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Article
Publication date: 3 February 2022

I-Fan Yen, Hsin Mei Lin and Yi-Tien Shih

The literature on foreignness has, to date, stressed the liability of foreignness (LOF) and the advantage of foreignness (AOF). Drawing on industrial organisation theory…

Abstract

Purpose

The literature on foreignness has, to date, stressed the liability of foreignness (LOF) and the advantage of foreignness (AOF). Drawing on industrial organisation theory, institutional theory, the resource-based view of the firm and the literature on networking, the authors’ research develops an integrated framework to explore the impact of foreignness on internationalisation depth from the perspective of the duality of foreignness (LOF versus AOF) within multiple dimensions. These dimensions are isomorphism, home country of origin, institutional distance and dual embeddedness of multinational enterprises (MNEs).

Design/methodology/approach

In this study, the authors empirically test hypotheses arising from this new theoretical framework by examining the characteristics of a sample of 324 Chinese MNEs (CMNEs) that were operating in 63 countries from 1999 to 2018. Employing regression analysis on a panel of 9,410 observations, the results show that foreignness does exhibit multilevel complexity and duality.

Findings

The authors’ empirical results show that isomorphism pressures, country of origin and institutional distance have a negative effect on internationalisation depth (as an outcome of LOF) but that dual embeddedness, on the part of MNEs, exerts a positive impact on internationalisation depth (as an outcome of AOF). The implications for research on multilevel complexity and the duality of foreignness are discussed, and managerial implications are outlined.

Research limitations/implications

The implications of the authors’ findings for MNEs should not be generalised to developed countries without examining the characteristics of both China as an emerging country and its MNEs. The second limit is regarding ownership; this framework has limitations due to choosing China and its OFDIs for testing internationalisation depth. Finally, for subsequent research, examining the dynamics of foreignness completes the nature of multicomplexity, defined by external and internal factors of foreignness changing over time and space.

Practical implications

CMNE managers are advised to actively scrutinise their behaviours in the local country to overcome the differences in routines, values and practices inherent in local institutions (Chen et al., 2019). The results imply that CMNEs should be careful not to overuse their home country image when penetrating a new market. Thus, a strategy to reduce a home government's hegemonic or otherwise negative image may be wise when operating abroad. Finally, the authors’ model suggests that CMNEs equipped with great RCN CIPs for identifying, scanning and interpreting local institutions can enhance internationalisation depth.

Originality/value

The authors’ research contributes to research on foreignness by emphasising foreignness as a construct of multilevel complexity. The authors argue that foreignness arises due to varying factors at the host, home, host-home levels and at the level of the organisational entity. The authors’ definition of foreignness and empirical results supports the notion that isomorphism pressures (host country-level factors), country-of-origin of home country (home country-level factors) and institutional distance (host-home country-level factors) are inextricably negatively linked with internationalisation depth (as effects of LOF). By contrast, the dual embeddedness of MNEs (the factor of organisational level) represents a positive relationship with internationalisation depth (as effects of AOF).

Details

International Journal of Emerging Markets, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-8809

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 October 2020

I-Fan Yen and Hsin-Mei Lin

This paper aims to develop an integrated perspective on the relationship between multinationality and performance in the outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) of…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to develop an integrated perspective on the relationship between multinationality and performance in the outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) of Chinese firms. The study not only represents contrasting OFDI patterns – namely, born global-natured multiple synchronous foreign investments versus conventional internationalization process (IP)-natured steady increasing foreign investments – but also contributes to understanding the extent to which explanations of home political influence need to be rooted within the general theory of multinationality.

Design/methodology/approach

By testing a comprehensive panel observation of 8,635 OFDI projects from 1991-2016 in China, this study found that multinationality with the new pattern of multiple synchronous OFDIs has a superior performance effect compared with the conventional pattern of steady increasing OFDIs.

Findings

This study also finds a positive relationship between multinationality (international diversification and home political influence) and the performance effect with the new pattern of multiple synchronous OFDIs, as well as a partial positive relationship between multinationality and the performance effect with the conventional pattern of steady increasing OFDIs.

Research limitations/implications

The study extends the understanding of the performance effects of Chinese multinational enterprises, which may benefit more from the new pattern of multiple synchronous OFDIs than from the conventional pattern of steady increasing OFDIs when the home-country institution is strongly positioned.

Originality/value

This paper concludes that multinationality needs an integrated framework that accounts for the new pattern of OFDI and the influence of diversification and home politics, particularly for the emerging country, China.

Details

Chinese Management Studies, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-614X

Keywords

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