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International diversification and performance: A study of global law firms

  • Brock, David M.
  • Yaffe, Tal
  • Dembovsky, Mark
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    This paper is an exploration of the internationalization-performance relationship in the context of contemporary knowledge intensive services. After background literature, we build theory in the context of service firms to explain how performance in international diversification largely depends on building various relevant organizational competencies. We develop two hypotheses: one concerning a reverse u-shaped internationalization-performance function for these firms in general, and another differentiating between U.S. and U.K. firms. Data on 76 U.S. and 13 U.K. firms are analyzed using hierarchical regression. The findings sustain the reverse u-shaped internationalization-performance relationship for these firms in general, but also suggest that the prospects are quite different for U.S. versus U.K. firms. Our findings add to an emerging stream of research that indicates a resolution to the hitherto ambiguous internationalization-performance relationship; and we also suggest a convergence between findings in capital-intensive and knowledge-intensive industries. The paper concludes with some implications for practitioners.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1075425306000949
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Management.

    Volume (Year): 12 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 473-489

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:intman:v:12:y:2006:i:4:p:473-489
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    1. Farok J Contractor & Sumit K Kundu & Chin-Chun Hsu, 2003. "A three-stage theory of international expansion: the link between multinationality and performance in the service sector," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 34(1), pages 5-18, January.
    2. MB Sarkar & S Tamer Cavusgil & Preet S Aulakh, 1999. "International Expansion of Telecommunication Carriers: The Influence of Market Structure, Network Characteristics, and Entry Imperfections," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 30(2), pages 361-381, June.
    3. Campa, Jose M. & Kedia, Simi, 2000. "Explaining the diversification discount," IESE Research Papers D/424, IESE Business School.
    4. Catherine Matraves & Peter Rodriguez, 2005. "Profitability, Diversification, and Multinationality in Leading German and UK Firms," International Journal of Business and Economics, College of Business, and College of Finance, Feng Chia University, Taichung, Taiwan, vol. 4(2), pages 87-105, August.
    5. Luo, Yadong, 2002. "Organizational dynamics and global integration: A perspective from subsidiary managers," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 189-215.
    6. Nachum, Lilach, 2003. "Does nationality of ownership make any difference and, if so, under what circumstances?: Professional service MNEs in global competition," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 1-32.
    7. Masaaki Kotabe & Srini S Srinivasan & Preet S Aulakh, 2002. "Multinationality and Firm Performance: The Moderating Role of R&D and Marketing Capabilities," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 33(1), pages 79-97, March.
    8. Blomstermo, Anders & Eriksson, Kent & Lindstrand, Angelika & Sharma, D. Deo, 2004. "The perceived usefulness of network experiential knowledge in the internationalizing firm," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 355-373.
    9. Frances A Katrishen & Nicos A Scordis, 1998. "Economies of Scale in Services: A study of Multinational Insurers," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 29(2), pages 305-323, June.
    10. N Capar & M Kotabe, 2003. "The relationship between international diversification and performance in service firms," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 34(4), pages 345-355, July.
    11. Hadley, Richard D. & Wilson, Heather I. M., 2003. "The network model of internationalisation and experiential knowledge," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(6), pages 697-717, December.
    12. John R. Graham & Michael L. Lemmon & Jack G. Wolf, 2002. "Does Corporate Diversification Destroy Value?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(2), pages 695-720, 04.
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