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Strategic flexibility in export expansion: growing through withdrawal

Peter Pauwels (Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands)
Paul Matthyssens (Limburgs Universitaire Centrum, Diepenbeek, Belgium and Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 1 August 2004



This paper investigates export market withdrawal as a possible manifestation of strategic flexibility in the export expansion of the firm. A focus on strategic flexibility contributes to current export marketing theory, which fails to explain the dynamic character of export expansion as observed in today's markets. The present study reflects on the strategy process of 12 cases of export market withdrawal to reveal the character of strategic flexibility and its generative mechanisms. If strategic flexibility materialises, it results from the generation of a new strategic option at boundary‐spanning middle levels of the organisation, and from political processes through which this alternative option challenges and eventually overtakes the old export strategy.



Pauwels, P. and Matthyssens, P. (2004), "Strategic flexibility in export expansion: growing through withdrawal", International Marketing Review, Vol. 21 No. 4/5, pp. 496-510.



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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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