Prior research on international diversification has focused primarily on multinational enterprises (MNEs) from developed economies, such as the U.S. and other developed nations. As an increasing number of MNEs are now located in emerging economies, new theoretical frameworks are needed to better understand the motivations of these MNEs to diversify internationally. This paper contributes to the theory development of MNEs by examining the characteristics of international diversification by business groups from emerging economies. Using the resource-based view (RBV) of the firm and organizational learning theory, we suggest that the international diversification motives of business groups from emerging economies vary by host country context. Business groups from emerging economies are more likely to enter developed economies (rather than other emerging economies) when their primary aim is exploring new resources and capabilities, and more likely to enter other emerging economies (rather than developed economies) when their primary aim is to exploit existing group resources and capabilities. We also suggest that these motives influence business-group performance. We identify two important moderators of these relationships: product diversification and social capital. Because of the importance of the business-group organizational form in emerging economies, understanding business-group international diversification may lead to improved MNE theory.
Hoskisson, R.E., Kim, H., White, R.E. and Tihanyi, L. (2004), "A FRAMEWORK FOR UNDERSTANDING INTERNATIONAL DIVERSIFICATION BY BUSINESS GROUPS FROM EMERGING ECONOMIES", Hitt, M.A. and Cheng, J.L.C. (Ed.) "Theories of the Multinational Enterprise: Diversity, Complexity and Relevance" (Advances in International Management, Vol. 16), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 137-163. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0747-7929(04)16008-3
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