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How knowledge search affects the performance of reverse internationalization enterprises: the co-moderating role of causation and effectuation

Xiaobin Feng (School of Economics and Management, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, Hangzhou, China)
Xiaoshu Ma (School of Economics and Management, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, Hangzhou, China)
Zhe Shi (College of Business Administration, Hunan University, Changsha, China)
Xuebing Peng (School of Economics and Management, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, Hangzhou, China)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 28 September 2020

Issue publication date: 21 June 2021

486

Abstract

Purpose

To address the gap of divergent conclusions on the impact of knowledge search (KS) on performance, this paper aims to discuss the nonlinear relationships between KS and reverse internationalization enterprise (RIE) performance, and the co-moderation of causation and effectuation (C&E) on KS–performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The proposed theoretical model is developed by integrating the theory of knowledge-based view and decision rationality theory. The empirical study is based on survey data collected from 245 RIEs of the Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta regions in China. Hierarchical multiple regression and the appropriate U-test method are used to test the hypotheses.

Findings

Empirical results suggest that both focused and multi-focus searches have inverted U-shaped effects on RIE performance. Furthermore, causation weakens the curvilinear effect between multi-focus search and RIE performance, whereas effectuation strengthens the curvilinear effect but weakens the inverted U-shaped relationship between focused search and RIE performance. Results also indicate that the integration of C&E positively moderates the relationship between focused or multi-focus searches and RIE performance.

Originality/value

Findings reveal the nonlinear effects of focused and multi-focus searches on RIE performance and clarify the dispute over the mechanism of KS on performance by proposing the different moderating role of C&E. Moreover, this research provides deeper insight into contingency mechanisms between KS and performance by integrating the co-moderating role of C&E in RIEs.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to Editor Manlio De Giudice, Guest Editor Fábio Lotti Oliva, the Associate Editor and the two anonymous referees for their insightful comments and constructive suggestions on earlier versions of this manuscript. We are tremendously appreciative of the suggestions and help of Lan Zhou, Bin Hao, Jiangfeng Ye and Lei Xu. This research is funded by the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (grant no. 71772166, 71302125, 71672181).

Citation

Feng, X., Ma, X., Shi, Z. and Peng, X. (2021), "How knowledge search affects the performance of reverse internationalization enterprises: the co-moderating role of causation and effectuation", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 1105-1127. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-05-2020-0393

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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