The McGill International Entrepreneurship series
Edited by Hamid Etemad
Chapter 11: Firm and ownership structures and internationalization: two case studies of firms in the New Zealand seafood industry
Internationalization of organizations has transformed the limits and nature of strategy, competition and competitive advantage (Sanders and Carpenter 1998). Greater competitive pressures force firms to internationalize, and consequently firms need to respond to new levels of complexity surrounding the diverse cultural, institutional and competitive environments (Gomez-Mejia and Palich 1997; Sanders and Carpenter 1998). Various factors determining the level of success in a given firm’s process of internationalization have been examined. For example, research points to firm size as a determinant of successful internationalization and has also found size to be positively correlated with export intensity and growth to a lesser extent (Beamish et al. 1999). The stage theory of internationalization points out that firms take small incremental steps towards an international presence, starting in their domestic markets and culminating in a combination of exports, joint ventures, licensing arrangements and overseas offices, among others (Beamish et al. 1999; Johanson and Vahlne 1977; Johanson and Wiedersheim-Paul 1975). Research has shown that firm structure also impacts upon the degree to which firms can internationalize (Beamish et al. 1999). Family-owned businesses have been found to suffer resource constraints, limiting their ability to enter foreign markets, while those with corporate block holdings have more access to the financial support required for internationalization (Allen and Phillips 2000).
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