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Why and how motives (still) matter

Gabriel R.G. Benito (BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway)

Multinational Business Review

ISSN: 1525-383X

Article publication date: 20 April 2015




The paper aims to provide a discussion of the relevance of motives for companies’ internationalization.


This paper is a conceptual discussion building on established classifications of motives of internationalization, which distinguish between market-seeking, efficiency-seeking, resource-seeking and strategic asset-seeking motives.


The analysis demonstrates that important issues in companies’ internationalization differ systematically across different types of motives, which implicates that motives remain relevant when analyzing various aspects of the internationalization of the firm. Motives are also useful elements for theory building in international business.

Research limitations/implications

The analysis is purely conceptual and is not further substantiated by empirical evidence.

Practical implications

The classification of motives is a useful tool for companies to analyze their strategic alternatives and actions, especially with regard to performance measurement.


The paper demonstrates the importance of retaining a clear classification of motives as a basis for further development of a theory of firms’ internationalization behavior.



The author thanks Alvaro Cuervo-Cazurra and Rajneesh Narula for their helpful comments and suggestions.


Benito, G.R.G. (2015), "Why and how motives (still) matter", Multinational Business Review, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 15-24.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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