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Middle managers in a medium-sized firm: Their involvement in the internationalization strategy process


  • Mair, Johanna

    (IESE Business School)

  • Thurner, Claudia

    (IESE Business School)


While prior research has emphasized middle managers' important role in the strategy process and the benefits of their involvement, little is known about their role in the strategy process in medium-sized firms and, specifically, their participation in the internationalization strategy process (ISP). Our analysis of interviews conducted with the complete layer of middle managers at a medium-sized firm is intended to shed light on these issues by examining the extent and effect of middle managers' involvement in the formulation phase of the ISP. The medium-sized Italian firm chosen for our sample was going through a period of radical change as it expanded its international activities beyond its cultural boundaries. We found that not all the firm's middle managers perceived themselves to be involved in formulating the internationalization strategy. The perception of involvement was dependent on ownership of the outcome of internationalization. Middle managers with revenue accountability perceived themselves to be involved in strategy formulation. Furthermore, this perception of increased involvement was tightly linked to a more opportunity-oriented attitude toward internationalization. We suggest that medium-sized firms can actively manage middle managers' attitudes and behavior toward internationalization by managing perceptions.

Suggested Citation

  • Mair, Johanna & Thurner, Claudia, 2005. "Middle managers in a medium-sized firm: Their involvement in the internationalization strategy process," IESE Research Papers D/615, IESE Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebg:iesewp:d-0615

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Otto Andersen, 1993. "On the Internationalization Process of Firms: A Critical Analysis," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 24(2), pages 209-231, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lutz Sommer, 2010. "Internationalization processes of small- and medium-sized enterprises—a matter of attitude?," Journal of International Entrepreneurship, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 288-317, September.

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    Middle managers; internationalization strategy; small and medium-sized companies;
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