Purpose– The purpose of this paper is to understand the role of heterogeneous strategies for new knowledge development in the internationalization processes of firms. Design/methodology/approach– A typology of international learning strategies is developed. The typology is supported by a case study of seven Swedish international firms that show heterogeneous strategies. The case study suggests links between learning strategies and international growth. Findings– The results suggest an international learning-strategy typology derived from extant theory on knowledge acquisition in internationalization, constituted by four types: Passive Learners, Endogenous Learners, Exogenous Learners, and Diversified Learners. The results further suggest that the typology is empirically relevant and, moreover, suggest a potential heterogeneity in outcomes for these strategies. The study suggests that there is a link between learning strategy and outcomes in terms of growth and international sales distribution. Research limitations/implications– The strategy for how firms learn when internationalizing has implications for the firm's international growth. The case-study design has limitations for generalizability and future quantitative validation is called for. Practical implications– Managers need to be aware of the consequences of their learning strategy for the internationalization performance. This study informs strategic decision making for how to learn from international markets. Originality/value– The results suggest a typology based on heterogeneity of international learning strategies and their consequences for internationalization.
Baltic Journal of Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 30, 2014
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