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Mitigating liabilities of foreignness: Defensive versus offensive approaches

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  • Luo, Yadong
  • Shenkar, Oded
  • Nyaw, Mee-Kau
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    Abstract

    Finding effective mechanisms that can overcome liabilities of foreignness (LOFs) is the central issue in the study of LOFs. This study proposes that such mechanisms comprise defensive options and offensive options. Defensive mechanisms include contract protection, parental control, parental service, and output standardization. Offensive mechanisms include local networking, resource commitment, legitimacy improvement, and input localization. Using China as an analytical setting, this study emphasizes two prominent yet distinct mechanisms: contract protection and local networking ("guanxi" in Chinese). Contracts and guanxi mitigate the LOF via different paths: Contracts negate LOFs by safeguarding invested resources, curtailing operational uncertainty, and reducing coordination costs, whereas guanxi neutralizes LOFs through increasing indigenous adaptability, improving organizational legitimacy, and heightening cooperation with the local business community. Our analysis of 92 sample MNEs in China suggests that contracts and guanxi exert different influences on the consequences of LOFs. Contracts reduce production and marketing costs but do not stimulate sales revenues. Guanxi, however, enhances sales revenues but does not reduce production and marketing costs. This study also documents that contracts and guanxi operate as complements in overcoming LOFs.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Management.

    Volume (Year): 8 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 283-300

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:intman:v:8:y:2002:i:3:p:283-300

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    Related research

    Keywords: Contract Networking Liability of foreignness;

    References

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    1. Al-Najjar, Nabil I, 1995. "Incomplete Contracts and the Governance of Complex Contractual Relationships," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 432-36, May.
    2. Williamson, Oliver E, 1979. "Transaction-Cost Economics: The Governance of Contractural Relations," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 233-61, October.
    3. Anderlini, L. & Felli, L., 1993. "Incomplete Written Contracts: Undescribable States of Nature," Papers 183, Cambridge - Risk, Information & Quantity Signals.
    4. Oded Shenkar & Yoram Zeira, 1992. "Role Conflict and Role Ambiguity of Chief Executive Officers in International Joint Ventures," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 23(1), pages 55-75, March.
    5. Nathan Fagre & Louis T Wells, 1982. "Bargaining Power of Multinationals and Host Governments," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 13(2), pages 9-24, June.
    6. J Michael Geringer & Louis Hebert, 1989. "Control and Performance of International Joint Ventures," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 20(2), pages 235-254, June.
    7. Kendall Roth & David M Schweiger & Allen J Morrison, 1991. "Global Strategy Implementation at the Business Unit Level: Operational Capabilities and Administrative Mechanisms," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 22(3), pages 369-402, September.
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