups re-examined. In A. M. Colpan & T. Hikino (Eds.), Business groups in the West: Origins, evolution, and resilience. Oxford University Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Cuervo-Cazurra, A. (2006). Business groups and their types. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 23(4), 419–437.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cyert, R. M., & March, J. G. (1963). A Behavioral theory of the firm. Prentice-Hall.

    Google Scholar 

  • De Beule, F., & Sels, A. (2016). Do innovative emerging market cross-border acquirers create more shareholder value? Evidence from India. International Business Review, 25(2), 604–617.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • DiMaggio, P. J., & Powell, W. W. (1983). The iron cage revisited: Institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields. American Sociological Review, 48(2), 147–160.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dunning, J. H. (1977). Trade, location of economic activity and the MNE: a search for an eclectic approach. In B. Ohlin, P. O. Hesselborn, & P. M. Wijkman (Eds.), The International Allocation of Economic Activity. Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Elango, B., Dhandapani, K., & Giachetti, C. (2019). Impact of institutional reforms and industry structural factors on market returns of emerging market rivals during acquisitions by foreign firms. International Business Review, 28(5), 101493.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Elango, B., & Pattnaik, C. (2007). Building capabilities for international operations through networks: A study of Indian firms. Journal of International Business Studies, 38(4), 541–555.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fama, E. F., & Jensen, M. C. (1983). Separation of ownership and control. Journal of Law and Economics, 26(2), 301–325.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Filatotchev, I., & Wright, M. (2011). Agency perspectives on corporate governance of multinational enterprises. Journal of Management Studies, 48(2), 471–486.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Froese, F. J., & Goeritz, L. E. (2007). Integration management of Western acquisitions in Japan. Asian Business & Management, 6(1), 95–114.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Froese, F. J., Shen, J., Sekiguchi, T., & Davies, S. (2020). Liability of Asianness? Global talent management challenges of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean multinationals. Human Resource Management Review, 30(4), 100776.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Garg, M., & Delios, A. (2007). Survival of the foreign subsidiaries of TMNCs: The influence of business group affiliation. Journal of International Management, 13(3), 278–295.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gaur, A., & Delios, A. (2015). International diversification of emerging market firms: The role of ownership structure and group affiliation. Management International Review, 55(2), 235–253.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gaur, A. S., Kumar, V., & Singh, D. (2014). Institutions, resources, and internationalization of emerging economy firms. Journal of World Business, 49(1), 12–20.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gaur, A. S., Pattnaik, C., Singh, D., & Lee, J. Y. (2019). Internalization advantage and subsidiary performance: The role of business group affiliation and host country characteristics. Journal of International Business Studies, 50(8), 1253–1282.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Granovetter, M. (1995). Coase revisited: Business groups in the modern economy. Industrial and Corporate Change, 4(1), 93–130.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Granovetter, M. (2005). Business Groups and Social Organization. In N. J. Smelser & R. Swedburg (Eds.), Handbook of economic sociology. Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gubbi, S. R., & Elango, B. (2016). Resource deepening vs. resource extension: Impact on asset-seeking acquisition performance. Management International Review, 56(3), 353–384.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Guillén, M. F. (2000). Business groups in emerging economies: A resource-based view. Academy of Management Journal, 43(3), 362–380.

    Google Scholar 

  • Guillén, M. F. (2002). Structural inertia, imitation, and foreign expansion: South Korean firms and business groups in China, 1987–1995. Academy of Management Journal, 45(3), 509–525.

    Google Scholar 

  • Guillén, M. F. (2003). Experience, imitation, and the sequence of foreign entry: Wholly owned and joint-venture manufacturing by South Korean firms and business groups in China, 1987–1995. Journal of International Business Studies, 34(2), 185–198.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • He, X. M., Chakrabarty, S., & Eden, L. (2016). The global emergence of Chinese multinationals: A resource-based view of ownership and performance. Asian Business & Management, 15(1), 1–31.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Holmes, R. M., Hoskisson, R. E., Kim, H., Wan, W. P., & Holcomb, T. R. (2018). International strategy and business groups: A review and future research agenda. Journal of World Business, 53(2), 134–150.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hoskisson, R. E., Kim, H., White, R. E., & Tihanyi, L. (2004). A framework for understanding international diversification by business groups from emerging economies. In: A. Hitt, Michael, L. C. Joseph, L. C. Cheng (Eds.), Advances in international management. Theories of the multinational enterprise: Diversity, complexity and relevance (Vol. 16) Emerald.

