The purpose of this the paper is to review the motives for internationalization to clarify previous arguments and provide a theory-driven classification.
The authors build on behavioral economics and propose a classification of internationalization motives as the result of the interaction among two dimensions, an economics-driven exploitation of existing resources or exploration of new resources, and a psychology-driven search for better host country conditions or avoidance of poor home country conditions.
These two dimensions result in four internationalization motives: sell more, in which the company exploits existing resources at home and obtains better host country conditions; buy better, in which the company exploits existing resources abroad and avoids poor home country conditions; upgrade, in which the company explores for new resources, and it obtains better host country conditions; and escape, in which the company explores for new resources and avoids poor home country conditions.
This theory-driven classification provides predictive power for future analyses of internationalization motives.
This paper originated in a panel on motives of internationalization at the John H. Dunning Center International Business Conference 2013. The authors thank suggestions for improvement from Peter Buckley, Mark Casson, Alan Rugman, Michael Mol, the panelists and the audience at the conference, and reviewers. Cuervo-Cazurra thanks the John H. Dunning Fellowship from the John H. Dunning Centre for International Business at Reading University and the Walsh Research Professorship and the Robert Morrison Fellowship at Northeastern University for financial support. C. Annique Un thanks the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University for financial support.
Cuervo-Cazurra, A., Narula, R. and Un, C.A. (2015), "Internationalization motives: sell more, buy better, upgrade and escape", Multinational Business Review, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 25-35. https://doi.org/10.1108/MBR-02-2015-0009
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