The Internationalisation Process of the Firm

The studies of the internationalisation process of the firm is of traditional importance at Uppsala University. Current research aims to develop our traditional thinking but also to break new ground. 


Business experience: An asset or a liability to the entry on new mid-end markets?

Swedish firms owe much of their success to their expansion into foreign markets. However, the global landscape has changed and new emerging markets are becoming important. In this project, we focus on new and important Mid-end market segments, which have unique attributes and pose challenges and opportunities for Swedish multinational companies (MNCs). This trend offers opportunities for advancing our theories on internationalization processes, which lay great emphasis on the importance of experiential knowledge. In this regard, experience is often conceived of as an organizational-level factor and seen as an intangible asset helping firms while they internationalize. However, idiosyncratic characteristics of mid-end markets bring up the possibility that (1) individual, rather than organizational, experience is central in international expansion strategies and that, (2) past experience may become an obsolete liability. By focusing on important mid-end markets in emerging economies, this project put these two possibilities under careful and systematic scrutiny. We conduct in-depth case studies to obtain nuanced and rich insights into Swedish MNCs’ entry into mid-end markets in China and India. We also collect a large set of data to test the role of prior experience on MNCs’ internationalization behavior. Accordingly, we contribute to both theory and practice by asking novel research questions and answering them in an increasingly relevant and important research context.

Project leader: Ulf Holm, Emre Yildiz
Project members: Mikael Eriksson, Sergey Morgulis-Yakushev
Duration:  2018-ongoing
Financed by: Handelsbanken's Research Foundations

CEO Risk-Tolerance and Firm Internationalization Patterns

The research project aims to shed light on the relationship between CEOs' risk-tolerance and their internationalization decisions. The project addresses the behavior, priorities, and concerns of decisionmakers in organizations - themes that are quintessential for studying organizations. The central issue addressed within the project echoes previous studies related to internationalization, namely: How do decision-makers of firms, under conditions of uncertainty and partial ignorance, decide to commit financial and other resources to individual investment projects, in situations where these resources will be difficult or impossible to recoup, should the project considered turn out to be unprofitable? Explicitly, the research project aims at investigating three observable internationalization decisions that are likely to be affected (even if unconsciously so) by a CEO’s innate risk-tolerance.  

First, we expect that a CEO who is more risk tolerant is more likely to ignore the distance between a new potential business market and his or her home market. We call this the psychic distance hypothesis. We also want to see if a CEO's fWHR is associated with simultaneous internationalization patterns. A central assumption in internationalization theory is that firms prefer to internationalize in incremental steps, starting in business markets close to their home market. What we call the simultaneous hypothesis aims to test this assumption and investigate possible systematic differences that may be due to a CEO's risk tolerance. Finally, we want to test our empirical hypothesis which suggests that a risk-tolerant CEO will prefer to allocate resources abroad compared to a risk-intolerant CEO. Data from a large number of Swedish multinationals over their entire lifetime forms the empirical base.

Project leader: Philip Kappen
Project members: Henrik Dellestrand
Duration: 2022-2024
Financed by: Handelsbanken’s Research Foundation

Corporate elites and the international growth of Swedish firms

The project studies how relations between Swedish companies' boards affect international growth. This is done with a focus on the status of individual board members. Previous studies confirm the importance of this for knowledge development, strategies, etc. but few have linked this to international growth. The study is conducted with data over 15 years by putting together different databases. This is particularly interesting for SMEs with limited experience and in need of relationships with experienced managers from other companies. The study contributes to an understanding of the importance of relationships at senior management level and the role these have for international growth.

Project leader: Ulf Holm, Emre Yildiz
Project members: Mikael Eriksson, Sergey Morgulis-Yakushev.
Duration: 2019-ongoing
Financed by: Handelsbanken’s Research Foundations

Network effects of interlocking directorates: A longitudinal study of SMEs’ international growth

This research examines the neglected type of network tie (i.e., interlocking directorates) and its effect on international growth of Swedish SMEs. We use a unique longitudinal dataset to develop and test a dynamic model on the role of network position in SMEs internationalization.

In the contemporary networked economy, it is almost axiomatic to argue that no firm is a single island. The importance of network relationships for Small and Medium Enterprises’ (SMEs’) international growth is well documented in past literature. In this project, we aim to complement this research by looking at the neglected role of a specific type of network tie (i.e., interlocking directorates) in SMEs’ internationalization. We believe that paying due attention to individual-level sources of network relationships and their dynamic effect on international growth of SMEs is important, and makes valuable contributions to theory and practice in several ways.

Project leader: Ulf Holm, Emre Yildiz.
Project members: Mikael Eriksson, Sergey Morgulis-Yakoshev.
Duration: 2018-ongoing
Financed by: Handelsbanken’s Research Foundations

Reshoring: A step forward or backward in the internationalization process?

In recent years, "reshoring" – the process by which companies move activities that were previously moved to foreign countries back to their home country – has attracted great academic interest. This project aims to contribute to the understanding of barriers and possibilities of reshoring and most important its consequences. Further understanding of the effects of reshoring is also very timely as the Covid-19 pandemic has triggered much discussion in media, government, academy both in Sweden and the EU on potential solutions to disruption problems in global supply chains (e.g., interruption of transportations between countries, stalled production, unfulfilled orders, slower shipments, stock shortages).

Project leader: Francesco Ciabuschi
Project members: Olof Lindahl, Daniel Pedroletti, Enrico Baraldi
Duration: 2022-2024
Financed by: Vetenskapsrådet

The performance of video game industry - Configuring inter-organizational agility for digital innovation and internationalization

The focus of our project is to investigate the development of computer games and especially the cooperation between the gaming company and various external players. Data has been collected from over 100 Swedish game developer firms. 

Our research contributes to the ongoing debate on how innovating firms can best utilize and capture value in the innovation process that incorporates resources crossing the organizational boundary (Chesbrough et al., 2018). In addition, this research further the theory development in digital innovation as its characteristics are markedly different from that of conventional innovation (Nambisan et al., 2019). Engaging user communities in the process, enables firms to gain insights, enhance user experience, and ensure market fit. As they are international by nature, also means that user communities provide access to various international markets and that thereby are important in the internationalization strategy of firms.

Project leader: Desirée Blankenburg Holm
Project members: Desirée Blankenburg Holm, Martin Johanson, David Sörhammar, and Sabrina Thornton
Duration: 2019-ongoing

Last modified: 2023-09-18