  • Iguchi, C. (2012). Globalisation of R&D by TNC subsidiaries: The case of South-East Asian countries. Asian Business & Management, 11(1), 79–100.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jean, R. J. B., Tan, D., & Sinkovics, R. R. (2011). Ethnic ties, location choice, and firm performance in foreign direct investment: A study of Taiwanese business groups FDI in China. International Business Review, 20(6), 627–635.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jun, I., Sheldon, P., & Rhee, J. (2010). Business groups and regulatory institutions: Korea’s chaebols, cross-company shareholding and the East Asian crisis. Asian Business & Management, 9(4), 499–523.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Khanna, T., & Yafeh, Y. (2007). Business groups in emerging markets: Paragons or parasites? Journal of Economic Literature, 45(2), 331–372.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kim, H., Hoskisson, R. E., & Wan, W. P. (2004). Power dependence, diversification strategy, and performance in keiretsu member firms. Strategic Management Journal, 25(7), 613–636.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kim, H., Kim, H., & Hoskisson, R. E. (2010). Does market-oriented institutional change in an emerging economy make business-group-affiliated multinationals perform better? An institution-based view. Journal of International Business Studies, 41(7), 1141–1160.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kim, B., & Lee, Y. (2001). Global capacity expansion strategies: Lessons learned from two Korean carmakers. Long Range Planning, 34(3), 309–333.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kim, T. (2014). Defying isomorphism in foreign-location choice: The role of business group-level international experience in Korean MNCs. Asian Business & Management, 13(1), 43–63.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kosaka, G., Nakagawa, K., Manabe, S., & Kobayashi, M. (2020). The vertical keiretsu advantage in the era of Westernization in the Japanese automobile industry: Investigation from transaction cost economics and a resource-based view. Asian Business & Management, 19(1), 36–61.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kumar, V., Gaur, A. S., & Pattnaik, C. (2012). Product diversification and international expansion of business groups Evidence from India. Management International Review, 52(2), 175–192.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kumar, V., Singh, D., Purkayastha, A., Popli, M., & Gaur, A. (2020). Springboard internationalization by emerging market firms: Speed of first cross-border acquisition. Journal of International Business Studies, 51(2), 172–193.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lamin, A. (2013). Business groups as information resource: An investigation of business group affiliation in the Indian software services industry. Academy of Management Journal, 56(5), 1487–1509.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Landi, J. A. (2011). Japanese MNEs and host countries’ legal institutions. Asian Business & Management, 10(1), 87–112.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lee, J. Y., & MacMillan, I. C. (2008). Managerial knowledge-sharing in chaebols and its impact on the performance of their foreign subsidiaries. International Business Review, 17(5), 533–545.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lee, J. Y., MacMillan, I. C., & Choe, S. (2010). Technological knowledge transfer within chaebols after the 1997–98 crisis. Long Range Planning, 43(5–6), 585–610.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lee, J. Y., Park, Y. R., Ghauri, P. N., & Park, B. I. (2014). Innovative knowledge transfer patterns of group-affiliated companies: The effects on the performance of foreign subsidiaries. Journal of International Management, 20(2), 107–123.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lee, J. Y., Yang, Y. S., & Park, B. I. (2020). Interplay between dual dimensions of knowledge sharing within globalized chaebols: The moderating effects of organization size and global environmental munificence. International Business Review, 29(6), 101637.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lee, K., & He, X. Y. (2009). The capability of the Samsung group in project execution and vertical integration: Created in Korea, replicated in China. Asian Business & Management, 8(3), 277–299.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Li, P. P., Sekiguchi, T., & Zhou, K. (2016). The emerging research on indigenous management in Asia. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 33(3), 583–594.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Li, M. H., Cui, L., & Lu, J. (2017). Marketized state ownership and foreign expansion of emerging market multinationals: Leveraging institutional competitive advantages. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 34(1), 19–46.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Liao, T. J. (2015). Local clusters of SOEs, POEs, and FIEs, international experience, and the performance of foreign firms operating in emerging economies. International Business Review, 24(1), 66–76.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lu, J. Y., & Ma, X. F. (2008). The contingent value of local partners’ business group affiliations. Academy of Management Journal, 51(2), 295–314.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Luo, X. W., Chung, C. N., & Sobczak, M. (2009). How do corporate governance model differences affect foreign direct investment in emerging economies? Journal of International Business Studies, 40(3), 444–467.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ma, X. F., Yiu, D. W., & Zhou, N. (2014). Facing global economic crisis: Foreign sales, ownership groups, and corporate value. Journal of World Business, 49(1), 87–100.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mathews, J. A. (2006). Dragon multinationals: New players in 21st century globalization. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 23(1), 5–27.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nakata, Y. F., & Miyazaki, S. (2007). Has lifetime employment become extinct in Japanese enterprise? An empirical analysis of employment adjustment practices in Japanese companies. Asian Business & Management, 6(1), S33–S56.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Park, Y. R., Park, Y. S., & Lee, J. Y. (2006). What they learned from the crash: A comparison of Korean firms’ FDI before and after the 1997 financial crisis. Management International Review, 46(1), 109–130.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Popli, M., & Sinha, A. K. (2014). Determinants of early movers in cross-border merger and acquisition wave in an emerging market: A study of Indian firms. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 31(4), 1075–1099.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Purkayastha, S., Kumar, V., & Lu, J. W. (2017). Business group heterogeneity and the internationalization-performance relationship: Evidence from Indian business groups. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 34(2), 247–279.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Purkayastha, S., Manolova, T. S., & Edelman, L. F. (2018). Business group effects on the R&D intensity-internationalization relationship: Empirical evidence from India. Journal of World Business, 53(2), 104–117.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Santangelo, G. D., & Stucchi, T. (2018). Internationalization through exaptation: The role of domestic geographical dispersion in the internationalization process. Journal of International Business Studies, 49(6), 753–760.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Singh, D. A. (2009). Export performance of emerging market firms. International Business Review, 18(4), 321–330.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Singh, D., & Delios, A. (2017). Corporate governance, board networks and growth in domestic and international markets: Evidence from India. Journal of World Business, 52(5), 615–627.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Suzuki, K., Tanimoto, K., & Kokko, A. (2010). Does foreign investment matter? Effects of foreign investment on the institutionalisation of corporate social responsibility by Japanese firms. Asian Business & Management, 9(3), 379–400.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tan, D. C., & Meyer, K. E. (2010). Business groups’ outward FDI: A managerial resources perspective. Journal of International Management, 16(2), 154–164.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tan, D., & Meyer, K. E. (2019). Context-bridging and context-embedded experience: Growth drivers of emerging economy business groups. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 1–34.

