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Internationalization of Turkish business groups: motives and institutional context

Kader Sahin (Department of Business Administration, Karadeniz Technical University, Trabzon, Turkey)
Ekrem Tatoğlu (Department of Management, Gulf University for Science and Technology, Mishref, Kuwait) (Ibn Haldun Universitesi, Istanbul, Turkey)
Kubra Mert (Recep Tayyip Erdogan Universitesi, Rize, Turkey)
Tuğba Kaplan (Department of Business Administration, Karadeniz Technical University, Trabzon, Turkey)
Ismail Golgeci (Department of Business Development and Technology, Aarhus University, Herning, Denmark)

International Journal of Emerging Markets

ISSN: 1746-8809

Article publication date: 20 September 2022

Issue publication date: 9 May 2024




This paper aims to investigate the internationalization motives behind location choice among emerging country business groups (EBGs) and the way in which institutional factors affect Türkiye’s foreign direct investment (FDI).


This study develops a multi-perspective framework that integrates the ownership, location and internalization (OLI) paradigm (Dunning and Lundan, 2008) and the linkage, leverage and learning (LLL) model (Mathews, 2006) with neo-institutional theory to explain the internationalization of EBGs. It adopts a multiple-case study research method relying on 14 semi-structured interviews with top executives to explore the internationalization strategy of a set of Turkish BGs.


This study supports the combination of the OLI paradigm, the LLL model and neo-institutional theory to explain EBGs’ internationalizing behaviors. Turkish BGs have adopted both asset exploitation and asset augmentation internationalization strategies. The institutional legitimacy mechanism moderates the internationalization motives of Turkish BGs, and their host country location choice and normative pressures are more salient than their regulative and cognitive pressures.

Research limitations/implications

This study is based on a sample of EBGs from Türkiye, and this restriction limits the generalizability/applicability of the findings to BGs globally.


Few studies have considered EBGs and their internationalization strategies in the international business field. This paper puts forward an integrated framework for analyzing internationalization and legitimacy in the institutional context of EBGs. This study highlights that BGs bridge institutional voids. Focusing on Turkish BGs helps to answer Granovetter’s Coasian question and contributes to the understanding of emerging countries’ economic development.



This study was supported by the TÜBİTAK 1,001 Scientific and Technological Research Projects Funding Program within the scope of the project numbered 215K261 and titled “The Effect of Internationalization Motivations of Holdings in Turkey on the Selection of Location: An Integrative Approach for Developing Countries.”


Sahin, K., Tatoğlu, E., Mert, K., Kaplan, T. and Golgeci, I. (2024), "Internationalization of Turkish business groups: motives and institutional context", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 19 No. 5, pp. 1407-1427.



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