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Too many to handle? Two types of multimarket contacts and entry decisions

Lailani Laynesa Alcantara (College of International Management, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Beppu, Japan)
Hitoshi Mitsuhashi (Department of Business and Commerce, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 16 March 2015




The purpose of this paper is to examine how firms with multimarket contacts in both product and geographic markets make foreign direct investments (FDI) location choices and to advance the understanding about how managers with cognitive limits cope with opportunities to take the advantage of mutual forbearance in two types of markets.


Drawing upon the literatures on multimarket contact and decision making, the authors develop original hypotheses on how multimarket contacts in two types of markets influence firms’ choice of destination for foreign investments. The authors test the hypotheses using longitudinal archival data on foreign market entries of Japanese auto parts makers.


The authors find that when choosing FDI locations, firms reduce the cognitive burdens of coping with multimarket contacts in the two types of markets by focussing exclusively on what is perceived as relevant to the decision at hand. The authors also find that this propensity is particularly significant for large firms, whereas small firms use different decision rules and avoid entering markets with the greater degree of multimarket contact with prior entrants, whether in product or national market.

Practical implications

Although heuristics simplify competitive environments and reduce managers’ cognitive burdens, such a cost-saving orientation could increase the risk associated with international entry that may end in severe counterattacks from prior entrants, wasteful foreign investments, and substantial entry failures.


This study contributes to the literature by adopting multimarket contact theory to foreign market entry, jointly analyzing two types of multimarket contacts, testing three alternative hypotheses about how boundedly rational managers cope with multimarket contacts in two markets, and demonstrating that managers focus on multimarket contacts only in one type of markets when making entry decisions.



This work was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science KAKENHI Grant Number 25285121 and 25780264.


Alcantara, L.L. and Mitsuhashi, H. (2015), "Too many to handle? Two types of multimarket contacts and entry decisions", Management Decision, Vol. 53 No. 2, pp. 354-374.



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