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To address the gap of divergent conclusions on the impact of knowledge search (KS) on performance, this paper aims to discuss the nonlinear relationships between KS and reverse internationalization enterprise (RIE) performance, and the co-moderation of causation and effectuation (C&E) on KS–performance.Design/methodology/approachThe proposed theoretical model is developed by integrating the theory of knowledge-based view and decision rationality theory. The empirical study is based on survey data collected from 245 RIEs of the Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta regions in China. Hierarchical multiple regression and the appropriate U-test method are used to test the hypotheses.FindingsEmpirical results suggest that both focused and multi-focus searches have inverted U-shaped effects on RIE performance. Furthermore, causation weakens the curvilinear effect between multi-focus search and RIE performance, whereas effectuation strengthens the curvilinear effect but weakens the inverted U-shaped relationship between focused search and RIE performance. Results also indicate that the integration of C&E positively moderates the relationship between focused or multi-focus searches and RIE performance.Originality/valueFindings reveal the nonlinear effects of focused and multi-focus searches on RIE performance and clarify the dispute over the mechanism of KS on performance by proposing the different moderating role of C&E. Moreover, this research provides deeper insight into contingency mechanisms between KS and performance by integrating the co-moderating role of C&E in RIEs.
Journal of Knowledge Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 21, 2021
Keywords: Knowledge search; Causation; Effectuation; Performance; Reverse internationalization enterprises
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