Managing the challenges of piggybacking into international markets

Stephen Mark Rosenbaum (Department of Marketing and Management, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark)
Tage Koed Madsen (Department of Marketing and Management, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark)
Henrik Johanning (Genau and More, Aarhus, Denmark)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Publication date: 11 February 2019



The purpose of this paper is to understand the process by which piggybacking partners attempt to overcome the challenges of interfirm diversity when entering foreign markets.


The authors present a longitudinal case study following the collaboration between a rider (a small software developer) and carrier (a global player in software solution distribution) as a means of co-creating value for global customers in the pharmaceutical industry.


The authors find that despite differential size and incongruent organizational cultures, top managers were still initially able to facilitate collaboration through various knowledge-sharing initiatives, but that these efforts were subsequently undermined by middle managers (due to misaligned incentives), which prevented both parties from reaping the gains of piggybacking on global markets.

Research limitations/implications

The findings have a number of implications for academics and practitioners alike. Theoretical implications include treating piggybacking as a special case of indirect exporting with particular challenges for knowledge exchange and trust building.

Practical implications

The authors offer managerial implications for reconciling divergent organizational cultures, partner selection and incentive alignment.


This appears to be the first paper to empirically assess the viability of piggybacking as a foreign entry mode by examining the crucial processes of knowledge sharing and trust development within piggybacking arrangements.



Rosenbaum, S., Madsen, T. and Johanning, H. (2019), "Managing the challenges of piggybacking into international markets", International Marketing Review, Vol. 36 No. 1, pp. 56-73.

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