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A holistic approach to internationalisation

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  • Fletcher, Richard

Abstract

Previous research into internationalisation has viewed it as being an export-led phenomenon. Although this is a phenomenon that extends to other activities such as licensing and manufacture overseas, it is usually considered from an 'outward' perspective. In this paper it is argued that internationalisation is no longer just an outward-driven activity and that firms also become internationalised by undertaking import-led activities and activities in which 'inward' and 'outward' activities are 'linked', as happens with strategic alliances, cooperative manufacture and countertrade. The paper demonstrates that a majority of firms engage in 'inward' and 'linked' international activities as well as 'outward' activities. It also illustrates that the factors that predict outward internationalisation also predict 'inward' and, to a lesser extent, 'linked' internationalisation. The paper questions the traditional view that internationalisation should be progressive and incremental and explores the issue of de-internationalisation and its role in the long-term internationalisation of the firm. The implications of the above conceptual approach to internationalisation are discussed briefly and illustrated in the case of government programs of export assistance, born global firms, firms operating on a global basis and firms undertaking international business in the electronic environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Fletcher, Richard, 2001. "A holistic approach to internationalisation," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 25-49, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:iburev:v:10:y:2001:i:1:p:25-49
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    References listed on IDEAS

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