  • University of Texas at Dallas. (2020). The UTD Top 100 Business School Research Rankings. Naveen Jindal School of Management, The University of Texas at Dallas, TX. Retrieved March 26, 2021, from https://jindal.utdallas.edu/the-utd-top-100-business-school-research-rankings/.

  • Wailerdsak, N., & Suehiro, A. (2004). Top executive origins: Comparative study between Japan and Thailand. Asian Business & Management, 3(1), 85–104.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wang, E. Y., & Kafouros, M. (2020). Location still matters! How does geographic configuration influence the performance-enhancing advantages of FDI spillovers? Journal of International Management, 26(3), 100777.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wang, H. M., Huang, H. C., & Bansel, P. (2005). What determined success during the Asian economic crisis?—The importance of experiential knowledge and group affiliation. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 22(1), 89–106.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wilhelm, M. M., & Kohlbacher, F. (2011). Co-opetition and knowledge co-creation in Japanese supplier-networks: The case of Toyota. Asian Business & Management, 10(1), 66–86.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Winters, M. S. (2007). Market access or efficient production: Why did South Korean outward direct investment persist after the crisis? Asian Business & Management, 6(3), 265–284.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yaprak, A., & Karademir, B. (2010). The internationalization of emerging market business groups: An integrated literature review. International Marketing Review, 27(2), 245–262.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yi, J., Wang, C., & Kafouros, M. (2013). The effects of innovative capabilities on exporting: Do institutional forces matter? International Business Review, 22(2), 392–406.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yiu, D. W. (2011). Multinational advantages of Chinese business groups: A theoretical exploration. Management and Organization Review, 7(2), 249–277.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yiu, D. W., Ng, F. W., & Ma, X. F. (2013). Business group attributes and internationalization strategy in China. Asian Business & Management, 12(1), 14–36.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yoo, T., & Rhee, M. (2013). Agency theory and the context for R&D investment: Evidence from Korea. Asian Business & Management, 12(2), 227–252.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yoshikawa, T., Rasheed, A. A., Datta, D. K., & Rosenstein, J. (2006). Financial and product market integration: Responses of Japanese firms. Management International Review, 46(5), 529–555.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang, Y. L., & Cantwell, J. (2011). Exploration and exploitation: The different impacts of two types of Japanese business group network on firm innovation and global learning. Asian Business & Management, 10(2), 151–181.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zhou, J., Tam, O. K., & Yu, P. (2013). An investigation of the role of family ownership, control and management in listed Chinese family firms. Asian Business & Management, 12(2), 197–225.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Mingze Ma for his excellent research assistance.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yeon-Sik Ryu.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Lee, J.Y., Colpan, A.M., Ryu, YS. et al. What do we know about the internationalization of Asian business groups? A systematic review and future research agenda. Asian Bus Manage (2021). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41291-021-00164-0

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41291-021-00164-0

Keywords

  • Business groups
  • Asia
  • Internationalization
  • Institutional theory
  • Resource-based view
  • Agency theory